The tech tinkerers at iFixit have done it again, taking apart another modern smartphone and finding out just how hard it is for consumers to repair. This time, it’s the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G model that’s under the spotlight.
Unsurprisingly, the crazy-expensive handset doesn’t represent a return to the good old days of repairability, with the site giving it a 3/10 score. For those keeping track, that means it’s even harder to repair than last year’s Samsung Galaxy Note 9, which scored a slightly more respectable 4/10.
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So, what’s the problem? Well the first hurdle is the all-glass front and back, which is glued tight to the metal frame. That’s no problem for the team at iFixit, which is used to this by now, but would be a tricky first move for your average consumer.
Next up is the new motherboard layout. Like the iPhone X, the Note 10+ 5G has its motherboard at the top half of the phone, allowing for a wider battery. The trouble with this is the cable between mother and daughter board which block access to the 4300mAh cell. Once you get to it, you’ll also find it thoroughly glued down.
But the biggest issue for iFixit is just how bloodyminded the design is for the most common fix: display repairs. As the site says in its conclusion: “all-too-common display repairs require either a complete teardown or replacing half the phone.”
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It’s not the worst score the site has ever dished out. That dubious honour goes to the Microsoft Surface Laptop, which got a big, fat zero. “If we could give it a -1 out of 10, we would,” a spokesperson said at the time. “It’s a Russian nesting doll from hell with everything hidden under adhesive and plastic spot welds.”
So it could be worse.