Samsung Galaxy S 4G Teardown

February 23, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

The Samsung Galaxy S 4G — not to be confused with the Samsung Galaxy S, Galaxy S II, Galaxy Tab, or the Los Angeles Galaxy — is Samsung’s newest smartphone to date. We set out on an interstellar journey to find out just what makes this phone burn from within.

We heard that Samsung used magnesium to create some of the structural components of the Galaxy S 4G. So we lit a part of the phone on fire to verify. It turns out that Samsung tells no lie — their structural framework IS made of magnesium!

Otherwise, the phone is midpack in terms of features as well as repairability (it received a 6 out of 10 score). Contrary to yesterday’s super-repairable Motorola Atrix, the Galaxy S 4G’s LCD is fused to the front panel glass, essentially doubling the repair cost if you drop your phone. You also have to use a heat gun in order to get to the front panel, so it’s not super-easy to perform the repair.

Thankfully a few tidbits redeem the Galaxy S 4G from being utterly unrepairable: swapping out the battery is a cinch, there’s only trusty #00 Phillips screws to deal with, and the phone is generally assembled using connectors that you can carefully disconnect.

Teardown highlights:

  • We found a bummer from the get-go: 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 is in the pocket of its user, but we like using our phones.
  • A cool sliding door keeps the micro-USB port lint-free and somewhat redeems the gap between front panel and framework. You can distract your friends with its cool sliding action.
  • Thankfully the rear panel is easily removed, revealing both SIM and microSD card slots, as well as a user-replaceable battery!
  • The 3.7V Li-Ion battery inside the Galaxy S 4G lists a capacity of 6.11 Watt-hours, or 1650 mAh. We’re definitely seeing a trend of increased battery life among the last couple of teardowns. The question is whether that increased capacity will net any increased use time, or if all the extra juice will be sucked up by the phones’ extra processing power.
  • The compact front and rear facing camera assembly has a NEC MC10170 Image Processor cleverly attached right to its ribbon cable.
  • The headphone jack, earpiece speaker, and proximity/ambient light sensors reside on one cable. Seems oddly familiar, given yesterday’s Atrix teardown.
  • Separating the front panel assembly from the rear panel assembly requires loosening the adhesive around the perimeter. That means it’s heat gun time!
  • On the back of the display assembly we found the Atmel mXT 224 touchscreen controller, which provides capacitive multi-touch capabilities. It’s the same controller found in yesterday’s Atrix.
White flash indicates the frame is made of magnesium. Success!

White flash indicates the frame is made of magnesium. Success!

Final layout

Final layout

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