Galaxy S7 Edge proves tough to repair

The latest teardown from iFixit reveals some pluses, but this is not a phone you'd want to take apart yourself.

The Galaxy S7 Edge is apparently a tough nut to crack.

CNET

Should you ever feel the urge to muck around the innards of your Galaxy S7 Edge, try to resist the temptation.

Samsung's Galaxy S7 Edge phone, which launched Friday, has received the teardown treatment from iFixit to see what makes it tick. Along the way, iFixit noted pros and cons of the new phone but overall found that navigating its interior was a challenge.

The Galaxy S7 Edge, by the way, is similar in most respects to the likewise brand-new Galaxy 7, though the S7 Edge has a larger 5.5-inch screen and curved edges that wrap around the left and right sides.

In the event of a hardware glitch, most mobile phone owners wouldn't tear apart their device themselves, instead relying on the vendor or a repair shop to do the work. But the repairability of a tech product is important because it tells us how well the manufacturer assembled the parts and how pricey the device may be to fix when it's no longer under warranty.

Off the bat, iFixit encountered the expandable microSD slot that was missing from last year's Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. iFixit also said the S7 Edge is thicker than its predecessor.

iFixit used its iOpener tool to heat up the S7 Edge in order to remove the back despite some "extremely stubborn adhesive." iFixit also found that the battery is no longer entombed under the motherboard as it was with last year's S6 Edge, though it's still not easy to remove if it needs to be replaced. The S7 Edge's battery has more capacity than the one in the S7, iFixit noted, which generally translates to fewer charges.

Many of the S7 Edge's parts are modular and can easily be replaced, iFixit said. The battery can be removed without having to take out the motherboard, but it is stuck in place with a strong adhesive, meaning that replacement would be "more difficult than necessary."

Replacing the USB port would require the display to be removed, iFixit said, which would likely result in its destruction. Also, replacing the glass without destroying the display may be impossible, according to iFixit.

The final verdict: The Galaxy S7 Edge gets a repairability score of 3 out of 10 (10 being the easiest to repair). That's the same grade the Galaxy S6 Edge earned last year. So the new phone may be superior in certain ways, but it's still a tough nut to crack.

Samsung is relying on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge to revive consumer interest after last year's Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge failed to boost Samsung's weak smartphone sales. The company has been hurt by budget-friendly Chinese phones on the low end and by Apple's iPhone on the high end. So far, reviews of the new Galaxy phones have been positive, but the question remains whether the lineup can entice enough to new customers.

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