While it does look significantly different from the outside, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is, to some extent, an incremental upgrade compared to its predecessor. Almost all the internal components have been upgraded, as one would naturally expect, with only a few notable standouts. One of those is, of course, the display panel that’s now compatible with an S Pen stylus. The other noteworthy upgrade is the fingerprint scanner, something you won’t see unless you tear down the phone first.
As we’ve already seen, opening up the Galaxy S21 Ultra can be quite a chore though not exactly impossible. JerryRigEverything’s Zack Nelson notes that the odd contoured shape of the camera actually helped in making the process a bit easier. Everything else is held down by screws, except for two important parts.
The battery is unsurprisingly glued down strongly without any pull tabs to help yank it away. Careful application of heat and isopropyl alcohol does the trick but not without great difficulty. Unfortunately, that means replacing that component will be risky and expensive.
Underneath the battery lies the next-gen ultrasonic fingerprint scanner that is touted to be faster and more accurate than the criticized version last year. The YouTuber already proved that deep scratches over it aren’t enough to throw it off. Hopefully, neither will screen protectors.
All in all, the Galaxy S21 Ultra teardown was a pretty uneventful affair, but that isn’t exactly a good thing. On the one hand, it does mean that very few things have changed compared to the Galaxy S20 Ultra last year in terms of repairability. On the other hand, that does mean Samsung’s flagship still isn’t that repairable in the final analysis.