Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip is a much easier foldable phone to repair than its competition or previous foldable devices. That's according to reports about a new teardown by PBKreviews and despite the complexity required by the still-new technology.
The teardown starts with the removal of both backplates, one at the top and one at the bottom. Each requires heating to release adhesive and then a pry tool to cut away that glue. Once the glue is cut away, both can be removed. The top panel does require the removal of a single cable but Samsung has left plenty of overall cable length there. So users aren't likely to accidentally destroy that cable when the panel is removed.
Once that cable is popped out of its lego-style connector, there are 12 fasteners to remove. Each is a Phillips-head fastener. Then it's just a matter of removing plastic coverings to reveal an array of Lego-style connectors between each component and the boards. The wireless charging pad comes out first, followed by the speaker assembly.
From there, only one fastener remains. That's a Phillips-head that holds the mainboard in place, as shown in the video below.
How does Galaxy Z Flip compare to its main competition on the front of the repair front?
The difference between taking the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and the phone's biggest competitor, the Motorola RAZR, apart to perform a repair is stark. That's primarily down to how the internal components are laid out.
While both devices utilize a split-battery design and have two covers to heat up for removal, RAZR is a far less repairable handset. That's because that device, as shown in another recent teardown from PBKreviews, requires a lot more work. Motorola's handset is, by comparison, a hodgepodge of alternating steps that require adhesive removal, fastener loosening, and cable disconnections.
The Motorola RAZR also lays out cable connectors in a way that keeps them hidden, making them easy to accidentally miss or damage. Worse, those cables don't all utilize the same connectors on the ends.
By contrast, Samsung has used Lego-style connectors at every possible opportunity, as noted above. There are really only 12 fasteners to remove as well in the Korean tech giant's Galaxy Z Flip. The company placed those in a way that sees them removed all in a single step.
The screen here is the main caveat to repairability
Since nearly every component of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is exposed in just a few short steps, and nearly every component is either on a board or linked up by Lego-connector, this phone should be very easy to repair. Even the battery comes out with just a little prying. The sole caveat to that is its screen and that's really not a good thing. That screen has been shown to be somewhat less than durable in other tests.
To get the display panel out, the teardown needs to be completed first. That's a requirement since users will need to disconnect the cables from the display to the board. Then the plastic border surrounding the screen needs to be pried off at the front side. After that, the screen itself is also pried off.
The cables running through the mid-frame are found on the bottom portion and some care is needed there. And heat is required on an as-needed basis. The screen is slid down and out of the frame. It will need to be slid back up and then the cable slipped back through. Coupled with the fact that users need to pull apart the back of the phone first, that means the screen will be more difficult to repair than the rest of the handset.