Maximum PC



• A look under the hood reveals an internal battery, a USB-C port to charge it, and a microSD slot. The lens cover twists right off. Flipping up the Folding Fingers uncovers eight T5 Torx screws. Underneath, there are two more T5 Torx screws but they don’t provide access to the GoPro’s insides. Sigh!

• All screws come out, but nothing moves, so there must be glue. We use a Dremel and the heatsink lifts off like it was never attached in the first place. Victory at last!

• Three Phillips #000 screws are loosened to remove the flexible circuit board (FPC) from the heatsink. Underneath sits the speaker for the camera’s sound. Located between two mounting holes is the GoPro’s rear-facing MEMS microphone.

• The battery can now be unplugged. After that, it takes just one T4 Torx screw to loosen the battery tray and pull the 1500mAh Li-Ion cell out of the case. An internal battery for a camera that is virtually impossible to open non-destructiv­ely? Not nice!

• To free the mainboard, we unplug the connector for the sensor and remove the four Phillips screws, only to find it’s a rigid-flex PCB and realize that the other part is buried even deeper.

• After peeling back some tape, there’s one more Phillips #000 screw and the USB port assembly can be pulled out of the body. With the mainboard unobstruct­ed, it reveals that the MicroSD slot is soldered directly to the second part of the mainboard.

• With the connectors unclipped, removing the FPC uncovers a Phillips #000 screw and the mainboard is freed. We unclip the EMI shields and remove the thermal paste to see a GoPro GP2 processor, Samsung 8GB eMMC memory, Qorvo power management, a microSD connector, and an STM microcontr­oller.

• Next up is unclipping the sensor’s EMI shield, removing some tape and lifting the latch that keeps the FPC in place, and removing three 1.3mm hex screws that secure the lens.

• The PCB is rather unspectacu­lar but at the top, we can spot a significan­t contributo­r to GoPro’s HyperSmoot­h stabilizat­ion, the Bosch BMI260 inertial measuremen­t unit. “Are we there yet?” Not quite. There are two more Phillips #000 screws before we get a glimpse of the Mini’s secondary PCB.

• On the top side, there is a GoPro’s shutter button, a 0.5in 72x32px OLED display, and a Seiko ML414H backup battery. The bottom side is no less exciting. We find a Qualcomm QCA9377 WiFi and Bluetooth chipset and a top-facing MEMS microphone.

• Four T4 Torx screws hold the aluminum bracket in place. Lifting the metal frame out of the case reveals a power/pairing button and, on the bottom side, a front-facing MEMS microphone.

• Repairabil­ity Score: 2/10 (10 is easiest to repair). The lens cover can be twisted off and replaced. But the elephant in the room is the non-removable battery. Once open, components are easy to replace but opening it non-destructiv­ely is near-impossible.

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