iFixit Tears Down Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, Gives It a Measly 3 Out of 10 for Repairability
Modern smartphones have to cram in a ton of components while still being sleek and attractive. Still, high-end phones have ballooned over the years as device makers include more cameras, larger batteries, and more. The Galaxy S20 Ultra is a prime example of this with a huge 5,000mAh battery and a 6.9-inch display. As is tradition, iFixit has torn Samsung’s new flagship phone to pieces to see how everything fits inside.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra has all the bells and whistles imaginable, but fixing anything that goes wrong is going to be a nightmare. With so many components inside, you have to disassemble most of this half-pound phone to get at anything. It all starts with removing the back glass panel, which requires a little heat and some prying. iFixit notes the adhesive holding the phone together is even stronger than usual, making it hard to get inside without breaking that glass back.
Since this is a 5G phone, it has an antenna shield assembly under the back cover. The S20 Ultra needs multiple groupings of antennas to pick up those easily disrupted millimeter-wave 5G signals. With the antennas and wireless charging coil out of the way, the teardown artists were able to slide the mainboard out. This is where the S20 Ultra’s camera modules attach, and they’re really something. The primary 108MP sensor is inside a 9.5×7.3mm module, and the 4x periscope camera is only a little smaller because of its folded lens structure.
The mainboard itself packs in the components as well. There’s a Snapdragon 865, a large block of flash storage, multiple RF amplifiers and wireless amplifiers, and a dedicated X55 5G modem. There’s one 5G antenna on the motherboard and two more screwed into the frame. Thankfully, the USB-C port is on a separate board to simplify repairs.
Under the circuit board is the S20 Ultra’s huge 5,000mAh battery. It is, of course, glued down. It takes some heat and a suction cup to get it out, and it’s the last thing to come out of the phone. Good luck replacing this on your own. On the flip side, the 6.9-inch 120Hz OLED panel is par for the course on a Samsung phone. A little heat and some prying, and it pops off. There’s a long ribbon cable behind it for easy replacement, but this is a time-consuming repair.
As you might guess, the S20 Ultra is not a very repairable phone. There’s a ton of glue, and even simple repairs require you to remove basically every part of the phone. iFixit gave the S20 Ultra a 3 out of 10, the same as the S10+ last year.