Samsung Electronics America just announced that Galaxy devices owners will now be able to take product repair into their own hands. Samsung is following Apple’s footsteps, and it will allow customers to purchase genuine device parts, repair tools, and step-by-step repair guides to fix their devices. This is a massive win for consumers and the planet.
Samsung today announced that starting with the Samsung Galaxy S20, Galaxy S21 series, and the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus, customers will be able to service their own devices in the comfort of their homes. Users will be able to purchase genuine repair parts, repair tools, and intuitive, visual, step-by-step repair guides. Many individuals and iFixit campaigned for the right to repair bills in the past. If you’ve been following iFixit for some time, you won’t be surprised to find out that Samsung is collaborating with iFixit to provide easily understandable repair guides and tutorials.
“We are excited to be consulting with Samsung to help them develop a solution for DIY parts and repair information,” said Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit. “Every time you fix a device, you’re helping the planet.”
Samsung says that Galaxy device owners will be able to replace display assemblies, back glass, and charging ports. Users will also be able to return used parts to Samsung, which will ensure that it’s responsibly recycled. The company also mentioned that more devices would be added to the self-repair program in the devices, hopefully including the more recent tablets, smartphones, and laptops.
The press release then mentioned that it has a “vast network of same-day service, covering 80% of the United States population.” The company has over 2,000 repair locations, and it has over 550 “We come to you vans” that offer in-person repair service within a 30-60 minute drive. The company ships empty boxes to customers to package their devices and schedule a home-pick-up for free via Samsung’s Mail-In service, which offers more convenience for customers.
This is a big step in the right direction, but if Samsung really wants to help consumers, it needs to provide more components to a much wider range of devices, including the M and A-series of devices, the more affordable Galaxy tablet range, and laptops. As someone who repaired a few devices in the past and follows repair guides for recently announced devices, it’s understandable why the company might not offer battery replacements. Samsung makes it incredibly difficult for the average person to remove batteries due to the strong adhesive to secure the batteries in place. It doesn’t even offer pull tabs that make it somewhat easier to replace these consumable components.
Credit is due where it’s deserved, and it’s great to see Samsung take more consumer-friendly steps to make components easily user-replaceable, but components such as speakers, camera modules, vibrator motors can break for one reason or another, and it needs to be replaceable. We would also love to see a service – like the one Apple offers – that allows users to ship back broken and used components in exchange for a discount, even if it’s a small amount. It gives customers an incentive to not chuck parts in the bin, which is often challenging for recyclers to separate. The fact that Samsung decided to do all of this for free isn’t a bad thing, since it pledges to responsibly recycle components, which will eventually, hopefully, end up in new devices.
Samsung currently offers four different ways for customers to repair their different Samsung devices, including:
- Doorstep repair: A technician visits you with a repair van that comes packaged with all of the necessary components to conclude the repair on-site, near your home or workplace.
- Pick up repair: A courier picks up the broken device and takes it back to complete the repair. Once the repair is complete, the device is returned to the customer.
- In-Store repair: Customers can book a slot to drop off their devices at a product store with a Samsung expert.
- In-Home repair: A Samsung authorized engineer visits the user at their home and repairs the device.
It’s worth noting that while Samsung does provide a wide range of repair services that fit everyone’s needs, not all of these are available to all devices. For example, the “In-Home” repair is only available for TVs and home appliances, which is understandable since a washing machine is hard to move around and ship to a repair service. In contrast, a smartphone or tablet weighs less than 1kg, and it's far cheaper and easier to ship across the country.
While the new self-repair service introduced by Samsung is not perfect by any means, we can only hope that more manufacturers are taking note and will closely follow suit by offering more components, tools, and step-by-step guides for their devices. Users must have a choice and be aware of the benefits of repairing their own devices, and having the option to get products repaired by authorized people and technicians.