Samsung made some waves the other week at its Galaxy Unpacked 2019 event, not the least of which was the unveiling of its first foldable smartphone, the aptly monikered Galaxy Fold. But let’s take a step back and look at the other new Galaxy phones. The non-foldy ones. The ones people are more likely to buy, then break and need to fix.
Samsung debuted three Galaxy S Series smartphones this year: The Galaxy S10, S10+, and S10e, the last of which is a budget model positioned to compete with the iPhone XR. As we stated before, these models pack more interesting features than last year’s Galaxy S9 could manage, but construction-wise, they’re not so different. Repairs will be similar to those on other Galaxy phones.
If you want to see the nitty gritty details, video teardowns have made their way online for the Galaxy S10 (courtesy of JerryRigEverything) and S10+ (courtesy of pwrdbykyank). We’re going to cover the biggest changes here.
Back Glass Repair Made Easier (S10 and S10+)
You know how you have to be extra careful not to rip the fingerprint scanner flex cable on a Galaxy smartphone when you remove the back glass? Not a problem anymore. One side benefit of the fingerprint scanner moving up front and beneath the screen is that there’s no spindly flex cable tethering the back glass to the frame assembly. Simply add heat, carve through the adhesive, and lift it straight up. This also removes the annoyance of reconnecting the flex cable when you swap out a busted back glass.
Since back glass replacement is a pretty common repair for Galaxy phones, this is a nice, if only minor, surprise. But not all surprises are welcome.
Charging Port Repair Made Impossible (S10 and S10+)
Zack of JerryRigEverything has some choice, G-rated words for the surprise waiting at the bottom of the Galaxy S10. The charging port is soldered directly to the logic board (so is the bottom microphone). This is a new development. Before, charging ports were modular parts that could easily be swapped out, but now you’d need a ton of time on your hands and plenty of board level talent to even bother with this. If a charging port or bottom microphone breaks, the phone may as well be replaced.
Fingerprint Scanner Latched onto the Screen (S10 and S10+)
Our first glimpse of the new in-display fingerprint scanner is the silver housing of the attached ultrasonic sensor poking out from the other side of the aluminum midframe, but to see the full component in all its glory, the screen needs to come off completely.
Its flex cable is attached via ZIF connector to the larger screen flex cable (which looks mostly familiar), and the flex cable can by pried up easily enough. However, the fingerprint sensor itself isn’t going anywhere. It’s adhered extremely well to the back of the screen assembly, so we must assume that any replacement screen assembly will come with this part pre-installed.
Samsung gives and Samsung takes with this year’s Galaxy S Series phones. Easier back glass replacement is nice and all, but is it an acceptable tradeoff for the denial of charging port replacement?
One other questions mark looming over these new phones is, if the fingerprint scanner must come pre-installed on phones, will third-party repair run into issues with proprietary software similar to Apple’s home buttons and Face ID cameras? We’ll have the answer to that soon enough.
Rest assured, for those who regularly work on Galaxy phones, not too much has changed. And, as we noted in our last blog post, those glass lenses on the back or mighty big and might ripe for scratching. Have your pry tools ready!