Introduction

After years of research, billions of dollars, and countless hours of development, Samsung has finally landed upon the game changer in its race against Apple—a Galaxy smartphone with a metal frame.

This latest iPhone killer is certainly nice to look at and has the specs to back it up—but we're more interested in inner beauty. Tune in to see how the Galaxy Alpha stacks up where it really counts—on the inside.

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This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your Samsung Galaxy Alpha, use our service manual.

Image 1/2: 4.7" Super AMOLED display Image 2/2: Exynos 5 Octa 5430 system on chip (quad-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A15 and quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7)
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha tech specs:

  • 4.7" Super AMOLED display

  • Exynos 5 Octa 5430 system on chip (quad-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A15 and quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7)

  • 2 GB RAM + 32 GB internal storage

  • 12 MP rear-facing camera + 2.1 MP front-facing camera

  • HR Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Fingerprint Sensor, Hall Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Accelerometer, Light Sensor

  • 1860 mAh battery

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Image 1/2: Which shouldn't be that often, unless Samsung forgot about its [[Topic:Samsung Smartwatch|plethora of smartwatches]]. Image 2/2: Similar to the 4th and 5th generation iPhones, the Galaxy Alpha sports a straight, smooth metal bezel, with a chamfered edge.
  • Visible above the rear camera: a heart rate monitor. Useful when you need to monitor your heart rate from your smartphone.

  • Similar to the 4th and 5th generation iPhones, the Galaxy Alpha sports a straight, smooth metal bezel, with a chamfered edge.

    • Speaking of metal frames, let's hope Samsung learned from Apple's Antennagate fiasco.

  • Unlike the iPhone, the rear of the phone is covered in a rubberized plastic panel—which we'll be peeling off just as soon as we can.

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Image 1/1: Many have called the Galaxy Alpha the iPhone slayer—so just how does it compare to the brand-new iPhone 6?
  • A lineup for the ages. From left to right we have the iPhone 5s, the Galaxy Alpha, and the iPhone 6.

  • Many have called the Galaxy Alpha the iPhone slayer—so just how does it compare to the brand-new iPhone 6?

    • The Alpha's styling, with its straight sides, is more reminiscent of a 4th or 5th generation iPhone than the latest and greatest curved-sides-iPhone 6.

    • The Galaxy Alpha and iPhone 6 both have 4.7" screens; the differing bezel sizes account for the difference in size.

      • Samsung's signature oblong home button also lends to the slimmer frame, and probably reminds users it's not really an iPhone.

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Image 1/2: We're ''sure'' you'll [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Princess_and_the_Pea|notice the difference|new_window=true]. Image 2/2: The Galaxy Alpha and iPhone 6 look remarkably similar from below.
  • Stacking up the contenders: The Alpha managed to squeeze itself into a slightly smaller form factor than the iPhone 6—and at 6.7 mm, it's a whole 0.2 mm thinner.

  • The Galaxy Alpha and iPhone 6 look remarkably similar from below.

    • Speaker grille, data port (standard Micro USB 2.0 on the Alpha and proprietary Lightning on the iPhone), and microphone are in roughly the same places.

  • Spot the differences!

    • The iPhone's headphone jack is on the bottom.

    • None of those pesky Pentalobe screws on the Alpha. Proprietary screws are annoying, but any screws are better than the usual alternative—glue. What will this mean for repair?

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Image 1/2: Samsung's mothership, the Galaxy S5, was packed with glue and rubber gaskets, taking pains to keep your delicate pocket computer safe from a dip in a puddle. Image 2/2: The first evidence of waterproofing we found in the Galaxy S5 was a rubber [guide|24016|o-ring embedded in its rear cover|stepid=61522]...
  • The newest in a long line of Samsung Galaxy smartphones, the Galaxy Alpha still proudly features an easily removed rear cover and tool-less battery replacement.

  • Samsung's mothership, the Galaxy S5, was packed with glue and rubber gaskets, taking pains to keep your delicate pocket computer safe from a dip in a puddle.

    • The first evidence of waterproofing we found in the Galaxy S5 was a rubber o-ring embedded in its rear cover...

    • ...which is clearly absent from the Alpha. So what happened here? Samsung's newest child clearly didn't inherit the much-touted IP67 standard.

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Image 1/3: ''Look mom, no tools!'' Image 2/3: The Galaxy Alpha's Lithium-ion battery is rated at 3.85 V and 1860 mAh, giving it 7.17 Wh of juice. Image 3/3: That's a pretty dramatic decrease from the 10.7 Wh battery in the [guide|24016|Galaxy S5|stepid=61515].
  • With the cover dispatched, we pop out the battery with the greatest of ease.

    • Look mom, no tools!

  • The Galaxy Alpha's Lithium-ion battery is rated at 3.85 V and 1860 mAh, giving it 7.17 Wh of juice.

    • That's a pretty dramatic decrease from the 10.7 Wh battery in the Galaxy S5.

    • However the Alpha is closely matched with the iPhone 6, which runs at 3.82 V and 1810 mAh, (6.91 Wh).

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Image 1/2: Step 1: Remove screws from the back of the midframe. Image 2/2: Step 2: Cry about how that did absolutely nothing, and go grab your [https://www.ifixit.com/Tools/iOpener/IF145-198-2|iOpener|new_window=true].
  • How to get inside the Galaxy Alpha (or the Galaxy S5) in two easy steps:

    • Step 1: Remove screws from the back of the midframe.

    • Step 2: Cry about how that did absolutely nothing, and go grab your iOpener.

  • On the Galaxy S5, we saw Samsung move to a midframe sandwich design—two halves of an internal frame surround the motherboard under a display panel lid.

  • This sandwich and display-first-entry design stuck around. Even though the midframe screws are no longer hidden under the display, as in the S5, the procedure remains the same: difficult.

    • We assumed this strange layered design was necessary to waterproof the S5—so why has it carried over to the hydrophobic Alpha?

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Image 1/2: The pictures make it look easy—but we spent about half an hour heating and prying around the edge of the front panel until we were ready to lift it up without destroying anything. Image 2/2: We'd like to take this moment to complain about having to travel through the display assembly to get to the motherboard and other internal components—cameras, vibrator, buttons, and speakers are all on the far side of a repair ordeal if they ever need servicing.
  • After plenty of heat and patience, we've finally softened the front panel adhesive enough to wedge an opening pick into a gap.

  • The pictures make it look easy—but we spent about half an hour heating and prying around the edge of the front panel until we were ready to lift it up without destroying anything.

    • We'd like to take this moment to complain about having to travel through the display assembly to get to the motherboard and other internal components—cameras, vibrator, buttons, and speakers are all on the far side of a repair ordeal if they ever need servicing.

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Image 1/1: The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus saw Apple [guide|29206|rerouting this cable|stepid=68995] into the display assembly, to better protect it.
  • Both the Samsung Galaxy S5 and iPhone 5s brought fingerprint scanning to the home button. And both did it fairly crudely, with a flimsy cable in the line of fire when opening the device.

  • The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus saw Apple rerouting this cable into the display assembly, to better protect it.

  • Samsung decided to simply detach the home button from the display assembly, so that its cable now routes down into the interior.

  • This eases the opening procedure a bit, but the capacitative touch button cables are still obnoxiously delicate and require painstaking precision to free.

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Image 1/2: Will this affect the Galaxy Alpha's bendability? We're curious how it will stack up against this year's iPhone scandal, [http://www.forbes.com/sites/jvchamary/2014/09/30/iphone-6-bendgate-science/|bendgate|new_window=true]. Image 2/2: Riding on the back of the display assembly, we find the touchscreen controller, provided by STMicroelectronics.
  • The Galaxy Alpha features a razor-thin display assembly—less than half the width of the iPhone 6 front panel.

  • Will this affect the Galaxy Alpha's bendability? We're curious how it will stack up against this year's iPhone scandal, bendgate.

  • Riding on the back of the display assembly, we find the touchscreen controller, provided by STMicroelectronics.

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Image 1/3: Releasing a few plastic clips lets us push the inner midframe and motherboard up and out of the outer frame (previously sealed by the display). Image 2/3: The speaker and vibrator stay with the outer midframe, connected to the motherboard by spring contacts. Image 3/3: The speaker and vibrator stay with the outer midframe, connected to the motherboard by spring contacts.
  • Removing the screws from the back earlier did nothing—but now that they're out, we're free to pop open the midframe sandwich and get to the meat of the matter.

  • Releasing a few plastic clips lets us push the inner midframe and motherboard up and out of the outer frame (previously sealed by the display).

  • The speaker and vibrator stay with the outer midframe, connected to the motherboard by spring contacts.

Yes you need to remove it

dosi83 - Reply

Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • Let's jump right in to the belly of the beast. With the midframe halves separated, only a few connectors and a single screw hold the motherboard in place.

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Image 1/3: From the [http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/sep/11/samsung-galaxy-alpha-review-iphone-6-competitor|buzz on the nets|new_window=true], we gather that this camera is comparable to the S5's in quality if not quantity of pixels—and that both fall a little short of the [guide|29213|iPhone 6's 8 MP camera|stepid=69250], which has better low-light performance and color accuracy. Image 2/3: From the [http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/sep/11/samsung-galaxy-alpha-review-iphone-6-competitor|buzz on the nets|new_window=true], we gather that this camera is comparable to the S5's in quality if not quantity of pixels—and that both fall a little short of the [guide|29213|iPhone 6's 8 MP camera|stepid=69250], which has better low-light performance and color accuracy. Image 3/3: From the [http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/sep/11/samsung-galaxy-alpha-review-iphone-6-competitor|buzz on the nets|new_window=true], we gather that this camera is comparable to the S5's in quality if not quantity of pixels—and that both fall a little short of the [guide|29213|iPhone 6's 8 MP camera|stepid=69250], which has better low-light performance and color accuracy.
  • The Galaxy Alpha is loaded with a hefty 12 MP rear-facing camera. Judging purely by sensor size, that's a step down from the Galaxy S5's 16 MP monster.

  • From the buzz on the nets, we gather that this camera is comparable to the S5's in quality if not quantity of pixels—and that both fall a little short of the iPhone 6's 8 MP camera, which has better low-light performance and color accuracy.

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Image 1/3: Unlike the iPhone's now-standard mini cluster-mess of a [guide|29206|front-facing camera cable|stepid=69187]. Image 2/3: Unlike the iPhone's now-standard mini cluster-mess of a [guide|29206|front-facing camera cable|stepid=69187]. Image 3/3: Unlike the iPhone's now-standard mini cluster-mess of a [guide|29206|front-facing camera cable|stepid=69187].
  • The lonely 2.1 MP selfie cam comes off the motherboard without issue.

  • Unlike the iPhone's now-standard mini cluster-mess of a front-facing camera cable.

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Image 1/1: Samsung Exynos 5430 SoC (labeled as KMR2W0009M)
  • A closer look at the Alpha's wolfpack ICs:

    • Samsung Exynos 5430 SoC (labeled as KMR2W0009M)

    • Intel PMB9933 Baseband Processor

    • Maxim Integrated MAX77804K (System PSoC), making a return appearance from the Galaxy S5

    • Broadcom BCM4753IA1, likely GPS receiver

    • Wolfson Microelectronics WM5110E Low Power Audio System

    • RF Micro Devices RF8095 Multi-mode - Multi-band Power Amplifier

    • Skyworks 7851 Antenna Switch

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Image 1/1: Intel [http://www2.techinsights.com/l/8892/2016-04-22/2ncvfr|PMB5747|new_window=true]  RF Transceiver
  • ICs at the front of the pack board:

    • Intel PMB5747 RF Transceiver

    • Samsung S2MPS13 Power Management IC

    • SWKT GRG78 Antenna Switch Module

    • W906A1 L1411

    • SKC TI 45I AHCX

    • 04424 02163 S3FWRN S42403

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Image 1/3: This daughterboard, located at the bottom of the device, is home to several components: Image 2/3: Micro USB 2.0 port Image 3/3: Capacitative touch soft buttons
  • Time to clean up and remove the last few pieces of the Alpha puzzle.

  • This daughterboard, located at the bottom of the device, is home to several components:

    • Micro USB 2.0 port

    • Capacitative touch soft buttons

    • Microphone

    • Antenna spring contacts

    • 0055 1407 7899 (we suspect this is another Cypress CapSense capacitive touch-sensing controller, like in the Galaxy S5)

    • Home button switch (on the back)

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Image 1/2: That's quite a bit of disassembly to replace  a common-failure part. Image 2/2: That's quite a bit of disassembly to replace  a common-failure part.
  • With the daughterboard removed, we can now peel out the home button cable.

  • That's quite a bit of disassembly to replace a common-failure part.

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Image 1/3: Perhaps the Alpha was intended to attain the same waterproof rating as its older brother, but something went awry? Image 2/3: The headphone jack's home is a blobular mess of a cable, akin to the iPhone's [guide|22106|front-facing camera and sensor cable]—with the noteworthy exception of the Alpha's front-facing camera living on its own. Image 3/3: On the Alpha's cable, we find the headphone jack, earpiece speaker, microphone, volume button switches, and an ambient light sensor.
  • Here's a rubber gasket, sealing the area around the headphone jack—presumably for protection from water damage.

    • Perhaps the Alpha was intended to attain the same waterproof rating as its older brother, but something went awry?

  • The headphone jack's home is a blobular mess of a cable, akin to the iPhone's front-facing camera and sensor cable—with the noteworthy exception of the Alpha's front-facing camera living on its own.

  • On the Alpha's cable, we find the headphone jack, earpiece speaker, microphone, volume button switches, and an ambient light sensor.

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Image 1/3: [https://www.ifixit.com/Tools/Tweezers/IF145-020-2|Tweezers|new_window=true] are the tool of choice to peel up these lightly-adhered delicate little guys. Image 2/3: An antenna interconnect cable comes up first, and then the power button switch. Image 3/3: While the size of these cables puts them at risk of tearing, having so many isn't a bad thing. Separating components out into modular, individually-replaceable components makes repairs easier and cheaper.
  • The tiny cable parade continues!

  • Tweezers are the tool of choice to peel up these lightly-adhered delicate little guys.

  • An antenna interconnect cable comes up first, and then the power button switch.

  • While the size of these cables puts them at risk of tearing, having so many isn't a bad thing. Separating components out into modular, individually-replaceable components makes repairs easier and cheaper.

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Image 1/3: Probing and prying at the speaker reveals it's adhered in place much more strongly than we expected—essentially using the midframe as half of the speaker box. Image 2/3: Once again, the [https://www.ifixit.com/Tools/iOpener/IF145-198-2|iOpener|new_window=true] prevails, softening the tar-like adhesive enough that we can pop the noisemaker up and out. Image 3/3: Once again, the [https://www.ifixit.com/Tools/iOpener/IF145-198-2|iOpener|new_window=true] prevails, softening the tar-like adhesive enough that we can pop the noisemaker up and out.
  • With the inner midframe exhausted, we turn to the outer frame in hopes of freeing its speaker and vibrator for your inspection.

  • Probing and prying at the speaker reveals it's adhered in place much more strongly than we expected—essentially using the midframe as half of the speaker box.

  • Once again, the iOpener prevails, softening the tar-like adhesive enough that we can pop the noisemaker up and out.

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Image 1/2: Looks like Samsung didn't get their hands on [guide|29206|Apple's newest silent alert system|stepid=69039], or they deemed it a silly investment. Image 2/2: Looks like Samsung didn't get their hands on [guide|29206|Apple's newest silent alert system|stepid=69039], or they deemed it a silly investment.

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Image 1/2: The battery is incredibly easy to remove and replace. Image 2/2: The display is one of the first components out, making replacement a little faster. However, copious adhesive and ultra thin display glass makes the job tougher than ever.
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha Repairability Score: 5 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair).

    • The battery is incredibly easy to remove and replace.

    • The display is one of the first components out, making replacement a little faster. However, copious adhesive and ultra thin display glass makes the job tougher than ever.

    • Once you get the device open, several components are modular and fairly easy to replace, such as the cameras, power button switch, vibrator motor, and speakers.

    • The display assembly is held in with a significant amount of adhesive and requires very careful prying and a considerable amount of heat to remove without cracking the thin glass or cutting cables.

    • Replacing anything other than the battery requires first removing the display, risking extra damage on the way to a repair.

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13 Comments

Which company is providing the Gyro for the Alpha

jamestrenthem - Reply

Merci pour le travail.

sfian8 - Reply

from the guide, I have an idea that the display assembly was only attached to the middle frame, so you can get to the mother board just by removing the screws without taking the display panel from the middle frame, and the internal components can be repair easily

am I right?

william - Reply

William you should be able to. Just be sure to disconnect any and all wires going to the Mobo (especially power).

ZOL BAEL - Reply

Where is the RAM Chip? I know that Galaxy S4 uses the Samsung K3QF2F200E RAM chip. But for Galaxy Alpha? Wich one is? Thank you!

alexandruk24 - Reply

Hi. I read this article and I was confused, because from the pictures, it seems that William's wondering was right. I was searching about teardown videos on youtube, until I found this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPvigv5r...

This article is a nice article, but it is totally wrong about the disassembling of this phone. It is not necessary to remove the screen from the middle frame and you don't need any heating for doing this. Just remove the screws from the back panel and use a plastic tool to pop out the back panel from the front one.

So then... Repairability score: 10

Kon - Reply

Youre true that seems easy to open it, but if you want to change the charging port , you got no choice to remove the lcd. My thought are that on this video, the guy already opened the phone before, because normally the screen are a bit harder to split from the back of the frame.

FixMyMobile -

Looking for the JTAG connection - has anyone been able to identify it?

Will Jongenelen - Reply

I want to change usb board. Do i have to take out the LCD?

George Katsogiannos - Reply

Where is the internal storage located? (Thanks in advance.)

tim - Reply

Great Tear Down....but PLEASE, does anyone know where the INTERNAL RAM STORAGE is?

Albert - Reply

I took my screen off and some of the copper foil on the main board came off. Will this missing copper film keep my screen from working now?

tungsten - Reply

hi! quick question: after replacing the camera glass, the phone does not connect to network properly, loosing signal or disconnecting. what do you think is the problem? after first re-assably the antenna was wrongly placed getting pressed.should this be the problem? should i try to change the antenna with a new one? looking forward for your help. thank you!

Alex Para - Reply

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