Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Review: Nokia N8 Case Replacement (disassemble and reassemble)

After one and a half year, my N8 got some scars and scratches. It definitely didn't look like a new phone anymore.

I didn't really care about a few scratches, but after the bottom clip (or battery cover, or however you want to call the lower plastic part) broke off I had to do something to fix it.

I fixed it with some tape, it was really ugly, but it fixed the problem... the bottom clip didn't fell off anymore ;)

Thanks to Leno, a user of my CFW. I got some spare parts for my phone.
Me and Leno were talking about battery life and replacement battery's, that's where I mentioned my problem and that I was annoyed, that Nokia wants me to pay ~30.- CHF for the repair.
Even on eBay, the bottom clip only, still costs around 20.- CHF (inclusive shipment to Switzerland).

So Leno was kind enough to send me some spare parts for free!

The parts he sent me didn't match the colour of my green N8. He sent me a full body replacement in black. I decided not to use all the black parts, but to mix them up with my green N8 and I have to say I really like the results!

Here is a picture of my Nokia N8 Green/Black:
Nokia N8 Green/Black
So after showing off my new fixed N8, lets go to the "review part" of this post.

This is not going to be a tutorial about how to disassemble and reassemble the Nokia N8, there are enough guides about that on the Internet.

This Youtube-video helped me a lot going through that process, I can recommend this video to everyone who wants to fully open up his N8:
Nokia N8 Disassemble & Reassemble - Case Replacement by LE55ONS

But something that's not mentioned in this video and also not mentioned anywhere in other videos or picture-guides about disassemble the N8 is, how hard it is when doing it the first time!

In the video you can see the men loose up a few screws, giving it a push here and there and the N8 falls apart. Looking at the video-tutorials on Youtube, it seems to be as easy as playing with Lego...

Doing it yourself gives you a whole different experience.
First I had problems to get the top off the phone, it was stuck pretty good (pushing a Credit Card between the gap helped me).
My second problem was that the Antenna was stuck and a sensitive part like that shouldn't be forced to come off, you have to be very careful.

Also most plastic parts inside the phone are glued together, its not that easy to loose the glue and not breaking the small plastic parts inside.
The dust and dirt that was inside for over a year didn't help at all to make it easier...

An additional problem in my case was, that I was mixing up the original green case with the replacement parts Leno sent me. His black parts matched each other perfect, but they didn't match my green case...

The camera button didn't fit at all, but I could make the other parts (volume button, sim- & sdcard-cover, plastic part around the 3.5mm (mine was broken)) fit into my green case by cutting off the edges here an there.
The bottom clip was the only part that matched without any problem.

I am really happy with the results I got from disassemble and reassemble my N8 and I appreciate the spare parts by Leno. Thanks to him my N8 feels like a new phone again!
(I even like the new black colour highlights on my phone more than the original green-only version)

But on the other hand I have to say (and I am saying this as a professional system engineer), it is not as easy to do it, as the Internet tells you.

If you are not 100% sure that you can do it, don't even try it!!

You not only void your warranty, you can destroy every single part of your phone... so even if it boots up after that operation, single parts could be damaged.
So you should always test all hardware based functionalities of your phone after doing things like this.

If you have questions about disassemble and reassemble your N8, feel free to drop a comment with your question ;)

Other opinions of people who already did things like this on their phone are welcome too!


  1. Hi Daniel,

    I read with interest both your disassembling and battery life comments and am glad to see your phone looks very interesting now and better for it! :)

    I see there are no other comments but just wait until you get Nokia N8's big brother...


    1. Hi Leno,

      great that you are interested to see what happend with your spare parts ;)
      do you like the result?

      I just released it a few hours ago and this "review" is probably something thats hard to comment on, if you have no own experience about disassembling the N8.

      But looking at the page view counter, the battery life review was a post that many people were interested, even if I didn't got much feedback about it.
      It got more pageviews than the "how to flash" and "download" pages this week and they are usualy on top and far ahead of my other news...


  2. Hi Daniel,

    I guess I missed the counters...lol

    Yes your phone looks good and perhaps you should have had the before and after pictures to appreciate the real difference!


    1. Hi Leno,

      I was refering to my internal counter (the statistics by blogger.com). I can see how many views a specific post or page got...
      (its probably not very accurate, because you can read the full page also from the mainpage and you only have to open up a single post, when writing/reading comments or when coming from a direct link via rss feed)

      before and after pictures would have been nice, but i guess you can find more than enough pictures of the original green N8 (but without the damage).

      in fact, the phone looks much better in reality than on the pictures... the indoor light and the crappy camera i used to take this pictures make my "original" green look like some kind of gold or champagne :(

  3. Hi Daniel,

    Yes that was the counters I meant though maybe I wouldn't be able to see it.

    Your phone pics looks good as I see them anyhow but I know it looks nicer in the flesh.

    I sent you an email recently and one important question on my mind is whether there's a hack or an app to make the virtual keyboard bigger for both lanscape and portrait mode as my fingers are a bit too big for it. I use the alphnumeric mode as it's much bigger though slower to write.


  4. Vaquero del Teclado2 May 2012 at 07:06

    I replace the bottom of my Nokia a few weeks ago, the part cost me 2 dlls on ebay and the tools cost me around 1.50 dlls from my home in a hardware store.

    I want to change the full case, mine is green, I want the black. But those who sell on ebay are not stainless steel, are plastic. but looks the same as the originals with the NOKIA tags on the back and everything.

    Maybe replace it soon, do not know.
    I want to buy the Nokia N9, THE ONE think about putting a review of the Nokia n9?

    I love my nokia N8, but I will like to experiment with the N9.
    Learn to flashing, and all that like the N8 and Symbien Belle.

    1. Hi,
      2$ is a really good price :)
      i found them on ebay for around 6$, but with the shipment to switzerland the cheapest one was still around 20.- CHF...

      Be aware that when changing the full case, you also change the camera glass cover. Using cheap replacement parts may affect the picture quality!

      I cannot write a review about the N9, because I don't have one...
      Maybe I do a review about my next phone, but that will probably be the Nokia 808 (if I can afford it;)).

  5. Guess that's a weak part of every N8. Even mine's broken and its running on a thin film of super glue now! :-)
    Thanks for this post The_ONE, will go for this...

    1. hi Sai_hoWl3R,
      I tried to super glue the bottom clip back to the phone too :p
      But it didn't work very well for me, every second day the glue became loose, thats why I used the tape...
      Btw. I am happy to hear that this post may helped you ;)

    2. Hi Daniel,
      This post was useful... Thank you.
      One question though, just incase i'd wipe off all the dust inside after removing the shell with a soft cloth, will it damage the parts? Also about the alignments if any?

    3. Hi Daniel,
      A small query, I had received a file from my laptop using bluetooth, at the same time was playing a song. After receiving the file, I installed the app. After installation the phone restarts itself after a brief period of say 5secs.
      I tried this thrice, ended with the same result.
      Is it a bug or is it because I use NetQin?
      Also, a small doubt, is there a possibility to revert the battery icon color to white?
      Any help offered much appreciated.. :-)

    4. hi Sai_hoWl3R,

      removing the dust will of course not cause any damage, just be careful and make sure that the phone is dry and clean when you reassemble your N8.
      (you could even wash most parts of your phone with soap and water, assuming that there is no power connection as long as the phone is wet... but do me a favour and don't try it :))

      i rarely use bluetooth, except to send files from phone to phone.
      but i am pretty sure i didn't cause this bug, so its probably that app (what is netqin?) or a general belle bug.

      you can change the battery indicator by replacing \resource\apps\avkon2.mif in rofs2 (or core) before flashing.

      to change it after flashing, you can use the mod by joshlog (search the category "mods" on my blog for it)

  6. Hi the one.. Waiting for your review on the gold battery.. :)

  7. Hey any idea how can I remove the dust particles that have penetrated inside the camera compartment. They aren't affecting the photo quality of the snaps but they still bother me. Is there any way I can remove those dust particles?

    1. it depends on where exactly the dust is.
      if you disassemble the n8 as shown in the video above, you will be able to clean between the camera lens and the protection glass.

      to explain it a little bit better:
      the glass that you can touch from the outside of the phone is part of the case.
      the camere itself is a seperate part, so you can undust in between.

      but this will require a complete dissasembly of your n8!

  8. hy mah n8's body is not broken..........bt only i got scrathes on body........n itzz of silver colour n noticeble i wanna replace it wid black can i get body anywhere...??

    1. depends on where you live...
      i saw a few cases on ebay, but better make sure you don't cheap out and buy a high quality/original case!

      the protective glass for the camera is part of the case, replacing it with some cheap platic may affect the camera quality!

  9. how to actually change the back cover for nokia n8 where the camera is attached?

  10. the nokia n8 back cover doesn't easily comes apart. HOW to take out the back assembly cover and replace with any different color cover.....????

    1. @Anonymous (both asking about the camera housing/full back cover)
      some parts are glued together, be really carefull. heat can help to loosen things up (a hair dyier or something like that).

      check the linked video above for details or ask again for specific answers. ;)

  11. I want to ask. Is there any component on the bottom cover? Like microphone or something. Because i lost my bottom cover of my nokia n8. Thanks before