Before I start showing how I made my clear galaxy Note 8, it’s important to note that I highly recommend not attempting this project yourself. So many things can go wrong during this project. I’ll try to mention most of them, but still, it’s an expensive phone so don’t try this unless you have nothing to lose. Alright, now that we have that out of the way, let’s get started. [Intro] The Galaxy Note 8 is a beast of a device, and just like how most high-end gaming PCs are see-through, I think Samsung should offer a clear version to show off their top of the line components. It would be cool if Apple did it too – mediocre hardware is still interesting to look at.
I just like clear gadgets. The Note 8 has Gorilla Glass 5 on the back that is glued to the frame of the phone. I’m pretty sure they use some new kind of adhesive this year because I had an extraordinarily hard time removing this back panel. The phone is turned off at this point and I’m warming up the phone until it’s too hot to touch comfortably with my hands. Then I’ll slip a thin metal pry tool along the side edge of the glass panel since that’s the only entry point I could find. Then gently cut away the adhesive under the glass with that metal edge. Remember, we are working with glass, so any pressure in the wrong spot and the whole panel shatters.
It’s a delicate process. I’ll try and link the replacement back glass panels in the description as soon as they are available, in case yours gets broken or is already broken and you just need to swap it out. As the phone cools, the adhesive hardens back up again. I’ll be reheating the phone with my heat gun about every 30 seconds or so. Tucking a sturdy piece of paper or business card under the glass also helps it keep from re-adhering to the phone again. I told you, this is a very painstaking process- Samsung doesn’t mess around with their water-proofing. Finally, my back panel lifts up and away from the phone exposing some of the plastic shrouds protecting the internal components. One thing I did mess up though was the fingerprint scanner ribbon cable.
I managed to slice through that with one of my pry tools. I wasn’t planning on using it anyway, but still, I’ll try to avoid doing that in the future. The bottom of the phone, over the charging port, has 6 regular Philips head screws holding down the plastic. I’ll just set those off to the side to keep them organized. And I’ll have a tool kit linked in the description that fits these screws. The top plastics and wireless charging have10 more screws – the same Philips head screws we saw at the bottom. It’s good practice to lay these out in a way that they go back in the same hole they came from. The wireless charging panel unclips from the metal frame of the phone at this point and we can see the golden contact pads on the back that transfer the power from the copper coiled inductor to the battery. I’m going to leave my wireless charging intact this time around and I’ll explain more about how I do that in a second. The bottom plastics of the phone snap off exposing the charging port and headphone jack. Things are starting to look at how we want at this point.
The loudspeakers built into the bottom plastics. It’s got that water-damage indicator on it. I do want a speaker in my finished phone so I’ll cut off the un-mandatory part of the plastic, leaving the speaker and golden contact pads intact with a few of the screw holes so it can reattach. Perfect. The battery has some separation foam on the back that I’m going to remove. And now we look at the wireless charging itself. The wireless charging has one little niblet at the top that is a battery temperature sensor. This is excruciatingly important. Without this niblet, your phone will not charge. So this needs to be left intact. Personally, I’m just going to cut around the golden contact pads leaving everything intact but the plastic. I want all the features to remain functional in this build. I left one screw hole next to the contact pads to hold everything in place.
But, if you look closely, you can see the leads under the black stuff that goes from the battery temperature sensor niblet to the motherboard. So if you are anti-wireless charging you can just cut around those leads, leaving them intact as I did with my clear Galaxy S8. But, if you mess up that niblet, your phone will never charge again. My phone is turning on at this point and still functional. So, so far so good. Plus it can still charge, which means I didn’t damage that battery temperature sensor. Now for the back panel itself. The super-strong adhesive that Samsung placed around the outside edge needs to come off.
The glass is curved along both sides and its glass, so I’m being super careful with it. Once all the sticky adhesive is gone I can start removing the color. Using the metal pry tool scrapes off the color, but it leaves a slightly cloudy laminate layer underneath, above the glass. This would still look cool since it’s kind of like that frosted effect that the older Game Boy colors had, but I want my phone to end up completely clear. The laminate layer is extremely adhered to the phone and does not want to come off on its own. I’ll use some heat to remove the camera lens, it has a metal frame, so as long as I don’t put any pressure on the glass part of the lens it will come out in one piece. This premium stripper will hopefully help soften the bond between the laminate layer and the glass.