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Galaxy S5: How Much Does it Cost to Build?

by Todd Haselton | April 15, 2014April 15, 2014 8:00 pm PST

Galaxy S5 back camera

How much do the parts in the Samsung Galaxy S5 actually cost? Glad you asked, because IHS recently did some research and made its best estimates on how much Samsung paid for each component in the Galaxy S5, including the display and the fingerprint reader that doesn’t work so well. By doing so, the company can guess what sort of margins Samsung might be earning when it sells the Galaxy S5 at its full retail price of $660.

IHS estimates that Samsung pays about $256 for all of the parts used in its Galaxy S5 smartphone. That includes the labor and other costs associated with actually building the device,  which is about $5 according to Re/Code, but it doesn’t provide insight into other costs, like marketing. Each display panel — the most expensive piece of the puzzle — costs roughly $63. Meanwhile, the built-in storage and RAM combined came in at about $33, according to Re/Code, which spoke to the firm. The cost of the fingerprint reader, which doesn’t work very well, was just $4, a far cry from the $15 fingerprint reader component in Apple’s iPhone 5s.

Overall, IHS didn’t walk away too impressed with the components. “Inside we see mostly a lot of recycled components that we’ve seen before,” IHS analyst  Andrew Rassweiler told Re/Code. “There’s really nothing special inside where Samsung is pushing the envelope. There’s no breakthroughs, there’s nothing earth-shattering. It’s really just a continuation of what has come before.” So, while the Galaxy S5 has a heart rate monitor and a fingerprint reader, they aren’t really enough to impress the analysts over at IHS.

Rassweiler also explained that, in the past, Samsung spent about $200 on parts for each phone and then sold them for about $600 at retail, but the firm is now spending a bit more as it adds new tech, like the fingerprint reader and awesome screens. Still, it keeps using plastic instead of more premium build materials.

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Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...