Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Teardown reveals low repairability

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Teardown

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the latest ultimate flagship phone from the South Korean tech giant. It was announced together with the regular Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+. It’s from the same flagship series but this one is different as it already offers S Pen support. Recently, the phone’s Exynos variant was also reviewed on DxOMark and received a decent score. Its Snapdragon 888 and Exynos 2100 versions were also compared in a benchmark test. We also remember the phone being the subject of a Drop Test.

In January, we saw Zack Nelson’s disassembly video which revealed a low repairability score. This time, it’s IFixit’s turn to do a teardown treatment.

Let’s review the specs first. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra comes equipped with a 6.8-inch Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-O screen, 3200 x 1440 pixel resolution, 515ppi, up to 120 Hz variable refresh rate, Snapdragon 888 processor, 12GB of RAM, 128GB flash storage, and a 5000 mAh battery. There are five cameras in total: a 40MP ƒ/2.2 selfie camera plus a quad rear camera setup (12MP ƒ/2.2 ultra-wide + 108MP ƒ/1.8 wide-angle + 10MP ƒ/2.4 telephoto + 10 MP ƒ/4.9 periscope telephoto.

IFixit has noted the matte finish on the glass rear panel. It’s a new design from Samsung that many people are loving now. It’s still glass but doesn’t really feel like one.

Opening the phone is easy enough with some heat. Remove the rear panel carefully. The new camera bump somehow makes the removal a bit tricky.

Be careful with the stray cables. The back cover shoes some large adhesive gasket that holds the cover and the camera bump. Note that the camera bump can be taken off separately. The glass camera lenses can be replaced individually. Inside, the Galaxy 21 Ultra is similar to the Galaxy S20 Ultra in many ways.

The on-screen fingerprint sensor is bigger by 77% compared to the S20’s. For this year, Samsung just maintained the good things from the Galaxy S20, or at least, most of the important stuff. The new phone is more refined but as before, repairability has not improved.

Several components are modular. They can be replaced independently. The IFixit team said polycarbonate rear panel and the missing modular display cable are a step backward. The back panel is slightly difficult to take out because it’s been glued down. Repairing the display and battery can also be difficult.

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