Nexus S Teardown

December 16, 2010 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

The Nexus S is supposed to be the next flagship Android phone. Yet, having looked at both the outside and inside of this device, we’re just a tad underwhelmed. We feel the phone’s curved glass is more of a gimmick than anything else, although it does feel very nice when pressed up against the user’s face.

Our teardown reveals that only the glass itself is curved, but that the Super AMOLED display and touchscreen are just as flat as any phone’s. Although Google/Samsung technically doesn’t lie on their site — they clearly mention a curved glass panel, not curved Super AMOLED — we still find their “Contour Display” name a bit misleading.

Teardown Highlights:

  • The Super AMOLED does away with the digitizer, and integrates the capacitive touch sensors into the display. You can definitely see that only the front glass panel is curved. The rest of the components are flat as a board, just as any other phone on the market.
  • Inside we found a S5PC110A01 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird Processor stacked together with a Samsung KB100D00WM-A453 memory package. Other notable chips include a SanDisk SDIN4C2 16GB MLC NAND flash module, an Infineon 8824 XG616 X-Gold baseband processor, a Wolfson Microelectronics WM8994 ultra-low power audio codec, and a Skyworks SKY77529 Tx Front-End Module for Dual-Band GSM/GPRS/EDGE.
  • The 1500 mAh, 3.7 V, 5.55 Watt-hour Lithium ion cell provides up to 6.7 hours of talk time on a 3G network, and up to 14 hours on a 2G network. That’s slightly higher than the 1400 mAh and 1420 mAh battery ratings of the Nexus One and iPhone 4, respectively.
  • A warning sign on the battery indicates it should not be fed to babies. We agree.
  • Taking out the motherboard requires removing three Phillips screws and disconnecting a few cables here and there. Nothing a patient user with a screwdriver couldn’t handle.
  • For you AT&T customers out there, just a quick reminder that the Nexus S does not support the 850 MHz and 1900 MHz HSPA frequency bands required for 3G mobile data. If you use this phone on AT&T’s network, you’re stuck in 2G land.
  • Interestingly, the two cameras share the same connector on the motherboard and are removed as a singular unit.
  • The EM-Tech EME1511AFRC module integrates the earpiece speaker, loudspeaker for speakerphone and media use, and a sensor bank all into one unit with a singular shared data connector. This is definitely a win for integration, but at the same time forces users to replace the entire unit if only one component malfunctions.

Lifting off the motherboard

Final layout

The Nexus S is a solid Android phone overall, and we think a lot of people will be happy with it. Samsung’s device is the king of the hill of Android phones — for the next twelve minutes or so, until the new next-best-Android-phone rises up to knock it off its perch.

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