iFixit teardowns H1 2021 – iPad Pro 12.9″, Apple TV 4K, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G

iFixit teardowns H1 2021

iFixit teardowns H1 2021 get to the heart of the matter. What is inside, how easy or hard it is to repair, and often reveal little secrets explaining why one device is better or worse than another.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9″ 5th Gen (Video teardown)

The Apple iPad Pro 12.9″ 54th gen (Apple site here) uses the M1 Chip – the ARM-based Chip found in new iMacs. There is also an 11″ model (differences noted)

Base specs

  • 8GB/128/256/512GB or 16GB/1/2TB
  • Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi/LTE/5G via  sim or eSIM
  • 2732×2048 mini-LED (2338×1688 IPS)
  • Brightness: 600 nits max, 1000 nits full screen/1600 nits peak HDR both small section of the display (600 nits max)
  • Rear camera: 12MP f/1.8, 4K@60fps
  • Front camera: 12MP, f/2.4, 1080p@60fps, Face ID
  • Four speakers and five mics
  • Wi-Fi AX, BT 5.0, GPS
  • 1 x Thunderbolt 4 (supports USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 10Gbps, USB-C 4.0 Thunderbolt 3 both to 40Gbps)
  • 40.99 Wh (28.65Wh) battery with 20W charger
  • 11″ 8GB/128/256/512GB or 16GB/1/2TB $1199/1349/1649/2249/2849
  • 12.9” 8GB/128/256/512GB or 16GB/1/2TB $1649/1799/2099/2699/3299

Apple TV 4K

The Apple TV 4K (Apple site here) comprises a 98mm square set-top box and a minimalist Siri remote. It plugs into a spare HDMI port and adds Apple content as the Google TV Chromecast dongle (and many more Android TV streamers) for the Android world.

Content comes via subscription services, including Apple TV+ (aggregates content for various TV networks and streaming providers), Apple Arcade (gaming), Apple Fitness (workouts) and Apple Music. It also can act as a HomeKit hub and AirPlay streamer. GadgetGuy review (here 8.6/10)

Base specs

  • 32 or 64GB storage
  • BT 5.0 (for BT keyboard)
  • HDMI 2.1 CEC eARC (claimed – see notes on Dolby Vision below*) for Dolby Vision or Atmos content (if your TV and soundbar supports it) – cable at extra cost
  • Also supports HDR10, HDR, HLG, SDR and as low as 480p content
  • Wi-Fi AX or Gigabit LAN
  • IR/BT receiver (lightning charge port)
  • 240V PS
  • 32GB $249 and 64GB $279

iFixit’s comments relate to hardware, and they were surprised to see a large fan cooking the A12 Chip (2018 iPhone is passively cooled) under the top plate and only 3GB RAM.

* But the major discovery is that it does not implement HDMI 2.1 standards. If you want true Dolby Vision and Atmos, beware that Apple claims it has HDMI 2.1 48Gbps port. iFixit states the Chip is a Kinetic Technologies MCDP2920A4 DisplayPort 1.4 to HDMI 2.0 converter outputting 2.0, 18GBps ARC (not eARC) compressed lossy Dolby Vision/Atmos at a maximum of 4K@60fps (Full reference here). This may not meet your Dolby viewing expectation.

It receives an 8/10 for repairability

Samsung S21 Ultra (US version with SD888 processor)

Most consider the Samsung S21 Ultra 5G (website here) as the world’s best Android phone. Well, at least in the glass slab, candy bar format. GadgetGuy’s review (Australian Exynos processor model 9.7/10) shows there is a lot to like with this phone. Apart from the processor, there is little performance difference between the models.

Base specs (Australia)

  • Exynos 2100 eight-core 2.2/2.8/2.9GHz
  • 12GB RAM and 128GB/256/512GB storage, no MicroSD but USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 5Gbps data transfer rate
  • 4G and 5G (sub-6Ghz) Sim and eSim
  • 6.8” 3200 x 1440, 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 16M colours, 400-1500nit, DCI-P3, S Pen support
  • Rear Camera: 108 + 10 + 12 MP + 10 MP (OIS, binned) up to 8K@24fps, 3/10/100 optical/hybrid/digital zoom
  • Front camera: 40MP (binned)
  • Wi-Fi AX, BT 5.2, NFC, Dual-band GPS, UWB
  • 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9mm x 227g x IP76
  • 5000mAh battery (no charger supplied but 25W capable), Qi 10W, 5W wireless reverse charge
  • Stereo sound, Dolby Atmos decode
  • Android 11 with 12 and 13 to come
  • Missing Qualcomm aptX, microSD
  • Price: 128GB $1599 256GB $1699, 512GB $1899

iFixit says it is a subtle but significant upgrade from the S20 Ultra but it still scores 3/10 for repairability.

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