Complete Galaxy S10 and S10e teardown reveals major repairability concerns

Complete Galaxy S10 and S10e teardown reveals major repairability concerns
Samsung's hot new Galaxy S10, S10+, and S10e have been up for pre-order for a while now, looking at an actual release later this week, which can only mean one thing. It's teardown time, ladies and gents, courtesy of the repair specialists over at iFixit, but although there's a whole bunch of cool stuff to be found under the hood of the Galaxy S10 and S10e, we're afraid we have some bad news for DIY enthusiasts.

If you thought last year's Galaxy S9 was a nightmare in terms of repairability, it turns out that the Galaxy S10 series is even harder to fix from the comfort of an everyday user's home. You can have all the tools and technical know-how in the world, but at the end of the day, that groundbreaking ultrasonic in-display fingerprint reader will not come off on its own. Instead, it looks like any malfunction of the hidden biometric sensor will need to be settled by pulling off the display of the standard S10 (and, presumably, the S10+ too) along with the fingerprint scanner itself.

That's going to make any repair of the fingerprint sensor insanely expensive, and alas, it's not the only major Galaxy S10 weakness looking from this particular point of view. For some reason, the USB-C port on both the "regular" S10 and the low-cost S10e is not as easily replaceable as the connector of previous Samsung flagships, stubbornly sticking to the two new phones' motherboards.

Replacing the Galaxy S10's screen at home is probably not a good idea

Replacing the Galaxy S10's screen at home is probably not a good idea


Just like in recent years, 2019's next big thing makes battery replacement "unnecessarily difficult", while the screen is also quite hard to reach due to "tough adhesive" being smothered all over the place. The more conventional, side-mounted fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S10e is slightly easier to access, requiring full screen removal, but at least it stays in place once you manage to do that.

All in all, the Galaxy S10 and S10e are rated a pretty horrible 3 on a 10-point repairability scale, which is one point lower than the Galaxy S9 and three whole points behind the iPhone XS and XS Max. Of course, tearing down your costly phones at home is rarely a good idea, so instead of focusing on what's "wrong" with the S10 family, perhaps we should appreciate these engineering marvels.

The ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensors is not the only super-cool thing here, by the way. The front-facing camera hole also required quite a bit of engineering effort, running through the midframe and motherboard, while the reverse wireless charging functionality is expected to generate a lot of heat, which in turn prompted Samsung to "pull out all the stops" to keep everything inside the Galaxy S10 nice and cool. Overall, this is certainly an impressive design, both inside and out.

Related phones

Galaxy S10
  • Display 6.1" 1440 x 3040 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 10 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 512 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3400 mAh
Galaxy S10e
  • Display 5.8" 1080 x 2280 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 10 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3100 mAh

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23 Comments

1. maherk

Posts: 6703; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Wielding the usb port to the motherboard is nothing short of a greedy move.

11. matistight

Posts: 927; Member since: May 13, 2009

Well, if your port stops working, this forces Samsung to replace the entire board (for time,) meaning they will be spending more money on warranty repairs when you send a phone into them that is covered under warranty. If the fingerprint scanner fails, this also means they'll need to replace the screen as well, rather than just the scanner (unlike OnePlus 6T, which does not require the screen be replaced to change the scanner.) There's probably other choices they made which means Samsung will spend more on warranty repairs. Outside of warranty, for sure, a greedy move.

18. maherk

Posts: 6703; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

These problems usually happens after the 1st year of owning the device, and as far as I know, Samsung's warranty still stands at 1 year in majority of the markets.

2. Cat97

Posts: 1765; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

We have to admit, iPhones are worlds easier to repair. The Galaxy phones are simply not meant to be opened.

3. maherk

Posts: 6703; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Break the back of your iPhone, and you'll need to move every single part of your iPhone to another frame if you want to fix it.

9. vgking9699

Posts: 114; Member since: Mar 01, 2019

Like every other glass back phone in existence

14. matistight

Posts: 927; Member since: May 13, 2009

Not even close.

22. BlackhawkFlys

Posts: 904; Member since: May 07, 2014

Other glass back phones do not charge more than $300 to replace the back glass.

20. Ichimoku

Posts: 130; Member since: Nov 18, 2018

Hardly press the like button!

4. yalokiy

Posts: 902; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

Do you know how much it costs to replace the back glass of iPhone in comparison to back glass of a Galaxy ?

12. matistight

Posts: 927; Member since: May 13, 2009

True, but there are mainly failures that are EXTREMELY difficult to fix, like the Touch ID failure (all iPhones, but mostly requires physical damage or idiots accidentally tearing the home button cable. You can fix it yourself, but Touch ID will no longer work)[some iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, and 8 Plus will just fail randomly are start clicking super fast for no reason, not to mention that ONLY Apple can replace the button, regardless if you buy an OEM or Aftermarket replacement], Touch Disease (iPhone 6+, some iPhone 6[recall, but requires payment]), Audio IC failure (iPhone 7 and 7 Plus), Baseband IC failure (iPhone 7[recall]), "Gyroscope failure" [according to Apple] (I have seen this on the iPhone SE and 6S+ so far), and Logic Board failure (technically all iPhones as well, but mainly iPhone 8[recall]), and the iPhone X screen failure [recall]. FaceID faulure is common, but not as bad as TouchID and most of the time it just happens when parts are replaced (I have a machine that can reprogram the FaceID, but not a lot of people know that you have to do with when changing the screen, also you can't do this on super aftermarket screens [LCD alternatives for the iPhone X/XS.]) While Galaxy (which is stupid to say, because there are many "Galaxy's", you mean Galaxy S) parts....no, just the screen.... are expensive, they are easy to obtain, and once the back is removed (which is harder to remove than 2 screws and some weak adhesive), parts are easy and cheap to replace, with the screen costing the most at $150+ depending on the phone.

5. worldpeace

Posts: 3099; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

There's just no extra space to put ribbon cable, and ribbon connector. Personally, I never break my charging port, even my old smartphone that still use Micro-USB and charge it everyday. USB-C is more durable than micro-usb, and right now I always use wireless charging, I don't think I'll ever break that port, since I never use it. I know someone will manage to break it, but the repair cost should be similar with the old model, or you can still send it to repair shop, they could remove that broken port and solder a new one. (not a DIY stuff since you can't just replace the daughter board like it used to be, but still not a big deal IMO)

6. worldpeace

Posts: 3099; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

After a quick search, I found Galaxy S3, Nexus 5X, and LG G4 (and many more) also have soldered port to mainboard, I don't see anyone writing article complaining about that.

10. vgking9699

Posts: 114; Member since: Mar 01, 2019

Newer galaxys and others for past years but after those you mentioned have had easy replaceable USB ports up til now the s10 doesn’t But back then those phones were close to only half the cost phones are now days

15. matistight

Posts: 927; Member since: May 13, 2009

Maybe if they removed the headset jack...

7. GreenMan

Posts: 2694; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

Well, you can't fix a V12 Ferrari or a V4 Ducati in the backyard with your trusty old wrench either. Oh well...

19. Tipus

Posts: 793; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

Hold my beer.. :)))

23. WingMan

Posts: 263; Member since: Mar 28, 2008

you should check Tavarish on youtube :). He has something to say about your statement.

8. pimpin83z

Posts: 266; Member since: Feb 08, 2019

"...teardown reveals major repairability concerns" That's what insurance & equipment protection plans are for. Rather have it & not need it than need it & not have it.

13. matistight

Posts: 927; Member since: May 13, 2009

Have fun paying $7-$15 a month, be able to make 2 claims a year before they silently drop you, and then paying $175-$300 per insurance claim for a refurbished phone thats generally assembled by someone making minimum wage in Texas.

16. pimpin83z

Posts: 266; Member since: Feb 08, 2019

I've had ins on my phone for 10 years since I've first been using Android. Only filed 1 claim & when I did I was working in wireless so I know how to have that refurb swapped for a brand new phone.

17. pimpin83z

Posts: 266; Member since: Feb 08, 2019

Also, 2 things: 1. I'm not 6 so there's no chance at me making 2 claims a year. 2. The Asurion warehouse is actually in TN & they make more than minimum wage.

21. rouyal

Posts: 1567; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

I used to care about how easy a phone was to repair. At least to replace the battery if needed. Truth be told, however, I've never needed to do it as by the time the battery is worn out, I have long since grown bored of the phone and ready to move on. Battery life has also gotten amazing with advances of efficiency through nm size of chip transistors. Other components: I think after a year if nothing fails, you may be in the clear.

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