Samsung Galaxy S6 proves tough to take apart -- iFixit

iFixit's teardown of the new S6 shows it's not the type of phone that's easy to open or repair.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Samsung's Galaxy S6 is a tough nut to crack. Josh Miller/CNET

Should you ever feel a need to explore the innards of Samsung's Galaxy S6 smartphone, you'll be better off resisting that urge.

The Galaxy S6, which launched Friday, has gotten the teardown treatment from iFixit, which sells repair parts and offers free online repair guides to electronic devices.

Its verdict, released Tuesday: four out of 10 for repairability, due in part to the difficulty in simply taking off the back. (A 10 is the best rating, by the way.)

Such teardowns are designed to reveal the degree of difficulty tied to a repair. They also provide insight into how a device is assembled and what parts are used.

Over the past year Samsung has faced a rough time in the smartphone arena. Challenged by competition from low-end vendors such as Xiaomi and Huawei and high-end vendors such as Apple, the company's sales and market share have suffered. As such, Samsung is relying heavily on the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge to reinvigorate consumer excitement and demand for its flagship phones.

Based on specs, the S6 certainly looks better than the S5, according to iFixit. The S6 sports a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen with a resolution of 2,560x1,440 pixels. Powered by an Exynos 7 Octa 7420 processor, the phone also comes with a 16 megapixel rear camera, built-in wireless charging, a Corning Gorilla Glass 4 backing and on-board storage options of 32GB, 64GB or 128GB.

But simply opening the Galaxy S6 was tricky for the iFixit folks. Peeling off all the adhesive and unscrewing all the screws finally removes the back of the phone. Checking out the internals, iFixit finds them to be a "dead ringer" for the ones used in the Galaxy S6 Edge.

Removing the S6's battery is easier than doing so on the S6 Edge but tougher than it was on previous phones, such as the Galaxy S5. After checking out the various components on the motherboard, including the processor, the iFixit team removed the daughterboard to discover the audio jack, microUSB port and another part that's likely either the touch or fingerprint sensor controller.

The final verdict? The Galaxy S6 merits a repairability score of four out of 10. In awarding such a low score, iFixit cites several factors. The display needs to be removed if you want to replace the USB port. The battery can be removed without taking out the motherboard, but you'd face the challenge of tough adhesive and a glued-on rear panel. Finally, replacing the glass without destroying the display is "probably impossible."

On the bright side, at least, the S6 fared slightly better than its Galaxy S6 Edge counterpart, which earned a repairability score of three out of 10 from iFixit.

Samsung did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.