Cracking Open: Cracking Open the Samsung Galaxy S4
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Cracking Open: Cracking Open the Samsung Galaxy S4

4:06 /

Bill Detwiler cracks open the Samsung Galaxy S4, shows you the handset's redesigned interior, and explains why it's easier to repair than previous Galaxy phones.

-With its 1080p screen, 13-megapixel camera, a quad-core processor, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is packed with impressive hardware. And as I'll show you it has a redesigned interior and is easier to disassemble than its predecessor. I'm Bill Detwiler and this is Cracking Open. Despite its larger screen and new internals, the Galaxy S4 is nearly identical to last year's S3 model in size, shape, and overall design. The new phone has a 5-inch display with resolution of 1920 x 1080 at 441 pixels per inch. Our AT&T version has a 1.9 gigahertz Snapdragon 600 processor from Qualcomm, 2 gigs of Low power DDR3 RAM, 16 gigs of built-in storage, a micro SD card slot and 18-megapixel rear camera, 2 megapixel front camera, NFC support and even an IR blaster, so you can use it as a TV remote. Now a variant without LTE is available with Samsung's own 1.6 gigahertz 8 core, EXYNOS 5 Octa processor. And buyers in South Korea, the Phone Makers Home Country, will even be able to get an LTE version with a 1.8 gigahertz version of the EXYNOS 5 processor. And not only does the new Galaxy have some of the most impressive specs among android handsets, it's one of the easiest to disassemble and repair. Thanks to a user replaceable battery, the back cover pops off with just a fingernail. Now after moving a few Phillip screws, you can pop the circuit board cover off with a thin plastic tool or metal blade. Once you've removed the cover, you can detach the speaker assembly. Compared to the S3, Samsung redesigned the interior of the S4. The main system board is located at the top of the handset instead of the bottom. The battery compartment has been shifted down slightly. And instead of a single board that runs the length of the phone, the S4 has a main board at the top and a daughter board at the bottom. After detaching a few connectors and removing a pair of screws, you can gently lift out the motherboard. The rear camera comes off next followed by a small board which houses the SIM and micro SD card slots. After detaching a few more connectors, the daughter board comes out. It houses a micro USB port and what appears to be a microphone. Along the top of the panel assembly are the vibration motor, front camera assembly, ear piece assembly, which also houses the IR blaster and front facing sensors, and the headphone jack. Now on the S3, many of these components were joined by a single ribbon cable that was glued in place. Thankfully, Samsung separated each component on the S4. This means you can replace one without replacing the others. The S4's front panel and display are fused together. If one breaks you'll need to replace both, and you'll need to remove all the other components in the process. Still, the S4 is one of the easiest phones to disassemble that I've worked on in a long time. Having cracked open the original Galaxy S, S2, S3 and now the S4, I've been impressed by the hardware improvements and design refinements Samsung has made with each new model. The S4 is a worthy addition to the Galaxy line. Now for information on the S4, including real world tests and pricing information, check out Jessica Dolcourt's full CNET Review. And to see more tear down photos and read my full hardware analysis, go to techrepublic.com/crackingopen. I'm Bill Detwiler, thanks for watching.

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