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Galaxy S20 Ultra teardown reveals why that camera bump is so big

DIY tech repair website iFixIt has got hold of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, and torn it to pieces in an effort to see exactly how hard it is to repair.

The answer to that question is ‘hard, but not much harder than past Galaxy handsets.’ But what’s more interesting is just how Samsung has managed to fit so many goodies into a handset that promises not only the latest chipset, but a 5000mAh battery and a triple-camera array.

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First up, it’s now pretty clear why that camera hump on the back is so big: the 108-megapixel primary camera is enormous, with iFixIt explaining it covers more than twice the space of the 12-megapixel number in the iPhone 11. On top of that, making that ridiculous 100x zoom happen requires an awful lot of space for the lenses that work that bit of magic as the video below shows.

Working around the 5000mAh battery is a clever bit of space management, with a maze of boards packed with components from Samsung, Qualcomm, Skyworks, Qorvo, Maxim and Murata on both sides.  

In a world of iterations and safe bets, it’s refreshing to see Samsung continue to do what Samsung does best: pack phones full of zany technology and see what sticks,” iFixIt writes in its conclusion.

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Unfortunately, such innovation doesn’t make for a device that’s particularly easy to repair even if you do have the knowhow and tools on hand. Although you only need one Phillips screwdriver, you still need to painstakingly unglue the fragile glass back, and said glue is in abundance on the battery unit. Worse: replacing the screen – probably the most common repair around – requires that you either replace half the phone or do a complete teardown.   

The site ultimately gives it a 3/10 rating, which it describes as “pretty average by Galactic [i.e: Galaxy phone] standards.” In other words: “if you could repair the last Samsung phone, you’ll be able to fix this one.”

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