If you make a habit of following iFixit’s phone teardowns, then you know that things are often pretty dire for the do-it-yourselfers of the world. As time goes on, it seems like smartphones are getting more and more difficult for end users to repair, with recent phones like the Galaxy S10 and the Pixel 3 XL netting repairability scores of 3/10 and 4/10, respectively. There are some exceptions to the rule, of course, but for the most part, it seems that smartphones are heading in the wrong direction in terms of end user repairability.
That’s a trend that seems to have spread to our mobile accessories as well. When Apple AirPods first landed back in 2016, iFixit gave them a dismal repairability score of 0/10 because you can’t access the hardware inside without completely destroying the casing. With things not looking too good in the realm of wireless earbud repair, imagine our surprise when iFixit’s Galaxy Buds teardown landed today and actually had some encouraging things to say.
iFixit ended up giving the Galaxy Buds a repairability score of 6/10, and while that isn’t perfect, it’s certainly a much better score than the AirPods managed to secure. iFixit happily notes that Galaxy Buds aren’t meant to be disposable like AirPods, as the coin cell batteries in the Galaxy Buds are actually replaceable. Even better is the fact that the Galaxy Buds are held together by clips and a small amount of adhesive, which makes opening them an easier process.
Obviously, winning a score of 6/10 means that there’s still plenty that can be improved upon. Some common complaints rear their ugly heads once more, with components that are secured using glue and cables that are soldered to the motherboard in the Galaxy Buds charging case making repair more difficult than it should ideally be.
iFixit says that even though Samsung could have done better in crafting repair-friendly wireless earbuds, this is still a big step forward for the space. We’ll cross our fingers that wireless earbud manufacturers choose to follow Samsung’s lead instead of Apple’s, but in the meantime, you can see iFixit’s full teardown in the video above.