Samsung just released the Galaxy S21 last week, and now, the first teardown video is already available for you to gaze at. It comes courtesy of YouTube channel PBKreviews and features a complete disassembly and reassembly of the regular S21, complete with the first repairability assessment. Spoiler alert: It looks like many parts could be pretty easily replaceable, except for the battery.
In contrast to its predecessor, the Galaxy S21 has a plastic back that divides fans — some love it while others hate it. But there's no denying that it makes the phone easier to open. The presenter was able to remove the backplate with a simple pry tool. Underneath it, a graphite plate with the wireless charging coil and 22 screws are the only things left between full access to the S21's guts that look pretty similar to the S20's. After prying off the graphite plate, you'll see two mmWave 5G antennas, which should help quite a bit with reception — the S20 only has one. The teardown also reveals that the S21 switched to graphite for cooling the processor like many other recent phones.
All of the parts are pretty easily removed, which is refreshing to see. It's just unfortunate that Samsung used a lot of adhesive on the battery and the screen, two components that are pretty prone to failure. But with some heat, a lot of patience, and a prone tool, it's possible to remove and replace these two. PBKreviews concludes the video by giving the S21 a repairability score of 7.5 out of 10. While you can't compare this result with iFixit's standardized and rigorously developed score, I want to be hopeful that Samsung improved repairability with the S21. But we'll have to wait until we know if it gets a better score than its predecessors that couldn't go higher than 3 out of 10.