The repairability of smartphones has been a hot topic among Android enthusiast for ages. This is why the iFixit team has taken it upon themselves to rate the repairability of most major smartphones over the years. The latest in the line, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus, has earned a lousy three out of ten score.
iFixit get their result by performing phone teardowns — they open the device and inspect where every component is located and how easy parts are to remove and replace. The Note 10 Plus did particularly poorly for a number of reasons. Like most modern flagships with a non-removable battery and a glass back, the phone is held together by a lot of adhesive.
But there have been some radical changes to the inside of the Note 10 Plus too. The motherboard is now located at the top of the device. It allows the phablet to have a wider battery, but according to iFixit “it makes the connection between mother and daughterboard trickier, necessitating these annoying interconnect cables that block battery access.” The battery itself is also glued down, making replacing it harder than ever.
Replacing the Galaxy Note 10 Plus' display is an almost impossible task.
The display takes the cake, however. According to iFixit, replacing it requires a complete teardown. This makes home repairs almost impossible, especially if you don’t have a variety of specialized tools. Of course, last year’s Note 9 didn’t perform spectacularly either, earning a score of four, but it’s still more manageable.
Nevertheless, iFixit did discover some interesting things about the 5G version of the Galaxy Note 10 Plus. Its battery is quite massive, weighing in at 59.1 grams. It is 4.4 grams heavier and 3cm³ larger than the Note 9’s battery.
They also unearthed three separate mmWave antenna modules (two on the edges and one under the screen), which given 5G’s mmWave limitations, should help the device have stable connectivity. The final and welcome surprise is a larger vibration motor, which iFixit sees as the “first sign that Samsung is finally taking haptic feedback seriously.”
Do you care about ease of repair when buying a smartphone? Give us your thoughts in the comments section.