Samsung Galaxy S8 Teardown Highlights Refreshing Modularity But Adhesive Nightmare
Whether it is intentional or the consequence of building increasingly thinner and lighter devices with premium makeups, cracking open today's electronics for DIY repair is oftentimes difficult. Whatever the case might be, Samsung chose not to buck the trend with its Galaxy S8. As with most modern handsets, the Galaxy S8 poses various challenges to anyone attempting to get at its guts, though it is not without some redeeming qualities.
The teardown experts at iFixIt put the Galaxy S8 on the operating table and proceeded to play a high-tech version of Operation, only without the buzzer and glowing red nose (remember that game?). With a design that once again utilizes glass-on-glass, they had to "heat the heck" out of the display panel, followed by "plenty of prying" around the edges using a thin plastic pick.
As smartphone makers are prone to do, Samsung sealed the Galaxy S8 shut with glue—gobs of it. Not only that does that make opening up the Galaxy S8 difficult, but it also means having to reapply adhesive when putting it back together.
Once inside things get decidedly better. Many of the components are modular, which means they can be replaced individually if there's a hardware failure. That is cheaper than have to replace chunks of hardware with multiple components soldered into the place.
The most common DIY repair is replacing a dead or lethargic battery. Inside the Galaxy S8 is a Samsung brand battery rated at 11.55 Wh—that's a bit more capacious than the 10.66 Wh batter in Google's Pixel handset, and substantially more than the 7.45 Wh in Apple's iPhone 7.
Samsung does not have a favorable track record here, and the Galaxy S8 does nothing to change that. There is still no easy way of ejecting the battery. Instead, it is held firmly in place with more glue. Of course, this should not be much of an issue for anyone who upgrades their smartphone every two years (or sooner). But for longer term use, eventually the battery will stop holding a charge.
When all was said and done, the Galaxy S8 mustered a 4 out of 10 Repairability Score. It earned kudos for using lots of modular components and having a replaceable battery, and was dinged mainly for the amount of glue in its construction. It was also noted that the curved screen makes replacing the front glass without destroying the display extremely difficult.
Outside of the level of difficulty associated with DIY repair, the Galaxy S8 is one of our favorite smartphones to date. Check out our recent review of it and the bigger Galaxy S8+ for an in-depth analysis with performance metrics.
Images Sourced From iFixIt