Galaxy Z Flip teardown puts a spotlight on ‘glasstic’ display, poor repairability, and a major flaw

Technically made available shortly after its formal announcement last week, Samsung’s second foldable smartphone is incredibly hard to come by for everyday consumers. Somehow, that doesn’t seem to be true as far as various YouTubers and teardown experts are concerned, although for what it’s worth, the folks over at iFixit start off their customary inspection of the Galaxy Z Flip by highlighting how they “barely managed to get ahold” of a unit they could then completely destroy for instructional purposes.

We don’t expect anyone out in the real world to be crazy eccentric enough to buy all three foldable devices, let alone take them apart, so we absolutely cannot stress enough how important it is to not try to repair the Z Flip at home even if you’re generally good at that sort of thing when it comes to conventional phones.

The Galaxy Z Flip is ever so slightly easier to repair than the Razr

After naming the reborn Razr the “most complicated phone-based contraption we’ve ever taken apart”, which is obviously not a good thing, iFixit’s experts gave the Galaxy Z Flip an overall repairability score of 2 out of 10. That’s actually tied with the Galaxy Fold’s result, meaning it’s going to be slightly less nightmarish to tear this bad boy down and put it together in one piece than it is for Motorola Razr owners.

In other words, it’s not outright impossible to replace the battery or fix the screen in the case of catastrophic damage, but there’s a lot of stubborn glue and a bunch of “poorly-routed” cables making both procedures unnecessarily hard. On the bright side, “many components” are indeed modular, easily accessible, and easily replaceable, while a single Phillips driver can take care of all of the phone’s screws. 

Unfortunately, once you remove said screws, you’ll probably find yourself fighting a losing battle against glue. Bottom line, just consult a professional if you end up damaging this futuristic device in any way.

The glasstic display is “meh” and dust remains a major concern

The controversy over Samsung’s “physics-bending” Ultra Thin Glass technology has largely been settled, but in case you were curious about iFixit’s evaluation of this major breakthrough, the word “meh” probably sums up perfectly how you should view the Galaxy Z Flip screen. This does have a crazy thin layer of flexible glass applied on top of it, on top of which Samsung also put a plastic protector of sorts.

That’s obviously not your run-of-the-mill plastic screen protector and it should not be removed under any circumstances, even though it’s dishearteningly easy to scratch. The glass itself doesn’t seem particularly durable, but it certainly makes the Z Flip feel more premium than the Galaxy Fold and it’s only the first small step towards a future where foldable devices will eventually be as strong and scratch-resistant as conventional phones.
Speaking of the Galaxy Fold, it looks as though one of its key weaknesses has been inherited by the Z Flip despite some of Samsung’s pompous marketing claims. The company may have incorporated an innovative “sweeper technology” into the cool new hinge of its first foldable flip phone, but these much-lauded brushes don’t appear to be doing a very good job of repelling dust and dirt.

Unlike the Galaxy Fold, which was initially prone to letting small particles of debris make its way underneath the display, the Galaxy Z Flip seems to have trouble keeping dust away from its internal components. While everyday users are unlikely to expose the hot new phone to the avalanche of (purple) powder employed by iFixit to perform a quick dust test, it’s pretty obvious Samsung exaggerated the power and efficiency of its sweeper tech.

Interestingly, while the Z Flip may not be as good at holding off dust as Samsung suggested, the company did take some measures to protect the foldable phone against water damage that are not advertised in any way. Still, at the end of the day, you should definitely try to stay away from both water and dust as much as humanly possible. Even better, you might want to keep your $1,380 and wait until foldable mobile devices manage to overcome their early shortcomings and flaws.


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