Pre-orders for the latest Samsung Galaxy S10 range end are coming to a close, and if you’re one of the many awaiting their new handsets, or planning on buying one soon, you’ll want to know how easy it is to repair the expensive Android smartphones if they break.
Teardown experts iFixit got their hands on the Samsung Galaxy S10, the bigger Galaxy S10 Plus and the more affordable Galaxy S10e, and gave all three the traditional treatment. While they used the Galaxy S10 and the S10e for the step-by-step photo teardown, the S10 Plus received a video disassembly.
Like most modern smartphones, iFixit found a lot of adhesive holding the parts of the Samsung flagships together, but once you get past the glue, the rest is quite modular. iFixit found it quite easy to get the back panels off, after which a single Phillips-head screwdriver can be used to get the components blocking the motherboard off. That means getting the motherboard replaced, should the need arise, will be fairly simple.
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It’s not all good news
That’s where the ease of repairability ends, though. iFixit found that the USB-C charging port has been soldered to the motherboard, making replacing the charging port very difficult.
Another common repair issue for most smartphones is battery replacement, and Samsung has, unfortunately, glued the battery down. While this makes replacing it possible, iFixit found it rather difficult to remove.
The biggest issue, though, is the new ultrasonic fingerprint sensor built into the front display. The teardown reveals that the sensor has been fused into the screen, so if anything goes wrong with it (like the glass cracking close to the sensor, as The Verge revealed), the entire glass front panel will need to be changed. And that is likely going to be an expensive prospect.
In the end, iFixit gave the new Samsung Galaxy S10 handsets a repairability score of 3 out of 10, a new low for Samsung. Last year, the Galaxy S9, the Google Pixel 3 and the Huawei Mate 20 Pro were given a repairability score of 4 out of 10.
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Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.