iFixit has been known for its teardowns on a variety of devices to check for their repairability. The company is doing the same for Samsung's latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S7, as it's also looking to learn more about the device's cooling system that has been featured in other teardowns.
To begin the teardown, iFixit used its tools, the iOpener and the iSclack, to loosen the glue holding the Galaxy S7's rear panel and pry it open. Compared to the Galaxy S6, the Galaxy S7 was a bit stickier and featured black adhesive instead of the white adhesive in the Galaxy S6.
The screws of the smooth surface, which was revealed with the removal of the back panel of the Galaxy S7, were then removed using a screwdriver. The surface included the device's antennas, speaker and wireless charging coil, which are all connected to the motherboard through tiny spring contacts. This makes the replacement of these components easy after being able to pry open the Galaxy S7.
iFixit then removed the Galaxy S7's 3,000 mAh battery, which it noted is bigger than the Galaxy S6's 2,550 mAh battery and the iPhone 6s Plus's 2,750 mAh battery. Removing the battery was difficult, which meant that it was never intended to be a replaceable component.
The next component to be removed was the 5-megapixel front-facing camera, which allowed for the motherboard to be lifted up to reveal the daughterboard connector which is also found in the Galaxy S6. Afterwards, the 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and the modular headphone jack were removed. iFixit noted rubber seals on the headphone jack and on the lower microphone and speaker, which contributes to the device's ingress protection.
Also similar to the Galaxy S6, the cables for the Galaxy S7's soft buttons are wrapped around the device's display-backing frame, which makes a replacement of the daughterboard and the charging port almost impossible. This is because freeing up the cables will require the difficult task of removing the smartphone's OLED screen.
While iFixit was able to free the Galaxy S7's daughterboard, the setup makes it complicated to replace the smartphone's display and digitizer, its USB port, its microphone and its soft button LEDs. Replacing the charging port will require either the sacrifice of the soft button LEDs or a complete replacement of the display.
iFixit also said that for Galaxy S7's midframe, Samsung buried it deeper and glued the display to it. While this improves the waterproofing of the smartphone, the setup increases the difficulty of replacing these components.
Lastly, the handset's liquid cooling system was removed. There is no actual liquid involved though, as it is a small copper heat pipe that makes it not as revolutionary as Samsung is claiming it to be. iFixit believes that the heat pipe transfers the heat coming from the smartphone to its metal midframe, where the heat is then radiated out to the device's sides or into the user's hands.
Overall, the iFixit teardown resulted in the Galaxy S7 obtaining a poor score of 3 out of 10 for repairability. While many of the smartphone's components are modular and can independently be replaced, getting to those components is a different matter altogether. The smartphone's display needs to be taken out, and most likely destroyed, when replacing the USB port, and the front and back glass panels of the smartphone double the crackability of the Galaxy S7.
The strong adhesive on the back glass panel already makes the first step of opening up the smartphone very difficult, with iFixit noting that replacing the glass will probably also lead to destroying the Galaxy S7's display.