“The Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10+ use excessively strong adhesives inside and a glass back plate, which may shatter when the phone is dismantled.”
The Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10+ have been put through the iFixit teardown sledgehammer, and the results are more or less in line with what we expected. Most flagship smartphones of late have factors that reduce their repairability, and the Galaxy S10 duo appear to be no different. That said, there is a mix of the good and the bad, and while the Galaxy S10 has only managed a score of three out of 10, it is not a particularly complicated device to repair.
The gods of device teardowns tell us that the assembly of components in the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10+ are fairly simple, in the sense that they use uniform Philips screws, and a single, compatible screwdriver is enough to go through the initial dismantling job. The Galaxy S10 and S10+ have more closely assembled interior arrangement than the budget S10e, which makes it a shade more difficult to carry out repairs. What becomes trickier in case of making repairs is the use of glass even at the back, which makes accidental damages and cracks more probable during dismantling and reassembling.
iFixit notes that the removal of the fingerprint sensor from the rear to an in-display one has helped ease the opening of the rear panel, which would be hampered by an attached flex cable in previous Samsung flagships. The internal sensor, however, comes with its own issues. Other notable factors include the presence of heat dissipating graphite pads on the underside of the rear panel, which is in place to presumably keep the overall heat of wireless charging and reverse charging in check. However, this may (and probably will) affect battery life in the long run, and the use of two glass panels on the phone mean that repairability becomes even trickier.
While the internal adhesive is still very strong, iFixit’s teardown pros reckon that it is less stubborn than before. While the headphone jack and many other components are modular, the USB-C port is now soldered on to the motherboard, which also restricts ease of repair. The greatest hindrance, however, is the way the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor is fitted, making screen repairs nearly impossible to make without incurring some kind of damage. Battery repairs, while not being as devilish, is still a stiff battle.
To sum up, the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10+ offer a few good elements in terms of repairability, and can be dismantled with relative ease. However, the use of strong adhesive on batteries with the metal mid-frame, the soldered charging port, the internal fingerprint sensor and the thin Infinity display make it very difficult for screen and battery repairs. It is hence a bit of a mixed bag, giving Samsung’s flagships a rather low score.