HOW IT’S DONE
Samsung’s latest flagship is as tricky as ever to deconstruct.
Samsung Galaxy S9+
While phone makers and operating system developers of dubious numeracy skip straight from eight to ten, Samsung stays strong and gives us the Samsung Galaxy S9+ (sans notch, even). Only a teardown will tell if this phone is a true contender, or just a weird AR Emoji machine.
MAJOR TECH SPECS:
Notchless 6.2-inch AMOLED display with resolution of 2,960 x 1,440 ≠ (570 ppi) Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 or Samsung’s Exynos 9810, depending on location 12MP OIS dual-aperture main cam — f/1.5 and f/2.4 modes — plus a 12MP 2x optical zoom secondary camera, and 8MP selfie cam Headphone jack and microSD slot IP68 water/dust-proofing rating Android 8.0 Oreo
While it’s no S4, the S9 is a welcome respite from our more recent destructive teardowns. The standard application of heat and opening pick helps us along, but it’s definitely no picnic! Thanks to prior experience — no thanks to Samsung — we are able to safely dispatch the sensor assembly cable with no casualties. We head straight to the rear camera to get a look at the fancy new dual-aperture camera in action. The camera auto-adjusts the aperture to adjust for low light (at f/1.5, it’s got the widest aperture of any phone), while maintaining a more standard (and sharper) f/2.4 for normal photos. What do you need to remove a glueddown battery from a Galaxy phone? Option one: lots of heat, a pry tool, ≠ a fire extinguisher, a bucket of san, and nerves of vibranium. Option two: a syringe loaded with a little iFixit Adhesive Remover. We opt for the latter, and splash a bit of the blue stuff into the little tub that cradles the battery. A few minutes later, ≠ we have our prize. It’s a hotbed of teardown activity as we attempt to unseat the display — ≠ but this glue is trying our patience, and we abandon our pile of iOpeners in favour of a heat gun once again. ≠ As before, the heat and opening pick can do the job, but it’s a marathon slog to get here if you’re replacing ≠ a broken screen. The Samsung-made display cable, like the cameras, ≠ is labeled “Star” and combines ≠ both display and digitiser in one sealed unit. Repairability Score: 4 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair). Many components are modular and can be replaced independently. The battery replacement is technically possible, but accessing it is an unnecessary challenge. Glued-down glass both front and back means greater risk ≠ of breakage, and makes repairs difficult to start. Screen repairs require a lot of disassembly while battling tough adhesive.
Nothing quite beats getting rid of those unnecessary cables and charging your phone wirelessly.
Samsung (thankfully) still holds on to the headphone jack for the time being.