Mo’ features, mo’ problems. We’ve got a double Samsung Galaxy teardown for you, and while the package may look different, we found many familiar foibles in these non-folding phones.

The new Galaxies deliver on iterative specs and standout new technology: in-screen fingerprint reading and reverse wireless charging. But the phone’s foundation isn’t holding up well to these new-fangled ideas. That fancy fingerprint sensor is baked into the screen, making one of the most common repairs a pricey nightmare. The ability to charge other devices generates a ton of heat, requiring an impressive heat-absorption redesign and degrading the still-glued-in battery. It’s a shame to see so much innovation go into hardware that, in the end, is still treated as disposable. Someday a more radical redesign may grace our teardown table, but for now we’d settle for some pull tabs on these short-lived batteries.

Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10e Teardown Highlights:

  • The ultrasonic fingerprint sensor in the S10 and S10+ is pretty much fused to the display. So if that breaks, you’ll be replacing the entire screen with it. And while the S10e still uses old-school capacitive fingerprint tech in the power button, it too requires risking the display to replace.
  • Due to a motherboard-mounted USB-C port, a lot of breakable glass, and a stubbornly-glued battery, Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and S10e each earn a 3 out of 10 on our repairability scale.
  • But wait—we also tore down the S10+! Our X-ray survey was obscured by its dense ceramic backplate, so we had to tear it down to figure out what was going on in there.

Samantha Lionheart is a content curator and guide photo guru at iFixit. She enjoys tea, cats, and thinking too much about movies.

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