The Galaxy S21 got a thumbs-up in repairability with a recent teardown video. Will the S21 Ultra get similar or better marks? We’ve got another video from PBKreviews, the same channel that looked into the slab’s smaller cohort, and the short answer is yes.
Unlike the S21 with its snap-on plastic rear cover, the Ultra runs with glass and adhesive. It’s not as easy to remove, but a heat gun and pry tool are typical fare with disassembly. Also unlike the S21 as torn down by PBK, this Ultra is running with the Exynos 2100 chipset and, thus, no millimeter wave antennae. 14 screws secure the cover panel — housing a graphite plate with the wireless charging coil — that sits between the glass and the rest of the innards.
Most of the other components are easy snap-on, snap-off affairs. The biggest challenges remain with two of the top assets to any smartphone: the battery and the display. The battery is held in place by adhesive — save the heat gun and use isopropyl alcohol instead — while the display unit comes with a cable that can’t be detached from the panel. That means a repair shop would have to take out the bottom speaker assembly before warming the adhesive around the chassis frame to remove a damaged display and affixing a new one.
Scaling up in size has always increased the challenges of stack design in modern electronics as well as their repair and it’s no different in the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s case as PBK gave it a repair score of 6 out of 10, losing to the S21 by 1.5 points.
Do us a favor and get a case for that chunk, okay?