Samsung Galaxy S7 A Tough Nut To Crack And Repair, Guts Exposed In Teardown
There's always that one kid who instead of playing with his toys, he takes them apart to see what makes them tick. He's the neighbor who turned his Rubik's Cube into a pile of squares, straightened out his Slinky, and disassembled his Voltron (fist bump if you get any of those references, your childhood rocked). And now? Those types of curious characters post teardown evaluations of pricey gadgets, perhaps none better than the brave folks at iFixIt, who just tore into Samsung's new Galaxy S7 handset.
Android fans hold Samsung's Galaxy phones in high regard, and with good reason—they typically blend high-end hardware with desirable features, and starting with the Galaxy S6 series, premium construction was added to the mix as well. That's still the case with the Galaxy S7, though like many flagship phones, tearing it open to access its guts can be tricky.
In this case, specialized tools are pretty much a necessity. Instead of screws holding the Galaxy S7's chassis in place, Samsung used glue to seal it shut. It helps to melt the glue before attempting to pry the panels apart, which you can do (carefully) with a hairdryer, heat gun, or iFixIt's iOpener accessory (you heat it up in the microwave and then lay it flat on the device in need of opening).
The Galaxy S7's battery isn't removable—not without a risky teardown, anyway—but on the bright side Samsung upped the ante with a 3,000 mAh battery pack, a significant upgrade in capacity compared to the Galaxy S6's 2,550 mAh battery. That's even bigger than the iPhone 6s Plus' 2,750 mAh battery. That means you probably won't feel the need to replace it with something more capacious, though if it fails out of warranty, you're in for a headache—it's "well wedged and adhered in place," making extraction tougher than it needs to be.
Adhesive is fairly prominent throughout the Galaxy S7's construction. That's likely because Samsung paid so much attention to making the phone water resistant. From a usability standpoint, that's great, but it also makes DIY repairs difficult.
If you're able to get inside the Galaxy S7 and maneuver around, you'll find that many of the components are modular and able to be replaced independently of one another (yay!). However, there's some tricky navigation along the way (boo!). For example, if you need to replace the USB port, you'll have to remove the display, and there's a good chance you'll destroy it in the process. Front and back glass make for double the crackability, and strong adhesive on the rear glass makes replacing the glass without damaging the display just about impossible.
For those reasons, the Galaxy S7 earned a low 3 out of 10 repairability score, the same as the Galaxy S6 Edge.