Samsung put a hard line down between the Galaxy S21 Ultra and the Galaxy S21 and its larger S21+ sibling. That’s true not just for the features but even for the materials used, especially for the backplate. That potentially makes repairs or replacement easier and, as PBK Reviews found out, that was really just the beginning for a mostly uneventful first teardown of the based Galaxy S21 5G model.
Smartphones these days, especially the high-end expensive ones, have been designed to thwart attempts to have them opened up by unauthorized hands. Usually, that’s justified as a measure to protect the integrity of the phone but is really meant more to protect the company’s intellectual properties and legal liabilities. That, of course, makes it more expensive and more difficult to get these phones repaired but it seems that the Galaxy S21 5G has a few points going in its favor.
Compared to a rigid and breakable back, the polycarbonate rear of the phone makes it relatively risk-free to pry it off with a bit of head and persuasion. There are tons of screws and connectors holding components down but those are far easier and safer to remove than adhesive. Most of the components are modular so they can be easily replaced.
Things aren’t perfect, of course, and there are parts that can’t be easily replaced. The battery still doesn’t have pull tabs but can still be removed successfully with great care. More importantly, however, the front-facing camera is glued in place, making it one of the few components that aren’t easily replaceable.
All in all, the first teardown of the Galaxy S21 5G proves to be fortunately uneventful. That’s also partly thanks to an almost identical design to the Galaxy S20 5G, with a few new additions, like foam balls for the top speaker and detachable display cables. The YouTuber gives it a relatively high score but we’ll have to see if iFixit has a similar positive experience and more secrets to discover.