Samsung has finally launched the Galaxy Note 7 in the United States, and Samsung fans are excited to get their hands on the highly anticipated smartphone.
As with most flagship devices, the folks at iFixit carried out a teardown on the Galaxy Note 7. Teardowns provide a look on the insides of a smartphone and assesses how easy it is for users to conduct self-repairs on the device.
For the Galaxy Note 7 teardown, iFixit noted that that the smartphone has many modular components, but the crackability of the glass components of the device makes it very hard to repair.
iFixit started the teardown by running through the specifications of the Galaxy Note 7. The device comes with a curved 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display protected by Gorilla Glass 5, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset with 4 GB of RAM and the Adreno 530 GPU, a 12 MP rear-facing camera with optical image stabilization, 64 GB internal memory expandable up to 256 GB, an iris scanner, a fingerprint scanner, the S Pen stylus, a USB-C port, a headphone jack and IP68 dust and water resistance rating. All these combined, the Galaxy Note 7 is indeed worthy of flagship status.
To begin the Galaxy Note 7's disassembly, iFixit utilized proprietary tools to soften the adhesive underneath the device's rear glass and pop open its rear casing.
iFixit then unscrewed a back cover, which once removed, revealed an unusual battery cable design, with the battery relatively easy to remove once its connector cable is unattached from the motherboard.
After the battery is removed, the Galaxy Note 7's motherboard was the next component taken out, and along with it came three cameras. The three cameras are the rear-facing camera, the front-facing camera and the iris scanner.
The main camera for the Galaxy Note 7 was discovered to have the same module of the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge. In addition, upon closer inspection, the chipset of the smartphone was also found to be nearly identical to that of the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge.
iFixit then removed the modular headphone jack and the USB-C port, and then the daughterboard array afterwards. The next component taken out is the liquid cooling copper strip that was discovered during the teardown of the Galaxy S7.
iFixit then proceeded with removing the volume buttons, where it ran into the interesting fact that the button covers are trapped within the other case, preventing them to be popped out. No explanation was given for such a construction, though perhaps this is a waterproofing or a structural feature.
The last component removed from the smartphone is the sensor array, which included the status LED, the IR blaster that enables iris scanning and the proximity sensor.
The repairability score that iFixit gave to the Galaxy Note 7 was 4 on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the easiest to repair. The smartphone had many modular components that can be independently replaced, but the battery is difficult to switch out due to the rough adhesive on the component and the glued rear panel.
Lastly, and perhaps making repairs most difficult, are the front and back glass components of the Galaxy Note 7, which doubles the chances of cracking glass, along with the strong adhesive on the back glass component. In addition, due to the curved screen, replacing the front glass without destroying the display is virtually impossible.
The Galaxy Note 7 scored slightly better than the Galaxy S7, which scored 3 points, but it is obvious that Samsung flagship smartphones are not meant to be self-repaired.