Video Overview


What are we all searching for in life? Happiness? Money? Bobby Fischer? Samsung sets out to answer that question with their newest in the Galaxy S line. What we all need is no more than a life companion. So ditch the real-life social interactions, and pick up your new life companion: the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Accompany us on all of our latest teardown excursions on Twitter and Facebook!

This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your Samsung Galaxy S4, use our service manual.

  1. With the newest addition to the Galaxy S line, Samsung has decided to ditch the roman numerals. Let's take a look into the specs of the Galaxy S4 (not SIV):
    • With the newest addition to the Galaxy S line, Samsung has decided to ditch the roman numerals. Let's take a look into the specs of the Galaxy S4 (not SIV):

      • 5" display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 at 441 ppi (just shy of the HTC One's 468 ppi)

      • 16, 32, or 64 GB of internal storage, expandable with up to 64 GB of external microSDXC storage

      • 2 GB RAM

      • 13 MP rear-facing camera and 2 MP front-facing camera

    • iFixit Public Service Announcement! Please do not fix things while driving. Yes, this does include using the iFixit App!

  2. Straight out of the box, we are already sighing with relief…it's a removable battery!
    • Straight out of the box, we are already sighing with relief…it's a removable battery!

    • This trend makes us oh-so-happy! Samsung is doing the right thing for their customers and the environment.

    • Not only is the battery removable, it even comes removed! The rear panel rests upside-down on the device, so we don't even have to release any clips to open it up.

    • Resting in the battery cavity is our micro-SIM card delivery system: an advanced piece of plastic from whence the micro-SIM card came. It provides super-important numbers for the life of your micro-SIM card, all in one easy-to-lose thin piece of plastic!

    • We know it may be comparing Apples to Oranges, but we are tempted to see how Samsung's S4 differs from Apple's latest: the iPhone 5.

      • The S4 rocks a 5" full HD Super AMOLED display, compared to the iPhone 5's Retina display, which is a 4" IPS LCD.

      • The Galaxy S4 is considerably larger than the iPhone 5, clocking in at 5.38" x 2.71" x .31" and weighing 4.6 ounces. The iPhone 5, for comparison, measures 4.87" x 2.69" x 0.30" and weighs 3.95 ounces.

      • Both phones are available with 16, 32, or 64 GB of internal storage, but the S4 also offers up to 64 GB of microSDXC storage.

    • One of the acclaimed new features of the S4 is Smart Pause, which automatically pauses video playback when the user looks away from the screen.

    • Like all good "Life Companions," the S4 wants the attention it deserves—when it's talking to you, you'd better be looking!

    • It wasn't long after we started playing with Smart Pause for ourselves that we knew we'd have to find a way to trick it...

    • After a quick test drive, it's time to take the battery back out and get to work. New software features are cool, but we're much more interested in getting down to what powers them.

    • The back panel is as easy to remove as they come—a fingernail in the groove is all you need to get this phone open.

    • You put the battery in, you pull the battery out, you put the battery in…and you shake it all about!

    • The lithium-ion battery is rated at 3.8 V and 2600 mAh (9.88 Wh). Its advertised useful life allows for up to 7 hours of talk time, and up to 12.5 days of standby.

    • With no time to waste, we slide the pre-installed micro-SIM card out of the way.

    • Just like in the previous iteration, a few screws hold the plastic midframe in place.

      • We were hoping that we'd find a magnesium midframe like in the S4's great-grandparent. Alas, it looks like we won't be playing with fire in this Galaxy.

    • After removing the screws, there are still a few clips securing the plastic midframe of the S4 in place.

    • They are easily released with the help of a plastic opening tool, a tool that is truly out of this world. Our first view of the circuit board is rather familiar.

    • Remaining in the midframe are the springy volume and power buttons, amply-sized speaker, and a liquid damage indicator.

    • With little effort, we remove the speaker assembly from the midframe.

    • Unlike the dual front-facing speakers in the HTC One, the S4 keeps its primary speaker down at the bottom of the back of the phone.

      • This is the prime location for a speaker if your ears are attached to your hand while holding the device.

    • While the sound quality may not be hot and fresh out the kitchen, the speaker does pack quite the punch and can pump out your favorite mashups loud and clear.

    • With the midframe off, several connectors and a single screw are all that hold the motherboard in place. Our two favorite tools are all we need to get it out.

    • Just how great does Samsung think their phone is? If you couldn't tell from their unveiling show, an internal stamp informs us this device is straightup 1337.

    • Before we can examine the motherboard, we need to pull off the rear-facing camera.

      • The gravitational attraction between the motherboard and the camera as we pull them apart is roughly 0.0000000000098 Newtons, so this task is easily accomplished by our team of strapping young technical writers.

    • Very much unlike HTC's recent disregard for the megapixel race, Samsung has opted for a rear-facing camera boasting 13 megapixels. It also sports the now-standard LED flash, a back-illuminated sensor, and the ability to record full 1080p HD video at 30 fps.

    • Resting atop the motherboard is the SIM/microSDXC board.

    • On one hand, the modular design of this component makes it possible to replace if you happen to jam something into one of the two slots—although you will need to replace both at once.

    • On the other hand, the adhesive securing it to the motherboard makes it something you wouldn't replace unless you had to.

    • Qualcomm MDM9215M 4G GSM/UMTS/LTE modem

    • Qualcomm PM8917 power management

    • ARM Holdings MBG965H (right)

    • Samsung K3QF2F200E 2 GB LPDDR3 RAM (we suspect the Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T 1.9 GHz Quad-Core CPU lurks below)

    • Toshiba THGBM5G7A4JBA4W 16 GB eMMC (eMMC integrates a NAND flash memory and a controller chip in a single package)

    • Qualcomm WCD9310 audio codec

    • Broadcom BCM4335 Single-Chip 5G Wi-Fi MAC/Baseband/Radio (thanks to a tip from a user, and our friends at chipworks, we believe there's something underneath this chip)

    • Bosch Sensortec BMP180 barometric pressure sensor (left) - Samsung outputs the height in meters as second parameter.

    • Reflowing the Broadcom module off the motherboard reveals a stow-away located beneath it: a Skyworks SKY85303-11 2.4 GHz, 256 QAM WLAN/Bluetooth® Front-End Module.

    • Moving over to the other side of the Galaxy:

      • Skyworks 77619 power amplifier module for quad-band GSM/EDGE

      • Qualcomm WTR1605L seven-band 4G LTE chip (same one found in the Nexus 4)

      • SWA GNF09

      • Broadcom 20794S1A standalone NFC chip

      • Maxim MAX77803 microcontroller

      • Silicon Image 8240BO MHL 2.0 transmitter

      • Qualcomm PM8821 power management IC

    • With the motherboard out of the way, we can focus our efforts on removing components attached to the front of the device.

    • The first component out is the standard 3.5 mm headphone jack. A swift flick of our trusty spudger, and poof! It's out!

    • Samsung left no useful space un-adorned with extra components—the headphone jack is home to the status LED and the first of a pair of IR sensors.

    • Poke poke, flick flick, tweeeeeze!

    • With all of the easily-removed components out of the way, we get to work peeling up the remaining, slightly-adhered parts filling the Galaxy S4's display assembly.

    • First out is a multi-purpose component that connects the earpiece speaker, IR blaster, and a sensor array hosting the ambient light sensor and a second IR sensor.

      • The placement of the two IR sensors on either side of the earpiece speaker explains how Samsung's new Air View/Air Gesture feature operates. By comparing IR light reflected from your hand into each of the sensors, the phone can track sideways motion as you gesture without touching the screen.

    • The next victim of our anti-adhesive prying campaign is the vibrator motor.

    • The S4 features a linear oscillator vibration motor, similar to those found in its Android brethren, the Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus.

    • This particular motor is labeled 53329 34AVCV.

    • The daughterboard is home to the full-featured micro USB port. With MHL and USB OTG support, users can use this port for HDMI output and USB peripherals in addition to charging and transferring data.

    • Removing the daughterboard from the device, we get a view of some of its secrets.

      • Sensirion SHTC1 humidity and temperature sensor

      • RFMD RF1119 antenna controller

      • S1029 6914 (this one appears to be a voice microphone)

    • The front panel assembly is the final piece to the puzzle.

    • Unfortunately, the display and front glass are fused, with a layer of optical adhesive. The glass is then adhered to the plastic display frame, making a single assembly. Not a big surprise.

    • Getting a look at the second liquid damage indicator on the back of the screen, and—whoa, what's this hiding down there?

      • Looks like we've spotted the touchscreen controller, a Synaptics S5000B.

      • This chip is responsible for the S4's super-sensitive touchscreen, which even works with gloves.

    • Samsung Galaxy S4 Repairability Score: 8 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

      • The battery can be replaced in seconds, without any tools.

      • Very easy to open and access internal components.

      • There are only 11 screws in the entire device, all standard Phillips #0 (no proprietary or security sizes).

      • Most of the smaller components are modular and can be replaced individually, but several of them are adhered in place, increasing replacement difficulty.

      • The glass is fused to both the display and the display frame, increasing repair costs.

      • You'll have to go through the entire phone in order to replace the front panel, since everything is built into the back of it.

David Hodson

Member since: 04/13/2010

133,036 Reputation

127 Guides authored


What's the purpose of the MDM9215M given the Snapdragon 600 would seem to have an integrated modem?

brentgreen - Reply

Can you please add to the teardown what is the brand and model of the Wi-Fi chip?

Shahar Rosner - Reply

can you figure out the 13mp cmos sensor provider and other sensors vendors, such as gesture, RGB, and etc.?

barrytw - Reply

where do they hide the gyros and accelerometers?

Richard Boeth - Reply

Hello Richard

You may find all Acceleration and Gyro Sensor related solution on this link probably.

Kindly be advised, this one is not my personal website, but had helped me.

Hope this may solve your as mine.

Sorry for so late reply, hope by now you may have rectified your problem, but this one is for someone who requires it.

Have a nice day ahead

kaushik bagchi -

View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 49

Past 7 Days: 325

Past 30 Days: 1,237

All Time: 727,327