Samsung Galaxy Note 9 surprises

As expected, a teardown of Samsung's new Galaxy Note 9 revealed some interesting design choices in the build of both the handset itself and the S Pen.

While the sale pitches all focus on what's on the outside when it comes to modern smartphones, I think that we only really get to see what makes the device tick when we see the results of a teardown. And, as usual, the folks at iFixit got their hands on the new Note 9 and carried out a thorough teardown of it for out entertainment and enlightenment.

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​Samsung Galaxy Note 9 disassembled

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 disassembled

(Image: iFixit)

So, what interesting things did the teardown reveal?

The first thing of note -- pun fully intended -- is the absolutely enormous battery that Samsung has fitted inside the shell of the Note 9. It's literally exploded in size -- yes, that pun was also deliberate -- and it's amazing how the increase in size has had no noticeable impact on the overall size of the device.

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The battery in the Note 9 is fully 21 percent bigger than the battery found in the Note 8 and 14 percent bigger than the battery inside the ill-fated Note 7.

​Samsung Galaxy Note 9 battery

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 battery

(Image: iFixit)

On a less positive note, the battery is very rigidly glued into the Note 9, making replacing it annoying and needlessly awkward.

Another point worth noting is that aside from Samsung, which supplied the RAM and storage for the Note 9, the biggest winner on the mainboard is Qualcomm, supplying the audio chip, the RF transceiver, and two power management chips. The Bluetooth module is a Murata part, while the digitizer and S Pen controller is a Wacom supplied chip.

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Separate to the mainboard is a module USB-C board, which also has the microphone attached. This is good news if you damage that port because it doesn't involve paying for an entire mainboard.

The S Pen also contains a surprise. Rather than drawing its power from a battery, it uses a Seiko Instruments supercapacitor as a power supply to handle the Bluetooth communication.

​Disassembled S Pen

Disassembled S Pen

(Image: iFixit)

Predictably, the Note 9 doesn't score highly when it comes to repairability. Replacing the battery is painful, swapping out a broken display is a world of hurt that involves tearing the device to pieces, and replacing the rear glass panel looks like a job that would have me hating life.