Video Overview

Introduction

Samsung is back, baby! The world's biggest smartphone maker kicks off 2017 by launching what is very nearly the world's biggest smartphone—with its monster 6.2-inch display, the Galaxy S8+ packs a visual wallop. But how will it fare on the teardown table? Let's get the exploded view.

Oh, were you looking for our standard Galaxy S8 teardown? Well, look no further.

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This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, use our service manual.

You've seen the slick exterior of the S8+ in Samsung's promotional imagery, but we're going deeper. A few of this teardown's expected waypoints include: 6.2-inch, dual-edge, Super AMOLED display with 2960 × 1440 resolution (529 ppi) Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (or Samsung Exynos 8895) processor, with 4 GB RAM
  • You've seen the slick exterior of the S8+ in Samsung's promotional imagery, but we're going deeper. A few of this teardown's expected waypoints include:

    • 6.2-inch, dual-edge, Super AMOLED display with 2960 × 1440 resolution (529 ppi)

    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (or Samsung Exynos 8895) processor, with 4 GB RAM

    • 12-megapixel rear camera with dual pixel autofocus and 4K video capture; 8-megapixel selfie camera

    • 64 GB internal storage, expandable via MicroSD card (up to 256 GB additional)

    • IP68 water resistance rating

    • Android 7.0 Nougat

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Ports on the bottom include a headphone jack, USB-C connector, microphone port, and speaker grille. The front face is smooth and very nearly  featureless—the physical home button has been replaced by a pressure sensor that lives under the display, making this a truly monolithic device.
  • Ports on the bottom include a headphone jack, USB-C connector, microphone port, and speaker grille.

  • The front face is smooth and very nearly featureless—the physical home button has been replaced by a pressure sensor that lives under the display, making this a truly monolithic device.

    • Meanwhile, the fingerprint reader has been moved to an awkward new home on the rear. Apparently Samsung found an easier solution than Apple's rumored in-screen sensor.

  • Lastly, frequent SIM-swappers take note: there are two nigh-identical openings in the top of the S8+. One is for your SIM eject tool, and the other houses a microphone. Don't mix those up.

Samsung went with easier solution in regard of fingerprint reader because synaptic did not finish developing the on screen sensor; while they are under pressure to release a new flagship in a rather empty market for them after the Note 7 fiasco.

moonsailor180 - Reply

Having done this teardown and knowing what the inside of the phone looks like. What kind of damage am I looking at if I accidentally stuck the Sim ejection tool in the mic hole?

Jonathan - Reply

I would love to understand the damage (especially to the IP rating) that may have been caused by pushing the sim ejector through the top mic hole.

Robert Lagus - Reply

Time for a few quick comparisons before we get down to brass tacks. In the three-fer, we've got the S7 Edge on the left, S8+ in the center, and S8 on the right.
  • Time for a few quick comparisons before we get down to brass tacks.

    • In the three-fer, we've got the S7 Edge on the left, S8+ in the center, and S8 on the right.

    • Thanks to its thinner bezels and unusual 18.5:9 aspect ratio, the S8+ manages to pack a 6.2" display in about the same form factor as the 5.5" S7 Edge.

  • Stacked against last year's offerings, the only noteworthy difference is the migrating flash assembly and relocated fingerprint reader.

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  • Enough delay—we're eager to see inside. Luckily, by now we know the drill.

  • Plenty of heat from our iOpener softens the adhesive enough to pry the rear glass up and start battling our way in.

    • We're definitely making it look easy here—Samsung made opening this phone the hardest part of any repair. For the unabridged version, check out our S7 repair video guide.

  • And we're almost in...

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...But for all our talk, this rear panel does present something new. The fingerprint reader lives in the rear panel, with a  very short cable tying it to the motherboard. It looks like Samsung designed this cable to safely pull free with the rear panel. With almost no slack in the cable, the gentlest lift of the panel yanks the cable right out from its tiny pop connector. This makes it decidedly less damage-prone than certain fingerprint sensor cables we've seen before. Cable dispatched, and we've got the glass out of the way. The S8+ and S8 follow the S6's move to a glass rear panel. This design has saved Samsung the engineering effort that goes into integrating antennas into a metal-backed phone, at the cost of durability and repairability.
  • ...But for all our talk, this rear panel does present something new. The fingerprint reader lives in the rear panel, with a very short cable tying it to the motherboard.

    • It looks like Samsung designed this cable to safely pull free with the rear panel. With almost no slack in the cable, the gentlest lift of the panel yanks the cable right out from its tiny pop connector. This makes it decidedly less damage-prone than certain fingerprint sensor cables we've seen before.

  • Cable dispatched, and we've got the glass out of the way. The S8+ and S8 follow the S6's move to a glass rear panel. This design has saved Samsung the engineering effort that goes into integrating antennas into a metal-backed phone, at the cost of durability and repairability.

    • Twice the crackability and a heck of an opening procedure won't help when it's time to score the repairability.

What is the fingerprint reader made from this year? The S7 fingerprint reader in the home button was prone to scratching and peeling last year. Is the fingerprint reader covered by glass this year in the S8 and S8+? Very curious to know as I like things to last and wear well.

Rhys Michael - Reply

We would have liked to start by disconnecting the battery, but its connector lies trapped beneath the midframe. With the midframe coming out in pieces, things are looking very similar to the S7 and S7 Edge. This time the upper antenna assembly is combined with the NFC/wireless charging panel, like on the Note7.
  • We would have liked to start by disconnecting the battery, but its connector lies trapped beneath the midframe.

  • With the midframe coming out in pieces, things are looking very similar to the S7 and S7 Edge.

  • This time the upper antenna assembly is combined with the NFC/wireless charging panel, like on the Note7.

    • The coil should also perform Samsung Pay functions, duplicating MST—presumably using the coil as an electromagnet to act as a credit card strip would on a card reader.

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Let's hope that Samsung's improved testing procedures are what the Note7 was missing, because this design looks about the same to us. And it's still a bear to pry it off that adhesive. Even with the battery fully removed, the glue won't let go. The S8+ features a 13.48 Wh (3500 mAh at 3.85 V) battery—the exact same capacity as the Note7, and a little less than the S7 Edge's 13.86 Wh.
  • Let's hope that Samsung's improved testing procedures are what the Note7 was missing, because this design looks about the same to us.

    • And it's still a bear to pry it off that adhesive. Even with the battery fully removed, the glue won't let go.

  • The S8+ features a 13.48 Wh (3500 mAh at 3.85 V) battery—the exact same capacity as the Note7, and a little less than the S7 Edge's 13.86 Wh.

  • Samsung continues to beat Apple in the battery capacity wars, with the iPhone 7+ weighing in at 11.1 Wh (2900 mAh at 3.82 V).

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We pop out the action-packed motherboard and start plucking off cameras. The "Hero" Sony of old has been traded in for the "Dream1" Sony in the rear-facing/main camera. Labeling variations aside though, this purports to be the same camera hardware as in the S7/S7 Edge—Samsung has refined the software, nothing more. Next we have the front-facing camera and another iris scanning camera, previously seen in the Note7.

The image sensor is also different. Being an IMX333. On top of that the ISP has been upgraded. Far from just "sofware improvements, nothing more" I could tell the moment I took a RAW photo on both using 500 iso. Despite using RAW, bypassing the jpeg processing, the S8 image was noticeably less noisy with much less color blotching

djlobb01 - Reply

While "RAW" in theory is unprocessed, there's absolutely no guarantee it's the actual raw image from the camera itself, there can easily be postprocessing.

Anyway, does it really matter? Even if "just" software improvements, the end result is a quite improved image.

losdlosd - Reply

We push the cameras off to the side in order to pore over this motherboard's silicon. Our findings include:
  • We push the cameras off to the side in order to pore over this motherboard's silicon. Our findings include:

    • Samsung K3UH5H50MM-NGCJ 4 GB LPDDR4 RAM layered over the MSM8998 Snapdragon 835

    • Toshiba THGAF4G9N4LBAIR 64 GB UFS (NAND flash + controller)

    • Qualcomm Aqstic WCD9341 audio codec

    • Skyworks 78160-11

    • Avago AFEM-9066

    • Silicon Mitus SM5720 Interface PMIC

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And on the reverse side:
  • And on the reverse side:

    • Qualcomm WTR5975 RF transceiver

    • Murata KM7118064 Wi-Fi module

    • Avago AFEM-9053

    • Qualcomm PM8998 (similar to PM8920)

    • NXP 80T71 NFC controller

isn't the model number for the nfc chip 80T17

buvikpeter - Reply

We extract the I/O daughterboard. There's lots of ingress proofing in evidence here, including the speaker grille surround and the tiny seals on the USB Type-C connector and headphone jack—all part of that IP68 rating. The headphone jack itself remains a modular affair—good news for repairability, as this is a high-wear component. The headphone jack itself remains a modular affair—good news for repairability, as this is a high-wear component.
  • We extract the I/O daughterboard. There's lots of ingress proofing in evidence here, including the speaker grille surround and the tiny seals on the USB Type-C connector and headphone jack—all part of that IP68 rating.

  • The headphone jack itself remains a modular affair—good news for repairability, as this is a high-wear component.

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After a peek at the heat pipe and contact pad button cables, we extract a few more bits from the chassis. Out comes ye olde vibrator motor. Also the nifty sensor array (with moisture indicator):
  • After a peek at the heat pipe and contact pad button cables, we extract a few more bits from the chassis.

  • Out comes ye olde vibrator motor.

  • Also the nifty sensor array (with moisture indicator):

    • RGB LED (probably)

    • IR emitter (for the iris scanning camera, maybe)

    • Rangefinder (probably) for dimming the screen during calls.

I thought the IR camera/emitter on the front should be part of the iris scanning system and not pulse reading

Alexandru Bauer - Reply

Exactly. Yellow is the proximity sensor, orange an IR LED for the iris scanner and red the notification LED, as stated.

Hubert Stettner - Reply

Not as stated, the description says it's for illuminating fingers for pulse reading,,,

djlobb01 -

On a hunt for the mysterious home not-button, we dig into the display despite previous... difficulties. Luckily this fused display/digitizer peels up from its frame with a decent struggle, but no damage. Hoping to find some hidden detail under the display cabling, we peel it up and find—zilch. No model info and no visible pressure sensor. Better luck next time.
  • On a hunt for the mysterious home not-button, we dig into the display despite previous... difficulties.

  • Luckily this fused display/digitizer peels up from its frame with a decent struggle, but no damage.

  • Hoping to find some hidden detail under the display cabling, we peel it up and find—zilch. No model info and no visible pressure sensor. Better luck next time.

There is a force sensor..hope everybody can see it which connects to the display/timing/touch controller board

Prabash Kasun - Reply

This interests me most.... So there is no pressure sensor at all?? How does the S8 register a home button "press" without any kind of pressure pad/sensor?

Caleb - Reply

A pressure sensor isn't needed, it just needs to see how big an imprint your finger is making as the harder you press, the bigger the contact area is on the screen

Tobias Smullet -

that seems like a conductive layer beneath with a sponge covering. this could be a force sensor.

Kelly Hofer - Reply

That's it for the S8+. If you're still hungry for more teardown, warp on over to our analysis of the standard Galaxy S8.
  • That's it for the S8+. If you're still hungry for more teardown, warp on over to our analysis of the standard Galaxy S8.

  • Meanwhile, it's time to give this phone a score.

Hiya!

I was wondering if you guys could maybe do a comparison?

1) like the SD835 vs the A10 size.

2) volume of battery on S8 vs iphone7

3) size, efficency and density of the two motherboards (i think iphones is much smaller)

4) size and effectiveness of the two vibration motors (since S8 seems 1/3 the size)

4) also could you compare the two speakers (S8 and iphone7) against the and dual front speaker moto phone?

I ask because once again I am under the impression that the moto speakers are 1/3 the size of the main speakers in the two leaders and the same size as the ear speaker on the two.

5) and also maybe the effectiveness of the hydrophobic coating on the moto phones vs the two leaders?

6) and finally compare their internals density and effeicency to the Xiaomi Redmi 3s (because as far as I know, that is the smallest 5inch phone with a 4000mA battery)

I think that would be a really cool and enlightning.

love your work guys.

cheers.

Dhruv Halwasiya - Reply

Final Thoughts
  • Many components are modular and can be replaced independently.
  • The battery can be replaced, but tough adhesive and a glued-on rear panel make it unnecessarily difficult.
  • Front and back glass make for double the crackability, and strong adhesive on both makes it tough to access the internals for any repair.
  • Because of the curved screen, replacing the front glass without destroying the display is extremely difficult.
Repairability Score
4
Repairability 4 out of 10
(10 is easiest to repair)

19 Comments

Hi: the breakdown exercise did you get a positive id on who is providing the USB-C controller chip? Thx!

Chitra Sundaram - Reply

I don't like glue on the battery and its not just that its the same capacity as we already see on the Samsung Galaxy S7 its kinda sad.

Janko Castvan - Reply

Why I'll always pass on these phones, that and the sorry state of Android's update system and all the stupid OEM's making their own version of Android.

Gaj B - Reply

The Galaxy Note 5 and S6 are getting Nougat. Phones from 2015... Many people upgrade after 2 years.

djlobb01 -

Well you can stick with your inferior smaller iphone. Loser

Jonny Snotrocket -

Man i now i will probably wait for one plus 5 or next google device because these two have big support on XDA community and they have regulari updates.

Janko Castvan - Reply

OnePlus are great with updates. My friend had Nougat on his OnePlus 3 before any of the leading phone makers (excluding Google Pixel obviously).

djlobb01 -

The S8/S8+ use a Sony IMX333 or Samsung S5K2L2 up from the IMX266 S5K2L1 found in last year's S7/S7E.

Jon Fridman - Reply

Thanks as always, guys. I seem to miss the speaker, though. Is it under the light gray grille?

Ah, ok. I see. It is the component in the lower midframe (https://d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfront.net/ig...).

Hubert Stettner - Reply

Do you know how the home button works since there's no pressure sensor?

Does it have a separate "taptic engine" or uses the same vibration motor?

Thanks.

Imran Husain (Imraneo) - Reply

It likely works by measuring the surface area of the finger placed on the screen. When you press harder to activate the virtual button your finger will create a larger surface area on the screen which can be measured as more force being applied.

Leo Best -

Because samsung opted for Toshiba UFS storage if they also manufacture UFS storage

http://www.samsung.com/semiconductor/pro...

Leonel Tirado - Reply

Hi. Thanks for this. Where is the LDI water damage indicator on the S8? And can you provide pictures of it? Thanks!

denis_ - Reply

hello george

diego -

que onda Jorge?

diego - Reply

Why would you expect to find a pressure sensor behind the displyay? The screen does not deform, the digitiser just has to look for the contact patch of your finger getting bigger as you press harder on that area.

Robert Littler - Reply

Open the Samsung Dex Dock as well!

mjpineda94 - Reply

Please do a teardown of the new Surface Book. If you do, I'll give you a teddy bear. ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ If you don't everyone will be like ಠ_ಠ. P;ease do it. I will give you $5: [̲̅$̲̅(̲̅5̲̅)̲̅$̲̅]

Ethan Zuo - Reply

Are the s8 and s8+ motherboards the same?

Roger Charles - Reply

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