Tools Featured in this Teardown

Video Overview

Introduction

The first of the Android Wear teardowns are here: Say hello to our little Samsung Gear Live and LG G Watch friends! Join us as we journey inside two of the newest smartwatches.

Can't get your fix fill from the teardowns? Come say hello on Facebook, see iFixit's internal workings on Instagram, or learn about repair on Twitter!

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

Image 1/2: The official tech specs:
  • We could very well be witnessing the birth of the smartwatch revolution. Google has unleashed not one, not two, but three smartwatches onto the battlefield. We have before us the Gear Live of those three fabled smartwatches.

  • The official tech specs:

    • 1.63” Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 320 x 320 pixels (278 ppi)

    • 1.2 GHz processor

    • 300 mAh Battery (rated at max 1 day of usage)

    • 4 GB internal flash storage with 512 MB RAM

    • Digital compass, accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate monitor

    • Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy

Add Comment

Image 1/3: This will warrant more than a few comparisons between the two—after all, you don't want to buy the wrong smartwatch, arewerite?
  • Taking a page out of the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" book, the new Gear Live looks eerily similar to the Samsung Gear 2 we took apart back in April.

    • This will warrant more than a few comparisons between the two—after all, you don't want to buy the wrong smartwatch, arewerite?

  • If your smartwatch was ever arrested, would you be able to identify it out of a police lineup of smartwatches?

Add Comment

Image 1/1: The back of the smartwatch houses the heart rate monitor and reveals the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True_name|true model number|new_window=true]: SM-R382.
  • The bands come off in a snap. It's the same design geared towards replaceability as found in the Gear 2. A neat little pull lever disengages one of the holding pins, allowing the band to roam free from the watch.

  • The back of the smartwatch houses the heart rate monitor and reveals the true model number: SM-R382.

Add Comment

Image 1/1: Coincidence? We think so.
  • Off come the Torx T5 screws found on the back of the Gear Live — the same type and size as in the LG G Watch.

    • Coincidence? We think so.

Add Comment

  • Unbeknownst to unsuspecting fixers—but knownst to us—these otherwise amiable T5 Torx screws are non-magnetic. Curses!

  • We've often seen a single non-magnetized screw in iPhones, near the digital compass—this may be a clever trick to avoid interference with the sensor.

    • Our best guess though, is that it was done to prevent Magneto or a metal bender from taking complete control of a Gear Live smartwatch.

Add Comment

Image 1/3: The Gear Live pops apart into two pieces — the front display assembly where all the magic happens, and the rear cover where the power lies.
  • Screws removed, all you need to gain entry is a plastic opening tool to work around the perimeter—just like the Gear 2.

  • The Gear Live pops apart into two pieces — the front display assembly where all the magic happens, and the rear cover where the power lies.

Add Comment

Image 1/3: We use a spudger to pry the lightly-adhered battery contact pad from its roost in the rear cover, and then use some sweet tweezers to pull the powerhouse out of the rear panel.
  • First off, let's take a peek at the Gear Live's battery.

  • We use a spudger to pry the lightly-adhered battery contact pad from its roost in the rear cover, and then use some sweet tweezers to pull the powerhouse out of the rear panel.

  • The battery inscription says "1.14 Wh." According to mathemagics and a 300 mAh battery, we conclude this watch runs on a fairly standard 3.8 V design.

Add Comment

Image 1/3: Hey, what's this? A Bluetooth / ''Wi-Fi'' antenna? This thing isn't supposed to have Wi-Fi! We don't know if Samsung is hiding anything for the future, but we are quite adept at reading cable inscriptions.
  • Next goes the power button ribbon cable. It was holding on like a champ for a while, but eventually our tweezers overtook it.

  • Hey, what's this? A Bluetooth / Wi-Fi antenna? This thing isn't supposed to have Wi-Fi! We don't know if Samsung is hiding anything for the future, but we are quite adept at reading cable inscriptions.

  • Also notable is the liquid damage indicator. So although this device is "IP67 water resistant," we don't necessarily recommend going into a pool with it.

Add Comment

Image 1/3: This is also a limited-release vibrator motor — #449 of fifty billion produced.*
  • Next we focus our attention on the vibrator assembly. We definitely know this is the right vibrator inside, since the assembly also contains the Gear Live's SM-R382 model number.

    • This is also a limited-release vibrator motor — #449 of fifty billion produced.*

    • (*Our estimate based on no real knowledge of actual manufacturing numbers.)

Add Comment

Image 1/2: The board comes out after a gentle nudge from our trusty tweezers.
  • Next order of beeswax: we disconnect the display cable in order to get our hands on the motherboard.

  • The board comes out after a gentle nudge from our trusty tweezers.

  • The wee motherboard bears an even wee-er daughterboard layered right on top, where we find the power input connectors and the tiny biometric (heart rate) sensor.

Add Comment

Image 1/2: Maxim Integrated [link|http://pdf.datasheetarchive.com/indexerfiles/gl/Datasheets-UEA1/DSAFRAZ007630.pdf|MAX77836|new_window=true] Low-Voltage Input, 3V/3.3V/5V/ Adjustable Output, Step-Up DC-DC Converter
  • With a bit of patient spudgering, the boards are disengaged—leaving the motherboard stripped and primed for some primo IC analysis:

    • Maxim Integrated MAX77836 Low-Voltage Input, 3V/3.3V/5V/ Adjustable Output, Step-Up DC-DC Converter

    • Broadcom BCM4334W Bluetooth 4.0 / 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi / FM Receiver

    • STMicroelectronics STM32F401B ARM-Cortex M4 MCU with 128KB Flash

    • Samsung KMF5X0005A-A210 512 MB DRAM package with the Qualcomm APQ8026 System on Chip layered beneath

    • Qualcomm PM8226 power management IC

    • InvenSense MP92M 9-axis Gyro + Accelerometer + Compass

    • InvenSense ICS-43430 microphone

Add Comment

Image 1/3: Beneath the thermal pad, a Cypress Semiconductor CYTMA545 touchscreen controller blinks its eyes under the bright lights of the teardown table.
  • Happily, we're not yet done tweezing, because this little thermal pad needs some tweezing. Did we mention that "tweezing" is both useful and fun to say?

  • Beneath the thermal pad, a Cypress Semiconductor CYTMA545 touchscreen controller blinks its eyes under the bright lights of the teardown table.

  • Would that the display itself could also be tweezed. Sadly, it seems to be glued into the metal chassis.

Add Comment

Image 1/2: The band detaches readily, and more or less like a regular watch band—making replacements a simple, worry-free affair.
  • Samsung Gear Live Repairability Score: 8 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

    • The band detaches readily, and more or less like a regular watch band—making replacements a simple, worry-free affair.

    • Despite the water-resistant construction, opening the case is no big deal. Bring your T5 driver and pry tools, but don't expect a fight.

    • The battery is readily accessed and replaced—with a friendly "Pull" tab to cheer you along.

    • Several small adhered-in flexible PCBs will present a challenge during repairs.

    • The fused display assembly, glued right into the chassis, makes screen replacement a dubious and costly proposition.

Add Comment

18 Comments

Is there a chip on the device that would support Wifi? What is more power friendly: BT 4.0 or Wifi? So many questions!

BeingBoston - Reply

BT 4.0 is less enegy expensive

mpx220vomar -

What about the charging dock... it should get the same teardown treatment! :-)

Raphael Savina - Reply

where is the mic on this thing? the LG had a mic. also is there no speaker? what is the point if no speaker/mic??

Thomas - Reply

Just love teardowns! They are so cool!

Armen Orbelyan - Reply

BT and Wifi use the same range of frequencies so the antenna works for both, doesn't mean the watch has it.

Gabriel - Reply

Can you enable or add a wifi / bluetooth chip/antenna to the device though with soldering and such

Jay Dobbs -

What's the crystal made of--Gorilla Glass? Sapphire?

roebling - Reply

Does anyone have an estimation of the BOM ?

virginie - Reply

where can i buy parts? i googled and found nothing even on ebay.

i'm looking for a rear cover. mine cracked badly when i tried to snap on the charging piece

J S Xender - Reply

Did you find a parts supplier? I'm looking for the same thing. One of the charging contacts has disappeared!

Michael Fawcett -

Same here. Looking for a new plastic backing.

Nick Proszkow -

The voice commands started not to work properly. Now I have to scream besides the fone to use it. I tried a voice recorder app and realised that the mic volume is extremelly low (but it is working). Someone have an ideia of how to fix it? I opened the watch looking for something to clean, but I culdn't find. It appeared that it has a kind of foam protecting the mic hole (I believe it is because the IP67), but I was affraid of remove this foam.

Rafaello Perotto - Reply

Where can I fine a replacement back cover for the Gear Live? One of the little square charging contacts fell off of mine : (

Dan Termani - Reply

Did you find a solution? I have the same problem... :(

William Mann -

I had the same thing happen to my watch. I found a replacement charging connector on eBay. Took about two weeks to arrive, and I'm just about to tear the watch apart now.

Link here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Original-Chargin...

Myron Pauls - Reply

Did it work just changing the piece? I have the same problem with my watch.

Erick -

My Gear Live touch screen stopped working. Can it be IFIXed? Tom

shock2me - Reply

Add Comment