Galaxy Note 8 Teardown Highlights Samsung's Sticky Obsession With Adhesives

It seems like a million years ago when Samsung was known for using plastic in the construction of its Galaxy handsets, which had removable batteries to boot. But like most smartphone makers, Samsung went the premium route with tightly fused glass and metal. That is also the case with its recently introduced Galaxy Note 8, and as a teardown of the device reveals, liberal use of adhesive continues to rule the day.

Unlike the phones of yesteryear, most of today's high-end handsets are designed to stay closed up and sealed tightly enough to keep the elements out. As a result, the Galaxy Note 8 is glued shut. The teardown folks at iFixIt turned to a familiar method of applying heat to melt and soften the glue, and prying along the sides. With a bit of patience and persistence, the chassis eventually separates.
Galaxy Note 8 Open

One thing to be careful of if you plan on attempting a DIY repair at home on this phone is a delicate fingerprint sensor cable that sits close to the edge. If you are not extra cautious when carving through the adhesive, you could end up slicing the cable, adding to the cost (and frustration) of whatever it is you are repairing.

After opening the Galaxy Note 8, you will find that you can use a regular Philips screwdriver to remove the mid-frame and Qi wireless charging coil combo. The next step is to take out the speaker assembly, at which point you will get your look at the guts of the Galaxy Note 8.

Galaxy Note 8 Battery

This time around, Samsung deviated from past Galaxy Note and Galaxy S designs by plopping the phone's battery almost dead-center while relocating the vibrator to the bottom-right of the handset. That makes it easier to access, though as with past handsets, "the battery squats in a little pit of glue-lined sadness."

You might be tempted to once again apply heat to soften the adhesive, but don't—heat and lithium-ion batteries are a dangerous combination. To free the battery, iFixIt applied some adhesive remover in liquid form. It appears the company only sells adhesive remover in pre-soaked pads, so you may have to turn to alternative solutions (maybe Goo Gone, for example?).

Galaxy Note 8 Teardown

In the end, iFixIt gave the Galaxy Note 8 a rather low 4 out of 10 Repairability Score. The teardown gurus noted that all repairs—both major and minor—require removing the glass rear panel, which is challenging because of the large amount of adhesive. On top of that, replacing the display can be extra tricky due to the fragility of it and the glass rear panel, and again all of the glue.