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Teardown: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge scores just 3 out of 10 for repairability
We have already had a good look inside Samsung’s brand new Galaxy S6 and now iFixit has taken apart the Galaxy S6 Edge, so we can see if the curved display makes any difference to Samsung’s internal design. Unfortunately, the team awarded the S6 Edge just a 3 out of 10 for repairability. Let’s find out why.
Right off the bat, the glass back makes getting into the handset much tougher than previous generations. The panel is glued down and snug against the frame, requiring a suction cup to remove. Even after taking the back panel off, there’s lots of little screws to remove before you can gain access to the battery and other components. Even then, you have to remove the battery by disconnecting it on the underside of the motherboard and then pull it away from the glue!
After taking out the motherboard, we can spot the same processor, memory, camera, and NFC components dotted around the motherboard. However, you’ll notice that Samsung has made some slight variations to its motherboard layout between the S6 and S6 Edge, in order to accommodate the curved edge display. See the comparison below.
Just like with the regular S6, a large number of internal components are built in-house by Samsung. For the most part, the major components, such as the Exynos 7420 SoC, 16MP OIS camera and flash memory are all housed in the same place. However, the SIM card tray is moved from the side to the top of the device, on account of the curved display in the Edge. As a result, Samsung has also moved the audio codec around onto the same side as the CPU and some antenna chips have also been relocated. While unlikely to make any noticeable difference to performance, it’s interesting to see the design compromises made in order to accommodate the different display.
Another interesting discovery is that the S6 Edge drops microUSB 3.0 support seen in the Galaxy S5 and opts for a slower microUSB 2.0 port, most likely just to save on a little cost and space.
Moving back to the screen, we get a nice look at how the AMOLED display is slightly curved at the edges and still bends under some slight pressure. The display is accompanied by a custom touch screen controller built by STMicro.
However, attempting lift the glass from the case resulted in a slight separation of the display, making it very difficult to replace a cracked screen without damaging, and probably needing to replace, the entire display. The screen isn’t cheap either, apparently costing Samsung as much as $26 due to low yields, compared with a typical price of around $3 for a normal display.
While quite nicely built and modular enough to replace parts at a low cost, the Galaxy S6 Edge proves difficult to even get into and even trickier if you want to replace the components most likely in need of a change – the battery and screen panel. Fortunately, it is apparently easier to repair than the Galaxy S5.