Galaxy Fold, Apple’s U1 Chip, and Making Louvers — Repair Radio Episode 15

On this episode of Repair Radio, we talk about Apple’s new ultra wideband chip, drool over Microsoft’s new Surface laptops and tablets, and discuss our Galaxy Fold teardown (and answer listener questions about it).

How to Listen

Hosts: Craig Lloyd, Kevin Purdy, and Whitson Gordon
Special Guest: Taylor Dixon
Music: Gypsy (@ArchaicsHipHop)

News Topics

  • Microsoft Announces a Repairable Surface Laptop, and Boy Are We Excited: Microsoft has announced its most revolutionary laptop yet: a Surface that doesn’t require a service contract to use.
  • Confirmed: Apple Developed Exclusive Tech for the U1 Ultra Wideband Radio: Since the iPhone 11 announcement, theories have abounded that Apple’s new U1 wireless chip is actually a Decawave Ultra Wideband DW1000. But a teardown of both Decawave and Apple’s U1 chip by TechInsights confirms that Apple developed their own technology. But what is the U1 chip, and what capabilities does it give Apple?
  • Samsung Galaxy Fold Teardown: After Samsung tried to make our initial teardown disappear from the internet five months ago, we’re back with a teardown of the final, really-for-real this time retail Galaxy Fold. This model incorporates Samsung’s late-breaking hardware revisions for improved durability—but is it enough, or is the design fatally flawed? Join us for Galaxy Fold Teardown, Part Two: The Re-Unfoldening.

Listener Questions

Since Taylor joined us to talk about our Galaxy Fold teardown, we decided it would be a good time to answer some questions specifically about the device.

Super_mat2019 asked: “How could they make it waterproof?”

Samsung would have to use a lot of adhesive and glue to shut pretty much every crevice, and there are a lot of crevices on the Galaxy Fold. It would be tough to make it completely water-resistant.

Koffy_boachie asked: “Would you separate where it folds”?

We haven’t separated the hinge yet and we had not made plans to, but that sounds like a good idea!

Zaksltan asked: “Can the entire display fold or just the middle?”

The entire display can theoretically fold any way you could fold a piece of paper, but the display in the Galaxy Fold is lined with pieces of metal, so it’s only designed to fold along the hinge.

Keroro_hanabi asked: “After disassembly, do you feel they made the phone for long-term use or short-term use.”

It’s tough to say right now, but the Fold is just really fragile. We’re not optimistic about it being a long-term device.

Quantum.snow asked: “Does yours still work after the teardown?”

Our unit is still disassembled on the teardown table. We tend to leave devices torn down for a little while because we tend to come back to them to answer any lingering questions that have come up.

Caprianmihai asked: “Is it possible to get dust out of the hinge?”

It’s possible, but very difficult. Once dust gets inside, it’s really hard to get it out. There’s really nowhere for the dust to go (except maybe into the display), even if you try to blow it out with compressed air.

Lucas0485839 asked: “What is inside the notch?”

Just your typical front-facing camera and an ambient light sensor!

Al_melix asked: “How much would it cost to replace the broken glass?”

The outside glass panels wouldn’t be terribly expensive. And the inside display is actually plastic, but folding OLED technology is still really complicated, so replacing a broken folding screen would be really expensive.

Have a Question You Want Answered on Repair Radio?

You can email your repair questions to repairradio@ifixit.com, or tag us on Twitter and include the hashtag #RepairRadio in your tweet. Your question can be anything repair-related, whether it’s how to fix something, tools you should buy, maintenance advice, or anything in between. We’ll pick some of our favorite questions and answer them on the podcast! And if you have general feedback about the podcast, we’d love to hear that as well!

Other Links Mentioned