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Cracking Open: Cracking Open the LG Nexus 4

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Cracking Open: Cracking Open the LG Nexus 4

3:35 /

Bill Detwiler shows you how to crack open the LG-built, Google Nexus 4 and uncovers a hardware surprise inside.

Google's Nexus 4 offers a pure Android experience on an unlocked device at a great no contract price. It's also fairly easy to disassemble and hides a bit of a hardware secret inside. Let's find out what it is. I'm Bill Detwiler and this is Cracking Open. With its 4.7-inch IPS display, quad-core CPU, 2 gigs of RAM and an 8 megapixel main camera, the LG-built Nexus 4 holds its own among high-end smartphones. And given its support for NFC and wireless charging, it's even a step ahead of many. It's also well-built, feels sturdy in your hands and as I'll show you fairly easy to take apart. First, remove the sim card and the two torch T5 screws along the bottom edge. Then, using a thin tool gently pop off the back cover. Now attached to the inside of the back cover are both the NFC antenna and wireless charging induction coil. The 3.8V Lithium-Ion battery is held to the motherboard by a pair of screws and to the internal frame with a lot of adhesive. Removing it takes quite a bit of patience. The speaker enclosure comes out next followed by the plastic frame covering the motherboard. The phone's vibration motor and earpiece speaker are attached to this frame. After detaching a few connectors and cables, you can remove the motherboard and separate the front and rear facing cameras. We can now remove the metal shields from the motherboard that conceal most of the phone's chips. Prominent chips include the RAM chip that's likely stack on top of a Snap Dragon CPU as well as a Qualcomm modem. Now it's really interesting about this modem is despite the Nexus 4 not officially supporting LTE, this chip actually does. And I've read online reports of people connecting to some LTE networks that operate on band 4 in the 1700 and 2100 MHz spectrum. But there's no guarantee it will work for you in your area or that the functionality won't be disabled at some point. So, even with this modem, there's still no real LTE support. Now, turning our attention back to the disassembly, we can now remove the smaller circuit board which contains the phone's micro-USB port, a microphone and several speaker contacts as well as the 3.5 mm headphone jack assembly which also houses the Ambient Light Sensor. As the front glass panel LCD and internal frame are all fused together, our teardown is complete. The Nexus 4 may not have the stylish design of Samsung's Galaxy S III or the outstanding battery life of Motorola's Droid Razr Maxx HD. But it's a solid phone and one that's not too difficult to crack open. And at $299 unlocked without a contract, it's definitely price right. Now, for more information on the Nexus 4 including real world test and pricing, check out Lynn La's full CNET Review. Now to see teardown photos and read my full hardware analysis, go to techrepublic.com/crackingopen. I'm Bill Detwiler. Thanks for watching.

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