Samsung Galaxy S 4G Teardown



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

Introducing the Samsung Galaxy S 4G. Not to be confused with the Samsung Galaxy S, Galaxy S II, or Galaxy Tab, the Galaxy S 4G is Samsung's newest entry to the smartphone arena. Join us today as we unravel the mysteries of the Galaxy S 4G.

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Edit Step 1 Samsung Galaxy S 4G Teardown  ¶ 

  • It's been nearly a year since T-Mobile released the Samsung Galaxy S in the United States, and this time they're back with the Samsung Galaxy S 4G.

  • The Samsung Galaxy S 4G is the newest revision (at least available to the public) to the Samsung Galaxy S (Samsung Vibrant).

  • Tech Specs:

    • 1 GHz Processor

    • 480 x 800 Super AMOLED display

    • 5.0 MP Rear-facing camera and a VGA Front-facing camera

    • 1 GB onboard memory, with up to 32 GB microSD storage

    • 512 MB DRAM

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • The Samsung Galaxy S 4G's graphite-looking back complements the phone's sleek contour.

  • The first bummer: what we have here is a fairly noticeable gap between the glass front panel and the outer framework. It'd be less of a concern if a cell phone's primary home isn't the pocket of its user.

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • Gone are the days of mini-USB. The Galaxy S 4G boasts a micro-USB connector and a 3.5 mm headphone jack alongside the top of the phone.

  • A cool sliding door keeps the micro-USB port lint-free.

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Well lookie lookie...what have we here? The rear panel is easily removed, revealing both SIM and microSD card slots, as well as what seems to be a replaceable battery!

  • As predicted (not that we're psychic or anything) the battery is easily removable, thus easily replaceable. Thanks, Samsung!

  • You may be asking yourself what powers this device?

    • The 3.7V Li-Ion battery inside the Galaxy S 4G lists a capacity of 6.11 Watt-hours, or 1650 mAh.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Removing the microSD card requires little effort at all.

  • Let's remove those pesky screws.

    • Samsung chose friendly #00 Phillips screws to hold the plastic framework to the Galaxy S 4G. Interestingly, these are the only screws in the entire device.

  • With the assistance of our good friend, the plastic opening tool, we can unclip the plastic outer framework of the Galaxy S 4G.

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Adios plastic framework...we hardly knew ye...

  • With the plastic framework gone, we get a good look at the Galaxy S 4G's internals. The motherboard is quite compact.

  • The first item that is readily removable is the loudspeaker. Removing it requires a simple flip of the ZIF ribbon cable lock on the motherboard.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Camera gone!

  • The compact front and rear facing camera assembly has a NEC MC10170 Image Processor cleverly attached right to its ribbon cable.

  • The rear camera can shoot stills at 5 MP and video at 720p. As in most smart phones, the front camera is VGA quality.

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • After removing a few more connectors, the motherboard assembly can be lifted right off the inner framework.

  • An interconnect board is adhered to the rear EMI shield and hosts the SIM card and microSD card slots. We popped them off as one piece to get a look at the ICs that make this thing tick.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Big players on the front of the motherboard include:

    • Samsung KB100L00WM-A453 4Gb (512 MB) of mobile DRAM which contains a 1 GHz Intrinsity Processor in a package-on-package configuration, according to the fine folks at Chipworks.

    • ST Ericsson's THOR M5730 HSPA+ Thin Modem

    • Bosch Sensortec Accelerometer

    • Maxim MAX8987 DC Power Management

    • ST Ericsson GNS7560 Single Chip GPS Solution

  • Here's an ultra high-res version of this image, in case you want to inspect the board thoroughly.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • On the back of the board:

    • Broadcom BCM4329 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, and FM Tuner

    • Wolfson Microelectronics WM8994 Audio CODEC

    • Skyworks SKY77460 WCDMA/HSPA+ Power Amplifier

    • ST Ericsson RF5000 Radio Transceiver (part of THOR M570 chipset)

    • Skyworks SKY77544 TX-RX Front End Module

    • Skyworks SKY77447 Load Insensitive Power Amplifier for WCDMA / HSDPA / HSUPA / HSPA+ Band II

  • An ultra high-res version of this picture can be seen here.

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • The headphone jack, earpiece speaker, and proximity/ambient light sensors reside on one cable.

  • Seems oddly familiar...

  • We applaud the efforts of smartphone manufacturers to move commonly-broken components (such as the headphone jack) to cables/boards separate from the motherboard. But attaching several components on the same cable also increases the overall cost of the cable, thereby increasing the repair cost of just one component.

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Unfortunately, the Galaxy S 4G cannot be disassembled further without prying the front panel off the inner metal frame.

    • Heat gun time!

  • Separating the front panel assembly from the rear panel assembly requires loosening the adhesive around the perimeter.

  • Add a little heat and some opposing forces, and BAM! Front panel and rear panel successfully separated.

  • On the back of the display assembly we find the Atmel mXT 224 touchscreen controller, which provides capacitive multi-touch capabilities, and is also found in yesterday's Motorola Atrix teardown.

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • The outer chromed plastic ring can now be removed from the metal inner frame.

  • At this point we can also remove the button capacitive touch sensors, vibrator unit, lower microphone, and antenna cable connector -- all of which lie on the same assembly.

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Before we continue any further with the teardown, we have an experiment to conduct.

  • Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first ever segment of Science with iFixit.

  • Without any further ado, let's proceed!

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • Children (and adults, for that matter): DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. Failure to heed this warning could result in injuries such as finger burns. We are trained professionals.

  • Word on the street was that Samsung was using magnesium instead of aluminum for some of its structural components. The most obvious candidate was the main structural support plate that nearly every component on the phone mounted to. But how could we find out for sure?

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • A simple way to verify the magnesium hypothesis was to file away a small pile of dust from the mid-plane frame and...well...light it on fire.

    • When you add a little heat in the presence of magnesium and the air we breathe, magnesium oxide and a little bit of magnesium nitride are formed. Byproducts of this reaction are very intense heat and extremely bright light.

  • Yup, looks like it's magnesium.

  • But why magnesium? If you take a look at your old pal, the Periodic Table, it is one of the lightest metals - more so than even aluminum. Additionally, its high strength makes it ideal for providing structural support where weight is a major concern.

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • Samsung Galaxy S 4G Repairability Score: 6 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

    • Removing the rear panel to replace the microSD/SIM cards and the battery requires no tools.

    • Attaching components like the headphone jack to separate cables makes their replacement less costly than replacing the entire motherboard.

    • Less-than-stellar fit of the front panel and chromed plastic accents can lead to cosmetic issues after long-term use.

    • The front panel is adhered to the AMOLED display, so they must be replaced as one expensive unit.

Required Tools

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

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Heat Gun

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Plastic Opening Tools

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Comments Comments are onturn off

Hey I Need help. I have a video on my channel describing what I need help with. Or Search on youtube Samsung Galaxy S Repair Help Needed. Thanks! I really just need the charger port gold prongs fixed without buying a whole motherboard.

snead23, · Reply

"Science with" — is a nice "feature" :) Keep it up!

Ajax, · Reply

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