Samsung has taken its first tentative steps towards giving users the option to repair their devices themselves. These new repair kits are only available for select models, and new parts can still cost quite a bit.
On Tuesday, the company shared its new repair kits with genuine parts in partnership with iFixit. The new kits also come with guides and tools, but parts so far are limited to screens, charging ports, and rear glass. Charging ports are $67 ($93) overall, while screens are around $230 ($319), but probably more depending on the phone model. The back glass on each phone ranges from $70 ($97) to $90 ($125).
The full list of compatible phones includes:
- Galaxy S21
- Galaxy S21+
- Galaxy S21 Ultra
- Galaxy S20
- Galaxy S20+
- Galaxy S20 Ultra
- S7+ tab
Of course, this is still a fraction of the cost of a new phone (a new S21 is $530 ($736) with trade-in, or $850 ($1,180) normally), so considering the detailed instructions provided by the folks at iFixIt is definitely a consideration. Repair kits include a return label for sending broken parts back to the company, which says they will be recycled.
Samsung announced in March that it was finally jumping on the auto-repair bandwagon, apparently only seeing the light of day when Apple announced last year that it would allow users to repair some of its iPhones. Samsung has long been chided by the folks at iFixit for its rather sloppy standards on devices like the first Galaxy Folds, so it’s encouraging to see the two come together. The new program is currently limited to the US and of course this new set of repair kits does not include the latest models like Galaxy S22, Tab8, Galaxy Note or Galaxy Z Flip/Fold series.
Apple released its iPhone repair kits in April for iPhone 12, iPhone 13, and third-generation iPhone SE devices. For whatever reason, the company decided to provide rental tool kits at almost $50 ($69) for a week of use. At the same time, it offers significantly more parts and tools for its select product lines, including cameras and sim trays. Their service is priced similarly to Samsung’s, though the iPhone manufacturer’s repair kits may cost a bit less in the end thanks to return credits. Other than the free shipping receipt, Samsung does not offer any credit for its return and recycling services.
At the same time, iFixit has criticized Apple’s self-repair program for making it difficult to stock replacement parts, which doesn’t affect individual users but hurts mom and pop repair shops.
Although Samsung’s repair options are relatively straightforward compared to Apple’s offerings, the fact that they’re so limited in the parts you can replace is a big sticking point, even with promises of more to come. This is a good first step, but as long as users and government agencies have been demanding the right to self-repair, Samsung’s efforts seem lackluster.
Other major tech companies are also anticipating the launch of their own auto repair services. Google said in April that it would have parts for the Pixel 2 through Pixel 6 Pro available later this year, and the company promises to have repair options for the UK, Canada, and Europe, as well as the US, at about the same time. At the time, Microsoft published a study showing the benefits of automatic repair and promised that it would work towards that end. However, it has not made any public statement about the timing of the launch of its own auto repair service.