Nexus 4 Teardown

Teardown

Teardown

Teardowns provide a look inside a device and should not be used as disassembly instructions.

The Nexus 4 landed in our inbox just in time for a Friday teardown-a-rama. Questions that linger in our minds:

  • Is it good as a phone? No idea. We dived right into the Nexus 4—for science!
  • Will it blend? We'll let Tom answer that one.
  • How repairable is it? Only time will tell. Look below for the freshiest of the fresh information on the Nexus 4's innards.

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Edit Step 1 Nexus 4 Teardown  ¶ 

  • Google unveiled its 4th generation phone in the Nexus line and it's called—wait for it—the Nexus 4! Let's see what's inside número cuatro.

    • 4.7" 1280 x 768 pixel touchscreen LCD with IPS

    • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro system on a chip (SoC) with 1.5 GHz CPU

    • 2 GB RAM

    • 8 megapixel rear-facing and 1.3 megapixel front-facing cameras

    • Near field communication (NFC)

    • Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • At first glimpse, the Nexus 4 doesn't jump out and grab your attention, but its clean, sleek design makes it anything but an eyesore.

  • Google chose LG as its design partner to manufacture the newest Nexus phone. For all of their hard work, LG gets their logo on the back of the phone (and probably a decent boost in sales revenue).

  • Perhaps we spoke too soon about the Nexus 4 not clamoring for attention. Upon closer inspection, the back of the phone shows off one of our favorite features: sparkles!

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • Left to right: iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Galaxy SIII, LG Nexus 4.

  • We wanted to add a Galaxy Note II to the mix, but this iPad Mini was the closest thing we had (size-wise).

  • Despite the minor variation in appearance, not all black rectangles are created equal. Compared to the Galaxy Nexus—the phone it succeeds—the Nexus 4 is a hair heavier (139 g vs 135 g), thicker (9.1 mm vs 8.9 mm), and wider (68.7 mm vs 67.9 mm).

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • We're gearing up for the holidays with tacky family photos…

  • …of the Nexus family. Here we have 4, 7, and 10.

  • That's right, you heard us; the Nexus 10.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Whenever a new Android device hits the stage, we feel obligated to see how it measures up to the latest iPhone. Let's have a look-see.

  • Both phones have their main I/O connector on the bottom, flanked by two screws. For the iPhone, it's the Lightning connector (Apple proprietary) and two Pentalobe screws (also proprietary). The Nexus 4, on the other hand, wields a micro-USB/SlimPort HDMI port (universal) and two Torx screws (quite common).

  • Rather than hide the Micro SIM card underneath the battery—a common practice in many phones—LG pushed the Micro SIM slot to the side and included their own stubby SIM eject tool. Very Cupertino.

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • With our newly-acquired SIM card eject tool, we take the first baby step towards dismantling the Nexus 4.

  • Phew, that was exhausting! With the Micro SIM card tray out, the Nexus 4 slims down to a scant 138.8 grams.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • After liberating the two T5 Torx screws from their imprisonment, it took a few minutes of diligent work with a plastic opening tool to remove the back cover.

    • It wasn't particularly difficult to open this device, but anyone attempting it without the proper prying tool will face a lot of frustration.

  • Right off the bat we notice that the battery is much harder to replace than in the earlier Galaxy Nexus. This could hurt its repairability score, but it's still early!

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • The rear cover of most phones is a ho-hum piece of plastic that serves no real purpose other than covering the battery. That is not the case here.

  • A number of pressure contacts power the NFC antenna and connect the induction coil needed for wireless charging to the motherboard.

    • With "wireless charging" listed as an official tech spec for the Nexus 4, we were anxious to try it out on our device. Alas, the phone doesn't ship with a wireless charger. Boo.

  • Two years ago, Google brought NFC to the smartphone realm with the Nexus S. It's been a long road, but the technology seems to finally be catching on.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Screws hold the battery connector in place.

  • We make it look easy, but the battery is secured to the case with quite a bit of adhesive, requiring a lot of prying.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Eventually, we're able to pull out the 3.8 V, 2100 mAh battery.

  • Just like Apple did with the iPhone 5, LG is utilizing a 3.8 V battery to power the Nexus 4.

    • Unlike Apple, however, LG manufactures their own battery.

  • Strangely enough, Google doesn't list any specifications for the battery on their product page. We'll have to rely on real-world tests to see what kind of battery life users can expect to achieve.

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • The speaker enclosure is held in place with two screws and no cables—spring contacts connect it to the rest of the phone, making its removal a snap.

    • Bonus points for repairability!

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Next up is the obtrusive plastic frame covering the motherboard.

  • With the frame screws removed, the Nexus 4 is officially screw-less. That brings us to a total of only 4 different screw lengths, and 15 screws in total. Here's how they break down on our Magnetic Project Mat.

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • In addition to providing some support and stability, this frame houses the earpiece speaker and vibrator motor, both of which attach to the motherboard via pressure contacts.

  • The Nexus 4 uses a linear-oscillating vibrator motor as opposed to the counterweighted rotational vibrator in the iPhone 5.

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Removing the motherboard requires disconnecting a few connectors.

  • Overall, the process was pretty painless and required minimal effort.

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • Once the motherboard is free, the rear-facing camera is easily removed.

  • The 8 megapixel rear-facing camera is labeled as AC2AD O5A261

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • The 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera is easily removed.

  • The ribbon cable on the front-facing camera is labeled as Y411A.

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • The front of the motherboard :

    • Toshiba THGBM5G6A2JBAIR 8GB Flash

    • SlimPort ANX7808 SlimPort Transmitter (HDMI output converter)

    • Invensense MPU-6050 Six-Axis (Gyro + Accelerometer)

    • Qualcomm WTR1605L Seven-Band 4G LTE chip

    • Avago ACPM-7251 Quad-Band GSM/EDGE and Dual-Band UMTS Power Amplifier

    • Murata SS2908001 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi‐Fi and Bluetooth module

    • Avago 3012 Ultra Low-Noise GNSS Front-End Module

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Edit Step 18  ¶ 

  • Back o' mobo:

    • Samsung K3PE0E00A 2GB RAM. We suspect the Snapdragon S4 Pro (APQ8064) 1.5 GHz CPU lies underneath.

    • Qualcomm MDM9215M 4G GSM/UMTS/LTE modem

    • Qualcomm PM8921 Power Management

    • Broadcom 20793S NFC Controller

    • Avago A5702, A5704, A5505

    • Qualcomm WCD9310 audio codec

    • Qualcomm PM8821 Power Management

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Edit Step 19  ¶ 

  • A quick flick of the spudger and we free the daughterboard.

  • The daughterboard is home to the micro-USB port, several spring contacts for the speakers, a hidden unidentified antenna socket, and a microphone (located on the underside.)

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Edit Step 20  ¶ 

  • Turning our attention back to the front panel, we pull off the standard 3.5 mm headphone jack, which also houses the dual ambient light sensors.

  • It's getting late, and Walter tired after teardown all day…

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Edit Step 21  ¶ 

  • Front panel—fused LCD, glass, and frame.

  • A Synaptics S7020A touchscreen controller ensures your fingers morph into super-accurate pig-killing machines.

  • The 4.7", 1280 x 768 , WXGA IPS display is manufactured by LG Display.

  • The display is labeled as LH467WX1.

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Edit Step 22  ¶ 

  • Nexus 4 Repairability Score: 7 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair).

    • Removing the back cover requires nothing more than a common screwdriver, a plastic opening tool, and some patience.

    • The entire device only contains four different length screws—all common screw types—for a total of only 15 screws.

    • Once the back cover and inner frame are removed, pressure contacts make all of the inner components a breeze to replace.

    • The battery is stuck to the frame with a lot of adhesive, so removing it without puncturing the battery can be difficult.

    • The glass is fused to both the display and the display frame. So don't crack the glass unless you're good with a heat gun, or you're fond of replacing the glass, display, and frame together ($$$).

Required Tools

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

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T5 Torx Screwdriver

$4.95 · 50+ In stock

Plastic Opening Tools

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Recommended Tools

Universal Drive Adapter

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iFixit Lock Pick Set

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Inspection Scope

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Frictionless Ratchet

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Portable Anti-Static Mat

$34.95 · 43 In stock

Popular Products

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Comments Comments are onturn off

LTE chip?

Audio, · Reply

Can the LTE chip somehow be activated/unlocked?

user772288, · Reply

Do not think it would be possible because it would make no sense to sell it without LTE having a possible working LTE functionality.

Carlos Baraza,

Can you use the LTE functionality of the nexus 4?....not out of the box, you have to unlock the bootloader and modify the nexus 4's software...in short yes when it's modded

Slicker24,

What is this White cable that disappears from step 11 to step 12???

aaaa, · Reply

It looks to be the Wifi Antenna.

Jordan,

While taking this phone apart (Nexus 4), was there a special place where a microSD slot could have been if Google would have wanted one put on there?

Cleaton Kendall, · Reply

Maybe LG wanted to allow the users to expand the storage but later dropped the plan for some reasons.

Anyway, I am looking forward for the Wii U teardown

Honam1021,

Additionally, the MDM9215M Qualcomm modem appears to be capable of LTE as well.

Audio, · Reply

Where is the application processor located? Is it the APQ8064?

Arun Cherian, · Reply

Awesome teardown. I really wonder why they didn't include the LTE function. Maybe they didn't have time before Christmas for doing it?

Carlos Baraza, · Reply

Would it be possible to swap the 8gb flash module (or 16gb in the 16gb version) to a 32gb module? I'm guessing the 16gb version would use a Toshiba THGBM5G7A2JBAIM module, which has the same package and power requirements as the THGBM5G8A4JBAIM (32gb module). Could this be as simple as a straight swap? I tried to get a closer look at the IC in your pic on step 17, but the red outline makes it hard to get a good look at the surface mount soldering on the chip. But seeing as you guys have actually seen it, would it be at all possible to make this modification by hand?

Jordan, · Reply

One more question: I have been reading that the 7 band LTE chip is useless without the LTE radio. But then in Step 18 it states that there is a 4G GSM/CDMA modem. Isn't this what is needed to make the 4G actually work?

Jordan, · Reply

is the hardware of the nexus 4 able to use USB OTG?? can it provide voltage to an usb device? cose i really need it :C and maybe with a software update it can be fixed

Carlos Vergara Vidal, · Reply

What is the part they remove on step 14, second photo?

Rom Itkin, · Reply

Hey... Why is one of Walter's arms much bigger than the other one?

Reminds me of this - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZHBUMldz...

Scooby, · Reply

How accessible are the SIM pins with the mobo out? I've bent one and it's nearly impossible to correct the bend through the tiny SIM hole with the case on. But I don't want to rip the entire phone apart and risk breaking it further if I won't gain an advantage in SIM pin access by doing so (I will just continue to try and straighten it out through repetitive "massaging" :)

Jesse Isaacson, · Reply

How accessible are the SIM pins with the motherboard out? I have a bent one, but don't want to tear the whole phone apart if it doesn't give me an advantage in re-shaping the bent pin by doing so. Help!

Jesse Isaacson, · Reply

I also broke the screen, not badly though, just a small chip on the bottom corner...could have been worse as it fell of from my pocket while jogging into the hard road :(

Mr Smith, · Reply

Linear Resonant Actuator: Would it be possible to get part information on the LRA and the driver for it? This actuator is extremely mild, in fact so much so that it is useless as a ringer substitute in my pocket. I would like to see if there might be any drop in replacements for it

Braddo, · Reply

Do you guyz find any heat emission exhaust hole...?

faddyie, · Reply

Hi, my audio jack seem broken (unable to plug anything since it dropped from 50cm high :( ), is it hard to open it to check on the audio jack?

Also, is the warranty automatically void if i just open the device?

Thx

Julien, · Reply

Tech specs (www.google.com/nexus/4/) list compass and barometer as features. Are these MEMS on the board?

Richard Star, · Reply

Omg,last day i drop my nexus 4 in the water,when i was stay at the glow sticks midnight party,that's time to till its have no any power,any idea?how to i fix this?

glow sticks, · Reply

Easiest way to take of the front screen: start at the simcard slot, and make sure the tool is snugly in place, then slide it left and right to loosen the side, until you hear a click, which means the screen has separated from that side. Once one side is fully released, the other sides are much easier to loosen. leave the top of the phone last, and use a guitar pick or some other shorter device to take that part off completely.

a060ad15, · Reply

I used this tear-down to change the the lcd/glass/touch/frame assembly. I had the right tools and was very careful. But the battery gave me problems, the glue held up a good fight. I didn't know that there was a small control board in the upper part where the connector sits. So i lifted the battery all the way around, and it got a little bent while doing this. When i put everything back together, it wouldn't start. I plugged it in the charger and the LED blinks red. The battery was fully charged before i took it apart.

I suspect that i broke the battery, trying to get it out. Would you agree?

I tried to take the connector of the battery and reconnecting, no change. When i plug the charger in, while the battery is disconnected, the screen shows the battery logo. I can even turn it on for a few seconds, it vibrates and shows the google logo. then turns back off. I guess because of the missing battery?

Do you think it's safe to order a new battery, and that it will work again?

Carsten Lorenzen, · Reply

Can you replace the notification LED without having to change any other parts?

Herc Klaator, · Reply

Hello , someone can help me for a problem of battery? The phone not start. I remove battery and i saw with multimeter is 2,5 volts (so is very down). Now i try to charge with a external charger (very slow for now), however on the nexus there 4 pin. Someone can tell me the right voltage when plug the usb?? Because i dont understand if the phone charge fine or not

daniele benedetti, · Reply

It ain't a Galaxy phone... It's just Nexus 4

Juan, · Reply

The "linear-oscillating vibrator motor" is called a Linear Resonant Actuator (LRA) in industry lingo.

no way, · Reply

so Step 17 mention it has a 4G LTE chip from Qualcomm!!!!!!!!! interesting

Qualcomm WTR1605L Seven-Band 4G LTE chip

WiLL, · Reply

Google Translator = Is it possible to replace the flash memory to a larger memory or solder a sd card on the flash memory contacts on it?

German: Kann man den Flash speicher auf einen gröseren speicher austauschen oder eine sd karte auf die flash speicher kontakte drauf löten?

Hamzat Talion, · Reply

what's the 802.11bgn wlan module?

Sean, · Reply

Does anyone know what wifi chipset it uses?

Cesar, · Reply

Apparently it's the Qualcomm atheros WCN3660

Cesar, · Reply

Hi,

is there a possibility to upload a high resolution picture from the Avago A5702, A5704, A5505 Section? I have to find the magnetic field sensor, so maybe you can help me?

Thank you very much!

Xen, · Reply

I took my Nexus 4 apart, put it in a glass and poured Jack Daniels on top... like in Walter's picture... and now it's not working.... should I have used only Jameson Irish Whiskey?

LabRat, · Reply

FYI, just replaced my screen assembly and ran into an issue where the proximity sensor is always blocked. After scouring hours unsuccessfully for a solution, a YouTube comment mentioned swapping the orientation of the rubber gasket so that the big hole surrounds the little proximity sensor. That solved it!

Yukiko Ishida, · Reply

The description for removing the digitizer/screen aren't descriptive enough to get the job done right without frustration. Any clarification would be appreciated.

Travis Peters, · Reply

I just broke the screen of my nexus 4 today, bummer! Any idea how I can get it repaired beside calling LG?

Thanks

Eric Perraudeau, · Reply

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