Samsung’s Galaxy S4 is about to take the world by storm. Such a storm, in fact, that some analysts are already calling for 10 million Galaxy S4 device shipments during the first month it’s on sale. There’s no doubt it’s going to be a popular device, but is it one that you should pick up? Quite possibly, especially if the teardown video we have here is any indication. Here’s why: the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One are about to become the hottest Android handsets on the market, but we already know from a different teardown that the HTC One will be terribly hard to fix. So what about the Samsung Galaxy S4? That’s where we come in to play.
A trusted source has already gotten their hands on a Galaxy S4 and has taken it apart for the world to see in a video they sent in. In the video above, and in the photos and captions below, you’ll see and read about all of the components inside the Galaxy S4. You’ll also get an idea of just how easy it is to replace parts, should they ever break in the future. Now we’ll walk you through each part of the teardown and explain what we’re looking at.
Here we can see the basics that you’ll find after removing the back cover, including a microSD card slot, a SIM card slot, the 13-megapixel camera and the 2,600mAh battery.
The frame is off! The Galaxy S4 requires that you remove 9 screws before you can separate the front and back of the phone. In the video you’ll note that, even with the screws removed, it takes a bit of prying to actually separate the two parts. That’s good news; it means the phone is well built and sturdy.
Here our source shows us the microUSB connector, which is visible at the very bottom of the screen and is very easy to replace. Also note the small white wire that plugs into the circuit board at the bottom of the phone: that’s the antenna and it runs up the right-hand side of the device to the top circuit board, where it’s also attached.
Now we’re getting a better look at the top of the phone and the components in that half. The 13-megapixel camera module is visible as is the single LED flash, the microSD card slot and the SIM tray. Note the aforementioned white antenna wire at the bottom right-hand side of the photo. The screen (on the other side of the phone) is also plugged in to that orange clip you see on the top right.
The module has been removed, and we’re looking at the part of the phone between the display and the hardware. This is where all the silicon rests and is protected (note the padding). You can also see the screen has been unhooked at this stage (the metal clasp on the right-hand side is removed).
This is the backside of the silicon that sports the camera module, SIM card slot and microSD slot. We can see there’s 2GB of RAM and a Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor clocked at 1.9GHz, which means this is the U.S. variant as opposed to the Exynos Octa model that will ship overseas. It’s unclear how much flash storage this model has (it will ship in 16GB/32GB/64GB options), but we can see the internal RAM, too. We know we’re looking at the Wi-Fi module and other receivers here, although we can’t call them out specifically by name without a closer look.
Takeaway: Our source told us that the Galaxy S4 is incredibly easy to fix— even easier than the Galaxy S III. Why? The source explained that several components can be easily replaced, including the microSD card slot, the SIM slot, the microUSB charging port, the camera module and more. That’s great news for potential Galaxy S4 owners that are worried about problems down the line. There’s a catch, however.
Our source said the Gorilla Glass display could cause a problem. The glass on the Galaxy Note II, and on the Galaxy S III were easier to remove and you could replace the glass component with a third party purchase. Gorilla Glass is expensive, however, and our source estimates replacing it would not be a cheap endeavor… it could cost more than $200. Despite that single concern our source proclaimed it one of the “most repairable smartphones” he or she has ever worked on.
So here’s what we’ve learned: the Samsung Galaxy S4 is very easy to repair, almost infinitely easier than the unibody aluminum HTC One. You still might be out of luck if you shatter your screen, but at least most other components can be swapped out easily. Whether or not this changes your buying decision is a totally different story; that’s why warranties exist, right?