iFixit tears down the Samsung Galaxy Note 7: poor repairability is the price for visual excellence


The crafty phone surgeons from iFixit have wasted no time and their tear-down of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is now complete, exposing all the parts of the new big thing from Samsung. iFixit's Galaxy Note 7 tear-down also gives a conclusive answer to the question that you would be asking next time you drop your phone and are looking for a screen replacement: how easy it is to repair?

Turns out: it's not so easy.

When you're dealing with two pieces of glass on both the front and the back, and no simple glass but one with curved sides, you're dealing with costly repairs. And lots of glue. Taking the Galaxy Note 7 apart is no trivial part as its back panel is strongly glued to the rest of the frame. Get that heat gun ready. And yes, it's that complicated to even swap the battery in this phone. Let us remind you that Samsung has not made this phone to have an easily user-removable battery, but nonetheless, that much effort makes it quite tedious to swap batteries even for more experienced phone technicians.

Another downside of the otherwise gorgeous Note 7 design is that the curved glass means there is practically no way to replace the glass without having to change the display unit itself, and this will be another pricey repair.

That's the sacrifices that come as a price for the visual and style excellence of the Note 7. For all of the tiny details around the tear-down process, you can check it out at the source link right below. And when it comes to the final repairability score for the Galaxy Note 7 on iFixit, it comes in at a rather poor 4 out of 10.


source: iFixit

Related phones

Galaxy Note 7
  • Display 5.7" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2150 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3500 mAh

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44 Comments

1. sarcastic_nerd unregistered

Visual excellence, LMAO. The only devices I can say are actually built well are the HTC devices. All others have at least one fatal flaw. Multiple in case of note 7, visually and functionally.

7. tedkord

Posts: 17452; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Visual excellence, as in the best displays on any smartphone.

19. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

That's not what they mean...

31. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Duh!!!!

10. hung2900

Posts: 966; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

HTC One visual and funtional flaws - Thick - Thick but camera module still protruded - Asymmetrical front - weird asymmetrical fingerprint scanner.

14. sarcastic_nerd unregistered

last 2 are false for the 10. And the 2016 Samsung lineup is pretty thick with protruding camera too.

41. hung2900

Posts: 966; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

I didn't say Samsung 2016 phones aren't. Samsung having the same things doesn't mean these aren't flaws (by your definition of flaw at the beginning, lol)

21. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

Not true, not true. Look at JerryRigEverything's YouTube videos, and you'll see just how "well built" some HTC decided are. Plastic on the camera lens, lots of glue everywhere instead of screws, internals sprawled about on the inside like they have no intention of ever repairing them, and the ease at which the M9 snapped in half was a joke.

28. h4h01

Posts: 2; Member since: Apr 21, 2016

Look at JerryRigEverything's HTC 10 scratch test, or look at phonebuff's drop test like HTC 10 VS GS7 edge..HTC 10 is one of the best built smartphones.. It's a freaking tank!! By the way the M9 was not the best built HTC device, that's true. It had major structural flaws, like as the nexus 6p

44. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

'Best built' doesn't mean it has good repairability.

43. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

The point still stands not sure about HTC 10 in particular but HTC phones also have pretty poor scores in iFixit too. So whether you like Note 7 or HTC 10 the 'visual excellence came at a price of poor repairability'

2. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Dumb! all metal phones have poo reparability. This is what everyone asked for. When Samsung used modular design for phones, that were easy to take apart, they were ridiculed while everyone was calling poly-carbonate cheap and flimsy. Yet it was resilient. You could even bend the battery door until it touched itself and it would go back to form. With metal you have to resort to gluing stuff together and with a heat gun is a nightmare to remove (even with one). The glass breaks very easy if not handled carefully. The phones if broken aren't meant t be repaired. The fact is, its cheaper to replace them. If you happen to actually crack the display, it will cost you close to $400 to replace it. when you can just pay the deductible on the carriers insurance and replace it for $200. Who cares that you can't repair it anymore? It would cost to much to do so.

16. Unordinary unregistered

I repaired my metal iPhone in 10 minutes lol. Your statement is false

33. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Notice what I said in my post. I said specifically, if you "resort to gluing everything together" it will be a nightmare to take part. Again you are trying to comparea phone that has a dual glass design (whioch means it has no back) to a phone with a metal back. A phone with a metal back doesn't need to be glued together. Because the PCB is screwed into the base (back) of the phone. So the only thing glued is the glass to the display. What is actually wrong here, if you are comparing 2 phones that have a different design. Having glass for a pack means the PCD is screwed into the medal sides. But everything else is glued. That is where YOU are wrong. See you are so quick to try to correct me, you didn't even take into account the difference in design. Samsung's own design choice makes this repair harder or impossible for the vast majority.

18. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

Not true, dude. The OnePlus 3 is easy to disassemble and repair. You can take out and replace the battery in a few minutes without any risk of tearing something else up.

34. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Is the One Plus 3 using a dual glass design where there is glass on the front and back? NOPE! So thus I'm not talking about it.

29. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

i recommend looking at htc 10 vs gs7 drop test from phonebuff on youtube htc 10 is much more solid all around.

3. devsabhi44

Posts: 15; Member since: May 31, 2015

Will it remain waterproof after repair?

11. maple_mak

Posts: 953; Member since: Dec 18, 2013

If you got all sets of new adhesive for Galaxy Note 7, the phone will still waterproof. But depending that how you apply it.

13. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

False. Because the adhesive is not what is being used for the water-proofing. The adhesive is for gluing parts together and offers very little water-proofing. Waterproofng for metal and plastic is very different and here is why. Plastic cases re made by using a process known as injection-molding. The material is forced into a chamber which fills a mold and the mold is set until it dries. Because the case isn't going to be cut, you receive a solid ready to go case with no or very little imperfections. But for metal, the casing is cut from a block and the inside of the casing is rough from the cutting tool. because of this, the metal inside the case is not smooth nor can it be. So this is why the Galaxy has to be put together by hand at some point. Once some of the parts are put in place, the water-proofing is done with a special needle. The tube is filled with the material. The material is shot into the open space until its full. Then more pieces are added. Once all the pieces are in place, the material as it dries starts to expend. t expends until it can't anymore, which then speeds up the drying process. Once dry the material is like a hardened rubber. Wen you take the phone apart, those rubber filled cavities are broken and thus can't be resealed. You would have t completely take the phone apart and do the process again. With plastic you don't. Because the inside of the case is flll with precut pieces of foam and rubber The rubberseal around the glass, is usually a similar material which expands to fill the gap. Once the glass is in place, it hardens by expending to fill the gaps. When you heat the glass to remove it, it melts the material thus breaking the seal. Though you can put it back, there is no guarantee a 3rd party of yourself will do it correctly. For one a third party or you won't have the equipment needed to tests the seal. Your only test is to drop it in water. which if you didn't do it right, the device will be ruined.

32. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

All this waterproofing is irrelevent because samsung dont cover if its fail even if its a manufacturer defect. Several client used it in a pool ect and came back to my store and there was nothing to do.

35. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I don't believe you. First off, if the phone is defective and it gets wet and doesn't survive, Samsung would need to cover it under warranty. The store you buy it from isn't Samsung. The phone is covered by manufacturers warranty. If you have a manufacturers issue, you have to return it to the OEM, not the retailer. Also you must work fro some crackpot carrier or retailers, because there has NEVER been a time I couldn't return the phone where I bought it. Which is why I only buy from carriers.

12. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Likely not. That's the other downside. A 3d party repair shop won't have the materials needed to seal the phone back or proper IP68 certification. If you sent your phone to Samsung for the repair, they certainly could do it. But for almost $400 in cost, is it worth it? I assume most people if they buy their phone from Best Buy or heir carriers, would invest in SquareTrade or the carriers insurance. I rather just pay the $200 and have it replaced. That is something the stupid iFixit didn't meantion, and PA's own writers did't mention. Metal phones are more exopensiveto make waterproof. With plastic phones it easier because you can use rubber seals. With metal phones, the process isn't so easy. In mant cases a small needle is used that is filled with the material. The material is then shot into the locations that need the water-proofing until that space is filled. The access is wiped off. Then the parts are put together. As the material starts to dry, it expands to fill any gaps. Once it can't expend anymore, it hardens. Once it hardens that's it. because he material is hard ad not soft, breaking the seal means breaking the material. The only way to seal it properly would be to remove all the old material and refill the areas. This is near impossible without completely taking the phone apart. Which is "tie" consuming. This is what drives up the labor costs. Again when people cried about wanting the premium feel and looks, those things come at a cost. No matter how cheap he material is to replace, the cost to replace it goes up. 3rd parties are a bad idea for repairs fr today's phones. iFixit is just wasting time even taking any phone apart talking about repairing it yourself. if you phone is metal and glass, your repair days are totally gone.

22. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

You're already out of like $850 buying this thing, who wants to spend even more. It's wasting money, pure and simple. Even if you have the money, it's still wasting it. I wouldn't get in the habit of buying things that require a specialist to repair every little thing that goes wrong. It's not wise at all.

4. UnlimitedSkye03

Posts: 300; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

Phones nowadays with sealed battery are pretty hard to repair. And if you want a waterproof phone it is definitely glued well.

5. Barney_stinson

Posts: 672; Member since: May 30, 2016

no glass back version please

6. Mxyzptlk unregistered

So far it's looking like the Galaxy No 7.

8. tedkord

Posts: 17452; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Keep trying.

23. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Keep whining. You're just as bad as the meanest commentor.

26. tedkord

Posts: 17452; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

No whining. I've got the best phone available right now, and today or tomorrow, I'll have the new king. And it won't matter how many non-issue -gates you try to make stick.

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