It took nearly half a year, but Samsung's self-repair program is finally available. The iFixit team-up helps you fix your Galaxy S20, Galaxy S21 or Galaxy Tab S7+ by purchasing officially sanctioned components and tools, complete with guides to walk you through the repair process. The initial selection is limited to screen and batteries, charging ports and back glass, with prices ranging between $67 (for a charging port on any model) to $227 (for a Tab S7+ display).
The kits include a free return label to help you ship the broken parts to Samsung for recycling. The self-repair program is limited to the US at present, but the companies expect to support more countries, devices and part repairs over time.
Samsung's launch comes a few months after Apple's. It's at once better and worse. While Apple doesn't yet offer self-repair kits beyond smartphones, it covers a wider array of components (such as cameras and SIM trays), and is more granular (you can even order screws by themselves). However, Samsung also doesn't require that you rent or buy a separate toolkit, and doesn't require a phone call to complete the repair process. Buy a part and you'll have everything you need, in other words.
The self-repair option doesn't currently cover the Galaxy S22 or Tab S8 families, and Samsung is keen to point its less DIY-oriented users toward regular repair providers. We'd add that this isn't a strictly altruistic gesture — Samsung, Apple and others are facing pressure from federal and state officials who are either implementing or proposing right to repair rules. Vendors might not have much choice but to let you fix devices on your own terms.
Still, this could be an important move. If you're reasonably comfortable with screwdrivers and spudgers, this gives you a way to lengthen the useful lifespan of a Samsung device without worrying about turnaround times or potentially expensive out-of-warranty repair costs. That, in turn, could reduce e-waste and offer more control over when you upgrade your mobile gear.