We Tore Down Samsung’s Galaxy S8—Here’s What We Think About It

Samsung’s first flagship since the flaming disaster of the Note7 sports an essentially unchanged design. Aside from adding an iPhone-killer buttonless and bezel-free display, not much has changed for the Galaxy flagship family. And that includes the infamous battery. After losing billions on the Note7 recall, we thought that Samsung might opt for a dramatically different design. They didn’t:

  1. The Samsung Galaxy S8+ battery voltage, capacity, and design tolerances are virtually identical to the Note7. Our unit’s battery even came from the same manufacturer as some Note7 batteries.
  2. Samsung is clearly confident that their battery issue was a manufacturing quality assurance one, and the S8 series’ glued-in battery is proof that they have faith in their 8-point plan. The design surrounding the battery—its installed position, spacing, and reinforcement—is very, very similar to the Note7.
  3. The battery is still buried deep in the phone, difficult to remove, and firmly glued down. Of course, gluing the battery down didn’t make the Note7 explode—a manufacturing error did. But gluing batteries down does render them a whole lot harder to replace, making any potential mistake a lot more permanent (and expensive).
Samsung Galaxy S8+ teardown
Samsung Galaxy S8+ Teardown. Click image to see the full teardown.
Samsung Galaxy S8 teardown
Galaxy S8 Teardown. Click image to see full teardown.

Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ teardown highlights:

  • The S8+ features a 13.48 Wh (3500 mAh at 3.85 V) battery—the exact same capacity as the Note7, and a little less than the S7 Edge’s 13.86 Wh. The S8 battery clocks in at 11.55 Wh—comparable to the Google Pixel’s 10.66 Wh, but dwarfing the (slightly smaller) iPhone 7’s 7.45 Wh battery.
  • Leaving the display button-free, the S8 series fingerprint sensor lives in the rear case, somewhat controversially placed. Using the thing (with your right hand) requires blindly stretching and blotting out the camera.
  • The NFC antenna should also perform Samsung Pay functions, duplicating MST—presumably using the coil as an electromagnet to act as a credit card stripe would on a card reader.
  • Both the S8 and the S8+ earned the same 4/10 on our repairability scale as the now defunct Note7, losing points for a front and rear glass design, liberal use of adhesive, and a curved, difficult-to-repair display.

This is just our recap of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ teardowns. Check out the full teardowns here (S8) and here (S8+).