The team at iFixit have put their screwdrivers and plastic pry tools to work on the shiny new Galaxy Note 7 and awarded the phone a rather dismal repairability score of 4/10. While this is admittedly an improvement over the Galaxy S7 – which scored just 3/10 – the Note 7 has the same easy-to-break and hard to replace curved display glass and having glass on both the front and back “makes for double the crackability”.
On the positive side, iFixit notes that a lot of the components in the Note 7 are modular and easily replaceable if they do go kaput. Of course, accessing the interior of the device without breaking either the display or glass back is more of a problem here than how easily those internal bits and pieces can be swapped out.
As you know, displays are typically the most expensive thing to replace on a smartphone and when it’s a curved display you’re in for an even bigger pocket hit if it breaks.
Displays are typically the most expensive thing to replace on a smartphone and curved displays are even more expensive.
iFixit also notes that improved cable routing means that on the Galaxy Note 7 the charging port assembly can be removed without having to take the screen off. This is big news as charging ports are usually one of the first things to go on any smartphone, so removing the possibility of damaging the display when replacing that is a big plus.
The Galaxy note 7's battery can be removed without having to pull the entire motherboard out.
Likewise, the battery can be removed without having to pull the entire motherboard out of the guts. But as usual, strong adhesive under the battery and on the rear glass make getting these parts out particularly difficult without accidents happening.
iFixit does note that the battery is protected by “walls” built into the rear cover though, adding both structural integrity as well as potential protection from any wayward water. There also seems to be some double-walled system going on around the Note 7’s frame, again likely for ingress protection, but possibly also for structural integrity (the Note 7 is very difficult to bend).
Not surprisingly, most of the internal components of the Note 7 are identical to the Galaxy S7. One change worth noting is the old daughterboard array. As iFixit notes, “unlike the one found in the S7, this board used rigid PCB interconnects. This keeps the spidery cable from being flimsy.”
The teardown team go on to note a copper cooling pipe and an inordinate amount of glue surrounding the S Pen cavity. Fortunately, you can no longer jam the stylus in backwards. And that’s about it, not too much new since the Galaxy S7 teardown but a few nice changes and a few mysteries too.
How repairable do you think OEMs should make devices? What do you think the double-wall system is for?