Samsung Inches Toward Repairability with the Galaxy S23 Ultra

Employees at iFixit struggling to remove the battery from a Galaxy S23 Ultra.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is an iterative upgrade over its predecessor, offering only a handful of notable improvements to hardware or software. Still, it’s one of the best phones of 2023, and a new iFixit teardown reveals that it’s ever-so-slightly more repairable than previous Galaxy smartphones.

I’ll cut to the chase—Samsung installed battery pull tabs on all models of the Galaxy S23. The company clearly wants to improve the battery replacement process in these new phones, which is a step in the right direction. That said, Samsung didn’t do a great job installing these pull tabs. It seems that the company’s glue is a bit too strong.

The gang at iFixit had a lot of trouble removing the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s battery, even with the pull tab. So, while this is a definite step toward repairability, replacing a Galaxy S23-series battery still requires a bit more elbow grease than it should.

Aside from the battery, the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s internals look identical to that of last year’s model. Our hope is that Samsung introduces more exciting changes in 2024, including a design that’s geared toward repairability. The pull tab is a decent start, but easily-replaceable screens should be a priority for the company.

Well, maybe Samsung doesn’t want easily-replaceable screens. As iFixit notes, Samsung is lobbying to prevent third-party OLED smartphone displays from entering the United States. This would reduce customers’ ability to repair their own smartphone, whether it’s a Samsung phone or one from another brand.

This is an awkward situation. Maybe Samsung should take a clear stance here—the company sells official replacement parts through iFixit, it’s adding battery pull tabs to its phones, yet it’s taking a major economic stance against third-party parts suppliers. Confusing!


Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Cell Phone + $100 Amazon Gift Card

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra features a 200MP camera, plus a built-in S Pen and a gorgeous OLED display. It’s the total package!

Source: iFixit