Galaxy S4 parts

Samsung Galaxy S4 given a reparability score of 8 out of 10

The fellows over at iFixit got their Samsung Galaxy S4, and that means it's time to tear shit apart. Unlike most folks who try to take good care of their expensive electronic toys, these people live to break them open and see what the innards look like. This go around, they found most things pretty easy to get to and replace, the front glass and panel being the exception. Here's their highlights:

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Reparability Score: 8 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)
  • The battery can be replaced in seconds, without any tools.
  • Very easy to open and access internal components.
  • There are only 11 screws in the entire device, all standard Phillips #0 (no proprietary or security sizes).
  • Most of the smaller components are modular and can be replaced individually, but several of them are adhered in place, increasing replacement difficulty.
  • The glass is fused to both the display and the display frame, increasing repair costs.
  • You'll have to go through the entire phone in order to replace the front panel, since everything is built into the back of it.

The good news is that it looks easy enough to fix things if you ever need to. The bad news is that the part most likely to break, the glass, is the hardest part to replace. The sensible part is that most people will never do anything like this anyway. 

It's still reassuring that someone, somewhere can fix your phone should you do something stupid or just have a string of bad luck. Unlike the HTC One, which was found pretty damn difficult to repair, the Galaxy S4 is one of the easy ones. Be sure to click the link below to see all the steps.

Source: iFixit


Reader comments

Galaxy S4 torn apart, looks easy to fix everything but the front glass


Speaking as an actual phone repair tech, the vendors stopped offering glass/lcd screens seperate a long time ago, all parts going forward have been LCD + TSP all in one package in a sealed anti static bag. Yes the cost is increased (sometimes upwards of $150+ a part, and that's for 480p, no telling how expensive a 1080p is yet) but it's an all around better repair part that way.

The best thing I see going here for the GS4 (and I've noticed it on the Galaxy Nexus) is they went with a replaceable logic board for the micro usb port, which, 85% of people eventually stress out and break. That's a big plus for us guys in the repair side, since it does not require soldering which while fun, is very tedious considering the teeny tiny solder points of the micro usb port itself.

@Jerry Hildenbrand

Thanks for the post of reality.

easy to use, easy to repair, easy to understand, attractive, surprising software n hardware......these are the key feature of success in electronics world now a days .

Thanks in Advance

Thank you Jerry for posting a tear down article without resorting to the two year old running (if something so lame could actually run) joke about smart phone parts found inside.

Jerry your the man. Love the headline, I know you guys get jaded and it's hard to get excited about things like this, maybe we used look into an outlet to blow steam.

While I find them interesting, I question the value of these tear-downs. I can't help but feel that they are a distraction from the real issues that matter to MOST smartphone buyers, and are quite misleading.

Most people will take a broken smartphone back to the carrier or manufacturer to get it repaired. Doing surgery on your own smartphone is very risky - you don't know if the parts are genuine, there are fitment issues to consider and it probably voids the warrantee. So "ease of repair" is good purchasing information for the very tiny minority of people willing to buy a replacement screen on Ebay or some such, and go through the effort of doing surgery on their own phone thereby KILLING the warrantee, but probably just provides a totally unwarranted positive/negative impression for most consumers.

By the time you are looking into Tear Down articles VS sending the phone in for repair, you have already KILLED the WARRANTY, so it hardly matters.

We be geeks here. Get used to it.
Some of us have phones that are out of warranty or the warranty doesn't cover accidental damage from drops or such. In these cases, a 30 dollar fix or a 100 dollar fix either at home or in a repair shop vs shucking out 5 or 6 hundred dollars for a new phone makes a big difference.

Even if you don't do it yourself, the fact that the phone is easy to fix makes repairs at 3rd Party service bureaus cheaper. So it affects all of us.

Wow. You make me feel so special because I've done a lot of self-repair on both iPhones and Android devices. I do it because I'm cheap, it's fun, I'm curious, and I love the feeling of accomplishment I get from saving an electronic device from the garbage can with minimal expenditure.

Outside of cell phones I've made quite a bit of money buying electronics that people have discarded or returned, testing it, repairing when necessary and reselling on eBay. I visit the thrift shop at least once a week. My favorite flip was a Logitech wireless rechargeable mouse with dock that I picked up for $3 and sold for $43. I didn't even have to repair it. I just cleaned it up and tested it.

I get kind of sad going down the aisles seeing all the high tech of yesteryear that has now been abandoned. We live in such a disposable culture. It's pretty disturbing if you think about it enough.

It looks almost identical (in amount of parts inside) to the S3 (don't ask me how I discovered that: I had to replace the screen the very same day I got it). And I can confirm that it is very easy to fix, even by people like me (handy, but not a full-fledged tech).

Whoa! I can't believe you regurgitated this particular bit of somebody else's news! You do realize, don't you, that this is actually one data point towards being able to evaluate smartphone "build quality" in an objective way, rather than subjective? Doesn't that go completely against your editorial policy?

You (MobileNations, in general, and AC, specifically) have consistently rated Samsung "build quality" as inferior to other devices - e.g. the HTC One, and the iPhone. I, in turn, have consistently commented that your evaluation is subjective and asking that you please define some objective criteria for evaluating phone build quality, THEN evaluate the phones based on that.

Possible criteria you could use to evaluate are things like:

- fit and finish. Does the device has odd gaps between parts or obvious places where things don't fit together right? Rough edges? Loose parts? Does the back fall off accidentally or is it unreasonably hard to remove? Are their light leaks through gaps in the phone body? Etc..

- durability. How easily does it break? How susceptible is it to damage from a water splash? How easily does the charging port or headphone jack get broken?

On and on.

Now, here's another one. How easy is it to repair. Despite what Beenyweenies says, above, I think this is totally valid characteristic to report on and to use for evaluating build quality. There are tons of little portable electronic device repair shops around. Sure, a lot of people will take their phone back to their carrier for warranty replacement, or just buy a new phone. But, there are plenty of people who are savvy these days to the idea of taking their iPhone, etc. into one of these shops to get the screen or back replaced if they drop it. So, if one phone is easy (which translates to cheaper labor) to fix, that is good for us consumers to know.

So, where is your statement that the S4 has inferior "build quality" now?

Maybe you don't WANT to report OBJECTIVELY on phone build quality? Maybe that would take away the only major factor you seem to be able to use to steer people into buying the HTC One? Without that, you would have to report that the S3 was, and the S4 is now the undisputed best smartphone on the market? And you don't want to do that because it goes against your pro-carrier, pro-vendor, pro-Google editorial stance and against your anti-consumer stance?

Let me make some observations:

- a non-replaceable battery is good for the phone vendors (manufacturers and carriers), but not for consumers. It pushes consumers into buying a new phone prematurely because the battery in their current phone has worn out.

- Android Central consistently downplays the value of a replaceable battery and even doesn't mention it. For example in the recent article on the editorial staff pick of S4 vs HTC One, the written article never even mentions that the S4 battery is user swappable and the One is not. Leaving that info out is anti-consumer and pro-vendor.

- limited local storage is good for the carriers and for Google, but not for consumers. Google gets more data to mine if the user has to store more of their data in Google's Cloud. Carriers get to charge the consumer more money for data traffic if the user has to stream their media from the Cloud because they don't have enough room to store it locally.

- Android Central consistenly downplays the value of having user expandable local storage. The recent editorial comparison between the S4 and HTC One also failed to point out this difference (of the S4 having a microSD slot and the One not) in the written article. Leaving that info out is pro-Google and pro-carrier, and it is anti-consumer. AC Editor Jerry Hildenbrand has even posted in the AC forums comments that strongly imply that future devices won't even microSD slots. One coment, in the HTC DNA forum, I think, regarding microSD, Hildenbrand said "good luck getting that to work with JB." In other words, he was telling the world that phones with Android Jelly Bean would not be able to use microSD storage. Obviously, the S4 shows that to be false.

His pedantry knows no bounds.

What would the Internet be without bitching?...Better most likely.

But not as much fun... And he has some valid points.

I just want to also point out, what was the score on the HTC one? 2 out of 10?

You are exactly right on your points as I see them. Not having replaceable batteries and expandable batteries would be a deal breakerfor me on these devices. I paid full retail for my note 2, and at $649 plus tax, I Damn sure want it to last. One thing people seem to forget is that the more they use the device the faster the battery is going to use it's maximum charge cycles. I killed an iphone in a little over 6 months, and am on my second battery on my galaxy s3. Samsung in my opinion has stayed on the side of the consumer on this by keeping the replaceable battery and expandable memory.

"What would the Internet be without bitching?"

What would Internet "news" sites be like without public comments that call out incorrect info, omissions, and biased slant?

A lot more like... Fox News?

I wasn't talking about that thread. As I said, I gave one specific example of the thread in the DNA forum where you said that Samsung doesn't support SD cards in the OS, and where you essentially said that they won't work in 4.2.

So you didn't read that thread, which discussed exactly what you're talking about so it didn't take the thread in the DNA forums off topic. It's even mentioned in the first post.

You posted in a thread in the DNA forum that Samsung doesn't support SD cards in the OS, and that they won't work in JB. Posting a correction in another thread in a different forum doesn't "make it right". A person that is thinking about buying a DNA and goes to that forum and reads what you posted is not going to know to go look in the Note 2 forum to find out that your original post was BS.

No, they're going to just end up with the impression that there really is no reason to factor microSD support into their phone buying decision. And that is where you are helping Google and Verizon (in this case) and HTC at the consumer's expense.

He does have a lot of valid points, not having a replaceable battery and expandable memoryhas kept a lot of phones and devices off my list the manufacturer knows that batteries have a finite number of cycles before they have to be replaced. Phone and device manufacturers print non user replaceable components into their devices forces them into a fixed cycle of purchasing replacements. Samsung in their wisdom choose to stay on the side of the consumer. When someone pays full retail price for a device you want it to last and not have to replace it just because the battery is worn out.

Whats with these newer devices and their unique glasses. first i hear of the BlackBerry Z10 and its fused capacitive screen and glass, now this