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Circuit Breaker

Galaxy S10 teardowns show off the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor and hole-punch screen

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Pro tip: don’t break the screen

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The Galaxy S10 is about to hit stores, which means that it’s time for the long-standing tradition of the teardown. iFixit stripped Samsung’s latest phone down to pieces to figure out what makes it tick.

iFixit has teardowns of all three of Samsung’s new phones: the S10 and the S10e in its usual photo format and a video disassembly of the S10 Plus that really gives you an idea of just how tough it is to break apart. Interestingly, once you get past all the prying and gluing, the S10 is pretty modular. The front and rear cameras, the headphone jack, and even the motherboard pop out pretty easily.

Photo: iFixit

One holdout is the new ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. As iFixit’s teardown shows, the sensor is fused into the display itself, meaning that if something goes wrong with the sensor, you’ll have to replace the entire screen (which is not exactly easy to do).

JerryRigEverything’s video also shows that the fingerprint sensor is essentially part of the display: it’ll still work if the screen gets scratched up, but if the glass actually cracks by the sensor, it seems that the sensor will stop working as well. The teardowns also give a good idea about how the hole-punch cameras work. Samsung has literally carved a hole through almost the entire phone from the front display through the midframe and the motherboard where the camera to pokes through, which is just plain cool to see.

Overall, iFixit rates the S10 at a three out for 10 for ease of repair, noting that it’s really tough to get into the phone and that replacing the screen (one of the most common repairs you’ll need) requires near-total disassembly of the phone. Good thing it comes with a screen protector.