The folks at iFixit recently decided to take apart Samsung's latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4, to check how it does in the reparability department. The verdict? The Galaxy S4 is "easily repairable" and scored higher than its rivals HTC One and iPhone 5.
iFixit awarded the Galaxy S4 with a score of 8 out of a maximum 10, which coincidentally is the same as the one achieved by its predecessor Galaxy S3. By comparison, the HTC One scored a measly 1 out of 10 and the iPhone 5 got 7 out of 10.
The Galaxy S4 is overall easily repairable and one does not need any tools to take off the back panel and the battery snaps off quite quickly, negating the need to slap the device against the hands or any other such means to extract the 2,600 mAh battery.
The key iFixit takeaways are as follows:
- The Galaxy S4's battery can be "replaced in seconds, without any tools."
- The device is easy to "open and access internal components."
- The smartphone has only 11 screws overall, which are all standard Phillips #0.
- Most of the smaller components of the smartphone are "modular and can be replaced individually, but several of them are adhered in place, increasing replacement difficulty."
- The Galaxy S4's glass is fused to the display and the display frame, which results in increased repair costs.
"Unfortunately, the display and front glass are fused, with a layer of optical adhesive. The glass is then adhered to the plastic display frame, making a single assembly. Not a big surprise," says iFixit.
- In the event the front panel of the Galaxy S4 needs replacing, one will have to "go through the entire phone" as pretty much everything is built into its back.
What we didn't know:
The iFixt teardown of the AT&T Galaxy S4 also revealed some interesting nuggets about the handset, which are as follows:
- The Smart Pause feature of the Galaxy S4 can be duped with help of images.
"The S4 was reluctant to recognize our Iron Man poster or our office Chia Gnome as human faces, but in the end we managed to find a way to fool it," notes iFixit in Step 4.
- The Galaxy S4's speaker is located at the rear of the handset (unlike the dual front-facing ones of the HTC One), which is "the prime location for a speaker if your ears are attached to your hand while holding the device."
- The IR sensors are placed on either side of the earpiece speaker and basically make the Air View and Air Gesture features work as they pick up hand movement and compare IR light reflected from each sensor to recognize the movement.
"By comparing IR light reflected from your hand into each of the sensors, the phone can track sideways motion as you gesture without touching the screen," notes iFixit's Step 18.
- Wondered what made the Galaxy S4's "super-sensitive touchscreen" which works with gloves tick? A tiny Synaptics S5000B touchscreen controller.
For the detailed teardown of the Galaxy S4 head to iFixit.