Galaxy S5 costs $256 to build, says teardown report

The display module is the most expensive component with a price tag of $63, according to research firm IHS.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney

The Samsung Galaxy S5. CNET

Samsung spends around $256 to build the Galaxy S5, which it then sells for $600. At least that's the bill calculated by research firm IHS in its teardown of the new phone.

As described by Recode, which got an early glimpse of the teardown report, IHS found that the manufacturing cost, or bill of materials, is slightly higher for the S5 than for previous Galaxy phones. Prior flagship phones that retailed for $600 cost around $200 to build, an indication that Samsung has "moved up to the higher end the cost spectrum," IHS analyst Andrew Rassweiler said in a statement.

However, the internals of the S5 don't reveal anything extraordinary about the phone compared with its predecessors, according to the IHS teardown.

"Inside we see mostly a lot of recycled components that we've seen before," Rassweiler said. "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."

The phone's display module eats up the highest cost at $63. The DRAM and flash memory modules together cost $33. The fingerprint sensor costs around $4, quite a bit less than the $15 Apple pays for the Touch ID sensor in the iPhone 5S, according to IHS.

Officially launched last Friday, the Galaxy S5 sells for $600 without a contract and typically $200 with the usual two-year agreement.