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Galaxy Note 20 teardowns show higher prices don't make for easier repairs

There's also a mystery around the cooling.

Published onAugust 24, 2020

  • iFixit has conducted a Samsung Galaxy Note 20 teardown with both the Ultra and vanilla models.
  • Both phones are difficult to fix — you won’t be replacing the battery yourself.
  • Oddly, Samsung is using different cooling for versions of the same model.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 series might carry a premium over last year’s models, but that hasn’t translated to easier repairs.

The iFixit team has finished its teardowns of the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra, and both of them are difficult to repair yourself — about as daunting as the Galaxy S20, and considerably harder to fix than rivals such as the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 teardown

It’s “far too difficult” to replace the glued-down battery, iFixit said. If your power pack wears down, you’ll likely be asking Samsung for help. The DIY repair shop also warned that display fixes are “poorly prioritized” and costly. It added that virtually all fixes will require pulling off, cleaning, and replacing “tough adhesive.”

The teardowns are enlightening even if you have no inclination to pry open your phone. For one, Samsung is curiously using different cooling methods between units of the same phone, with no clear reason why. You might get graphite or copper on an otherwise identical Exynos-powered model, for example. It’s not certain this will have a practical impact on your phone’s cooling performance, but it does leave room for some variation.

Read more: The best Samsung phones you can get right now

Curiously, iFixit couldn’t find an antenna for the vaunted ultra-wideband in the Note 20 Ultra. While the feature is clearly present, Samsung may have found a way to stealthily incorporate it into the design.

The low repairability sits in stark contrast to the Galaxy Buds Live, which are surprisingly easy to fix. Complexity clearly dictates repair difficulty more than size in Samsung’s current lineup. That doesn’t mean the Note 20 family is poorly designed on the whole, but you will want to think carefully if you’re the sort who would rather tear apart your phone than send it in for service.

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