The Galaxy S11 might be very difficult to repair, judging by recent reports indicating that Samsung has secured China’s Weldbond as its new supplier for adhesives. The report passed along by The Elec claims that Samsung is going to move away from double-sided adhesive tape for its next flagship, and seal the Galaxy S11 using glue.
Samsung will reportedly stop using double-sided adhesive tape supplied by local companies NDFOS and ANYONE Inc. and will acquire glue from Weldbond as well as US-based H.B. Fuller instead.
The pros and cons of abandoning adhesive tape
Modern smartphones have become more difficult to repair in the quest to minimize bezels, and the Galaxy S10 is a prime example of a device that you would not want to disassemble. However, the Galaxy S11 might be even worse, as it could make extensive use of glue instead of adhesive tape.
This manufacturing method is less costly and allows for even thinner bezels, which is something Samsung seems to be aiming for with the Galaxy S11 series. On the other hand, it’s more difficult to waterproof a smartphone using glue to seal the back panel. This is true not only for Samsung but for DIY customers as well.
The company’s more recent flagships have received a sub-mediocre score for repairability from iFixit, with the Galaxy S10 getting a 3 out of 10, and if the recent report is true then the Galaxy S11 could receive an even lower rating than that.
That is, of course, assuming that the Galaxy S11 will be built this way. There’s no strong evidence to support this aside from Samsung acquiring a new adhesive supplier, and we probably won’t know with certainty until the first disassembly videos go live.