Consumers may be enticed by the sleek exterior of the Samsung Galaxy S4, but our first look inside the soon-to-be released smartphone finds that it's not only good-looking but also easy to repair.
A source for tech website Techno Buffalo got their hands on a Galaxy S4 handset and performed a teardown. As a result, the source determined that the device is comprised of many easily fixable parts and as a whole is easy to repair. Should tech-savvy users have problems with their S4 smartphones, they will likely have few if any problems troubleshooting the Galaxy S4’s hardware.
The source, who obtained the Qualcomm Snapdragon variant of the Galaxy S4 that will be available in the U.S., said that opening up the smartphone took a little bit of elbow grease as he had to remove the device’s nine screws before he could pry the front and back of the phone apart. Although nine screws may seem excessive to some users, it does mean that the phone is well-built and sturdy.
Once open, the Galaxy S4 reveals a number of components that have been heavily discussed by Galaxy observers over the last several months.
One of the first things visible is the Galaxy S4’s microSD card slot, SIM card slot, 13-megapixel camera and 2,600mAh battery. According to the source, the microUSB connector, located at the bottom of the handset, is easily replaceable, which is good to know since the connectors are prone to becoming loose due to everyday wear and tear.
Most of the components are separate and easily identifiable. From the source's photos, we see the device’s antenna, a thin white wire that starts at the bottom and goes up about half the length of the chassis and connects to the top of the circuitboard. A closer look allows us to see the camera’s LED flash, the microSD card slot and the SIM tray, as well as an orange clip that serves as an anchor for the screen on the other side.
Removing the main circuitry reveals the space between the display and the hardware, which is outfitted with protective padding. At this stage, the display has been unhooked and the orange clasp is also unhinged.
Looking at the separated silicon in which the main hardware is encased, we see the Galaxy S4’s 2GB of RAM and its Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor, as well as its internal RAM, which comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB options.
The source noted some difficulty detaching the Gorilla Glass display from the chassis, more so than with other Samsung devices such as as the Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S3, which have have easily removable displays that can be swapped for off-brand displays. The Galaxy S4’s display appears to be replaceable only with a Gorilla Glass component, which reportedly costs upward of $200. Therefore, users may want to take care of their Galaxy S4 handsets, though Techno Buffalo notes that the devices do come with warrantees.
Overall, the source praised the Galaxy S4 as one of the “most repairable smartphones” they have ever encountered, providing yet another accolade for the Galaxy S4, which has had many positive reviews so far.
Smartphone enthusiasts also recently tore down an HTC One handset, which was particularly difficult to strip apart due to its aluminum unibody, which indicates that the device is not intended to be opened. According to iFixIt, that was only one of many things that would make the HTC One difficult to repair.
Fionna Agomuoh is a Technology Reporter for the International Business Times, a vegan foodie, and a lover of Electric Dance Music.