Galaxy S21+ 5G teardown reveals a true middle child

JC Torres - Jan 25, 2021, 7:19pm CST
Galaxy S21+ 5G teardown reveals a true middle child

We’re still waiting for iFixit to do its usual in-depth investigation into the innards of Samsung’s early 2021 racehorses but, in the meantime, we’re getting a preview of what it will take to repair them. Following PBK Review’s teardown of the Galaxy S21 and the Galaxy S21 Ultra, we’re now being treated to the same process for the “in-between” model. And for better or worse, the Galaxy S21+ definitely mixes its siblings’ features, making it only slightly easier to repair than the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

On the positive side, the plastic back of the Galaxy S21+ is easier and less dangerous to pry off compared to the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s glass rear. Like in the other two models, mostly everything is modular, making them easy to replace, at least once they have been removed. Fortunately, the Galaxy S21+ inherits the Galaxy S21’s display flex cable which isn’t soldered down to the daughterboard.

Unfortunately, the phone takes after the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s strongly-glued battery, making it more difficult and riskier to remove. The volume button flex cable similarly adheres to the display, making it impossible to replace without having to separate the screen from the midframe.

The Galaxy S21+ does have its own fair share of quirks, like an extra mic that passes the audio from the back around. It also lacks the Styrofoam balls for the top speakers, something that the smaller and cheaper model utilizes to amplify sound. There are also no mmWave 5G antennas here, though that will mostly depend on the particular model.

All in all, the Galaxy S21+ is still pretty difficult to repair, especially for the most essential parts that are more likely to break or wear off over time. Fortunately, repair technicians have also gotten more adept at these processes though, from time to time, manufacturers do throw them a wrench, like these volume button cables.

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