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Teardown: Galaxy 7's key components deliver marginal improvement

Posted: 23 Mar 2016     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Samsung  Galaxy S7  Qualcomm  STMicroelectronics  IDT 

Samsung Electronics' flagship smartphone model, Galaxy S7, has been taken apart and analysed by a surprising number of people who do that for a living. And they have found that Qualcomm, SK Hynix, STMicroelectronics, Integrated Device Technology, Sony and Knowles, among others can boast of design wins.

The preliminary teardown analysis performed by IHS Inc. concluded that the bill of materials (BOM) of the Galaxy S7 with 32GB of NAND is about ₹16,861.49 ($249.55). The firm estimates that adding manufacturing costs to the device increases the total to about ₹17,233.11 ($255.05).

This editor found that the lowest retail price on Flipkart for the 32GB model is ₹48,900 (the Edge model goes for ₹56,900). In the U.S. it goes for ₹45,405.41 ($672) at Verizon, according to IHS. The firm also pointed out for comparison's sake that Apple Inc.'s 16GB iPhone 6s carries a BOM of ₹12,696.62 ($187.91) and retails [in the United States] for about ₹43,851.35 ($649).

Samsung Galaxy S7

Figure 1: The S7 boasts arguably the best camera on the market right now, according to IHS.

Andrew Rassweiler, senior director of cost benchmarking services at IHS, said that the Galaxy S7 offers small refinements over its predecessor. Noting that the BOM is almost ₹4,054.05 ($60) more than the comparable iPhone, Rassweiler said the Galaxy 7 "doesn't hold its price as well" as the Apple product.

"The Galaxy S7 is the upgrade Samsung had to do, but there's not a lot of trailblazing happening on the device," Rassweiler said.

The Galaxy S7 features Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820, which IHS said offers some improvements over the S6's Snapdragon 810. The firm said the new chipset offers better power efficiency, faster battery charging and includes a speedier data bus that supports LPDDR4 memory with a capacity up to 4GB—the highest density to date in a smartphone. The chipset costs an estimated ₹4,189.19 ($62), giving Qualcomm one of the largest components supplier footprints in the S7 BOM, IHS said.

IHS estimated the 32GB of Samsung's NAND flash memory found on the S7 cost about ₹489.86 ($7.25). The LPDDR4 4GB package-on-package DRAM from SK Hynix cots an estimated ₹1,689.19 ($25), the firm said.

IHS noted that the S7's primary camera module is capable of only 12-megapixel performance, a step down from the 16MP camera offered in the S6. But IHS said Samsung included technology improvements that deliver better overall camera performance.

"Going backwards from 16 megapixels to 12 megapixels buys Samsung larger pixel sizes for better low-light performance," said Wayne Lam, principal analyst for mobile devices and networks at IHS. Lam added that "the S7 boasts arguably the best camera on the market right now."

According to a separate teardown done by Chipworks (from where we got many of the following slide show photos), the Galaxy S7's camera module has a new stacked-chip CMOS image sensor from Sony, identified as the IMX260. This represents the first known direct bond interconnect chip to be used in a high-volume application, according to Chipworks.

Click here now to begin the slide show in a new browser tab.

- Dylan McGrath
  (with inputs from Vivek Nanda)

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