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iFixit wrangles with glass and glue in Galaxy Note 8 teardown
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is less than a week away from release and considering the explosive demise (quite literally) of its previous incarnation, you have to give a lot of credit to Samsung for boldly reigniting consumers’ passion for its flagship phablet with a new style to match its extensive feature list.
Taking design cues from its smaller sibling, the Note 8 inherits the Galaxy S8’s stunning Infinity Display, while also surpassing it in other areas – most notably with the addition of a dual camera, which is a first for the South Korean giant.
As we’re told from a young age however, beauty isn’t just on the outside, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Unfortunately for the folks over at iFixit, its extensive teardown of the Note 8 got more than a little ugly.
Most of the pain the team suffered through stemmed from the Note 8’s glass construction, as it found that both the front and rear panels are glued together with a large amount of devilishly strong adhesive.
This is a concern the iFixit team has observed with Samsung flagships for several years, including with the Galaxy S8 and the revived Note 7 FE. In addition, it found the glass securing and protecting the phone’s celebrated edge-to-edge Super AMOLED display to be very fragile.
While not surprising considering Samsung’s recent output, iFixit’s assertion that it would be incredibly tricky to replace the front glass without causing significant damage to the display will no doubt disappoint those hoping to sidestep phone repair specialists, in the event their Note 8 falls foul of an untimely drop, with a quick fix at home.
Samsung’s glue-happy approach also extends to the phone’s 3,300 mAh battery. To avoid any Note 7 flashbacks, the team opted to put aside its usual heat packs and used adhesive remover to free the potentially combustible lithium-ion battery.
Underneath the motherboard and multiple camera modules – including that much-vaunted rear wide-angle/telephoto dual camera, which iFixit confirms support optical image stabilization – the outlook improves dramatically.
As with its recent predecessors, many of the internal components, including the USB-C port, the retained 3.5mm headphone jack, and a litany of front facing sensors, are completely modular.
So, if you can somehow get into the Note 8 with causing irrevocable damage then you’re in luck. Otherwise, you’re best off leaving any repair-work to hardened professionals.
Unfortunately that scenario leaves the Note 8 with a lowly rating of 4 out of 10 on iFixit’s repairability scale, which is the same score the Galaxy S8, S8 Plus and Note 7 FE received (at least they’re consistent!), but one higher than the dismal 3 out of 10 awarded to 2016’s Galaxy S7.
The Galaxy Note 8 also comes in three points higher than the score iFixit recently gave to Essential’s debut device, the PH-1, which received the lowest mark possible with a miserable 1 out of 10.