Having a plastic back panel could be an advantage, based on a recent teardown of the standard variant of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20. The teardown, performed by PBKreviews, reveals that the smaller of the two new Note devices will be easiest to repair.
So, there may actually be a positive tradeoff for making such a controversial design decision.
What's that about the advantages of the cheap plastic backing?
The advantage of a plastic backing for the Standard Galaxy Note 20 became immediately apparent at the very start of the teardown. After utilizing a heat gun — or hair dryer — to loosen the glue on the panel, that peeled away easily.
Additionally, that's made all the easier by the fact that there are no wires or connectors between the frame and the panel. As is sometimes the case.
With traditional glass back covers, conversely, there's a substantial risk of cracking the panel. Or shattering it outright. As shown by the presenter in PBKreviews' video, the panel here is incredibly flexible. It twists up and returns to form with what appears to be almost no effort at all.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 will probably be among the easiest phones to repair
From there, it doesn't appear to get any more difficult to teardown the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 either. Samsung does place a secondary mic on the interior of the back panel. But it didn't connect that via wires.
It didn't leave a lot of difficult connectors under the metal plate on the back either. Or, at least it didn't beyond the 17 Phillips-head screws that need to be removed.
After that backplate and wireless charging pad are unscrewed, those can be peeled back to reveal what appears to be lego-style connectors. Disconnecting those allows the whole pad to come off from the frame, revealing easy access to the remaining components.
Only five Phillips screws remain and around six more cables, all clearly visible and easily distinguishable — or eight connectors, including the cameras on the mainboard.
The primary exception here is the battery. Samsung didn't use easy-pull tabs and there's very little room inside. Combined with a strong adhesive, it's going to take some work to pry the battery loose. Even the screen is only held in place by adhesive.
So, once its cables have been disconnected, it's a matter of simply heating up, prying, applying the new screen, and reattaching cables.