Samsung Galaxy S4 video teardown reveals easily repairable components

It’s not quite an iFixit teardown, but if you were curious to see the Samsung Galaxy S4 ripped apart at the seams, the boys at TechnoBuffalo managed to secure a video of the whole painstaking process but for whatever reason, restricted embedding. (Pfffft!). Heads up: if you’re eating, you might wanna put down your sandwich before watching.

According the Mr. Nails who sent the vid, the Galaxy S4 is one of the easiest smartphones to repair in terms of smaller components (micro USB charging port, SIM slot, micro SD slot, etc.). There is one problem, however. The display — the most common part in need of repairs — is harder to replace than previous Sammy devices.

While I can’t say “repairability” has ever influenced any of my smartphone purchases in the past (that’s what insurance is for, right?), I guess for those of you that prefer to make repairs yourself, it’s a plus.

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  • bob

    Every time I’ve ever tried to repair a cell phone I vote utterly failed anyways so I don’t think the rating really matters. Pretty sure it has more to do with the skill level of the person attending the repair.

    • Sean Royce

      It’s not hard to follow simple instructions.

      • bob

        It is when you only have one hand…

        • nick olaguez

          Howd you end up with one? Not following simple directions?

          • bob

            I jumped off a subway platform to grab a 2 year old that had fallen on the tracks. Couldn’t get him up in time so I pushed him to the middle of the tracks and the train took off my hand. Kid was fine but my hand got completely obliterated.

          • Sean Royce

            Sounds believable, get someone to help you, I’m about to repair my S3 screen in a few days, and I’ll be getting my Dad to help.

          • setspeed

            Hero.

        • uniquename72

          Stop touching yourself.

      • irishrally

        Step 1: Stop posting garbage
        Step 2: Repeat step 1

  • Pkmmte

    Take that, HTC!

    • DavidVarghese

      Okay, I will buy you an S4 with the ram and processor removed. If you can put it back together, it’s yours. If not, well, you got a good-looking plastic paper weight for free.

      Most people don’t know how to fix electronics, let alone something delicate and small as smartphone components. With the cost of you actually paying someone to fix it, you might as well get a new phone. This would only concern repair shops, and unless you work at one or you know how to put a smartphone together, you really have no room to talk…

      Sorry about my rant… But I really hate ignorance and die hard “Samsung fanboys”… They’re slowing becoming like “Apple fanboys”

      • Marsg

        I’m not a Samsung fanboy or anything but the components inside the galaxy s phones are neatly organized compared to most phones like the iPhone 5, HTC one, one x, padfone and some xperia devices which are mainly just stuffed in a extremely small frame and held together by adhesive. Times like this when I would say “it’s what is on the inside that counts”

        • DavidVarghese

          I don’t doubt the engineering that went behind the S4, but it would be a lot easier for Samsung to make a product like the S4 since they own the means of production for making hardware for phones. Just sayin’

      • Bob Meyer

        Your rant is just silly. A GS3, off contract, is $550. The most expensive repair possible, a screen replacement, is under $200. Replacing a micro USB connector would be far cheaper. Not quite “might as well get a new phone.” Insurance you say? If you’re really unlucky, insurance may be worth it, but most people will probably spend as much on insurance as on the phone and get nothing.

        I like HTC phones. I’ve owned a couple. But the HTC One is a disposable device. It’s not just expensive to repair, it’s all but impossible to repair. You can’t even get the battery replaced without destroying the screen. And if you crack the screen, forget about getting it replaced, because you’ll destroy the case taking it apart. That’s like buying a car that needs to be thrown away if the radiator springs a leak.

        • DavidVarghese

          The cost of sending in to repair and time (lost time w/o the phone) would be to high for me, especially since I don’t usually own more than one phone at a time. I would rather just buy a new one and get over it.
          I never bought insurance, I see myself as being a careful guy with his gadgets, but $10 a month isn’t a bad thing for a clumsy person or for freak accidents… You’ll get a new phone instantly if you go to the carrier store.

          Sure, one can consider the HTC One as a disposable device because once its broke, you’re out of luck. But I will not send my S4 (if I ever do own one) to a repair shop, just because it’s a pain to go through the process and wait time, and most likely it’ll never function/look the same. So yeah, any smartphone to me, is disposable. Personal opinion I guess

          • iwave

            So you’ve never attempted to repair your own phone, and you’ve never bothered to have a phone repaired, yet you feel qualified to pass judgement on the merits of designing a phone that’s relatively easy to repair over one that’s so difficult to fix that it’s generally regarded as a $700 disposable item??
            Sounds like laziness to me. It’s pretty easy to find good instructions on almost any phone repair, and it’s also far cheaper than buying a new phone. I replaced the screen on an old HTC device (Orbit), the screen cost a trivial amount of money (I don’t recall exactly, but it was < $50), probably took me about 30 or 40 minutes to change, and once done it was impossible to tell it had been repaired. I don't know where you're getting the idea that a repaired phone won't function or look the same as it did, perhaps the HTC One might not since you'd likely have to break it to fix it.

        • SocalTeknique

          “HTC One is a disposable device” THANK YOU! I been saying that all along. I usually get my phones on eBay and insurance don’t apply to me

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      • Mike Reid

        The easier it is for the repair guy, the cheaper it is for the end user.

        Other than that, repair-ability, on the surface, doesn’t affect most people.

        I think Samsung makes their devices more repair-able by design, and as someone who’s taken electronics apart for 4 decades, I applaud this.

        Devices that are repair-able, and root-able and un-lockable are much better served by the hacker/custom ROM community.

        One more reason for me to recommend Samsung and GS4 to anyone who asks me.

        • DavidVarghese

          Hmm, idk if you heard from a Phandroid article or from XDA, but the hacker/dev community isn’t too fond of the S4 because it isn’t much of a bump from the S3…

          Also, Samsung owns the means of production to create the hardware for the S4, so designing it to be repair-friendly shouldn’t be hard.

          Do you actually believe a repair guy can fix a smartphone like the S4 with ease? Even if it’s relativity easy to get to the components, the cost of getting the components isn’t cheap, and the phone will look ghetto-rigged if the repair guy actually gets it to work. I can guarantee you that your phone will never look the same as it did brand new after being repaired.

          I would recommend the S4 to those who really needs that removable battery/micro sd slot and need more than 64 gbs of space on their phone w/o the help of the “cloud”… other than that, I really don’t see the appeal of the S4. Maybe you can convince me of how the cartoonish/kid-friendly UI and the plastic-y body is appealing. I don’t see it, especially if it’s similar to the S3 (my brother has it, he put Nova launcher immediately getting the phone, and got widgets simulating HTC’s widgets…lol)

          • frequency8

            I can tell you haven’t repaired your own electronics before. It’s okay to be intimidated by it, I know I was my first time. So far I have replaced my headphone jack ($10)and cracked screen($60) on my s2. With all the DIY videos on youtube these days though. Most electronics really aren’t that difficult to fix when a part fails. Also you’ll have to trust me on this. My phone does not look “ghetto rigged”, in fact it almost looks brand new.

          • DavidVarghese

            I never personally repaired a cell phone before, but “electronics” in general? Yeah I have. I can show you some pictures of stuff I’ve tinkered with if you’re really interested…

            I guess my bias towards a repair-guy’s ability to fix something so small and fragile is coming from my friend’s Samsung S2… It looked really bad after it was done, and definitely ghetto-rigged. Maybe that’s just one shotty repair guy, but it left a bad taste in my mouth as a result…

          • Brandon Watkins

            Okay im a highschool student and i fix phones on the side for money. No a phone doesn’t have to be “ghetto-rigged” as long as the person knows what there doing. But as far as cell phone repairs go i’d have to say apple is the easiest to work on, sad to say it but android phones are extremely delicate an parts are usually more expensive. Just an example the last phone i worked on was the Galaxy Note 2, the LCD screen and digitizer (touch screen) are fussed so you can’t buy them separately. So it cost $300 to get the screen from etradesupplys, no one else carried it. An iphone on the other hand cost on average about $30-$40, and they have a fussed LCD and digitizer as well. The big difference everybody makes parts for the iphone because of there popularity, and as far as work goes they are way easier to repair. So my advice to most people,if you own an android (most people on this form) go to best buy to grab your phone and get the $7.99 protection plan!

      • setspeed

        “Most people don’t know how to fix electronics…”
        Thanks for that, Captain Obvious. In case you didn’t notice, you’re commenting on an Android blog, and “most people” have zero interest in reading up on news about their phone operating system – hence the persons here are more likely to be competent at fixing their phones (software and hardware) than most people. This is a valid article of interest for a lot of visitors.
        Second, as for “Samsung fanboys” – well, let’s just say there’s several good reasons that Samsung is wiping the floor with every other Android OEM at the moment:
        1: Advertising, yes of course
        2. Their flagship phones use the latest generation of components (ARM big.little – anyone else doing that yet? DDR3 RAM, FHD AMOLED screens (I know others are using 1080p LCDs, but Samsung believes AMOLED is best and lots agree),
        3. They cater to the tinkerers quite well, easily rooted, removable batteries, SD cards etc – all featires that other OEMs don’t bother with most of the time
        4. They chuck in every software feature that they can find, dream up or steal.
        The only criticisms that can be leveled at Samsung are lack of documentation for their Exynos processors, and plastic bodies (personal preference, and despite that their phones are internally well constructed – unlike HTC who have a history of bad electrical connections, poor seals around screens and glueing things in place).
        That’s why there are loads of Samsung fans, and they’re not all “fanboys”, they just appreciate what is proving to be the best all-round phones on the market, bar none.

      • Taye Young

        samsung, htc who cares its android vs android so we all win and apple lost lol

      • h4rr4r

        Sounds like you don’t know how.
        Protip: in a mobile device the RAM and CPU are not removable as separate components. They are soldered in and the CPU is not even its own component but part of the SOC.

        • irishrally

          Protip: Soldered components can be removed with a soldering iron.

      • Fr0stTr0n

        Oh for farks sake, let the HTC fanboys have their beloved peice of aluminum foil and stop trying to change their minds, they are as inflexible as ifans

      • uniquename72

        I repurpose my phones as security cameras, remote controls, robotics controllers, and music players after they are replaced. Repairablity is a must.

        Some people’s needs differ from yours.

      • Ghostghoul

        He is just poininting out that the device is easily disassembled. If the offer is still on the table I would be glad to take it. I get what you are saying Americans are spoiled stupid. I get that, but something this simple as screwing in 5 screws. Most people do not realize building a computer is not actually building every component. It more like just putting pieces into a puzzle. I had a friend once watch me build a PC, and he was like dang I expected you to have to solder this and solder that. I was like no you automatically assume to much. By the time I was done he was like I can do that. I said duh.

        However surprisingly you are right an spoiled stupid Americans will give up a right to fix another problems….whoops wrong forum. Spoiled stupid Americans will throw out a PC and buy another one instead of taking the time to buy a 2dollar can of air and blowing the dust out of an overheating pc.

  • KOLIO

    Great news for those who actually repair phones as a business or for themselves.

    Otherwise,repairability is a non-starter,as replacement costs are covered by insurance/warranty.

    Definitely NOT a factor for the majority of phone owners. Sure, a higher percentage of people here may fix their own,but,we’re definitely not an accurate representation of a typical user in the general public.

    • Keith

      True,I’ve personally have never had to repair a phone. The only thing I’ve done is with computers and laptops, like RAM, hard drive and laptop screen. The only thing I could ever see myself trying to repair on a cell phone is the screen.

      • http://twitter.com/haroldskilley Harold Skilley

        I have had to replace batteries that have have gone bad in my smartphones.

        • Keith

          Yeah, I’ve heard of people doing that. I haven’t had a need for that yet but I change phones before 2 years though.

    • Bob Meyer

      It makes a difference for anyone who has to PAY someone to repair a phone. You don’t think there’s a direct relationship between ease of repair and cost of repair?

  • Jayshmay

    If anyone has seen any of those iFixit vids on YouTube you’ll see how impossible the HTC One is to repair, without damaging it! Stupid, stupid HTC.

    The differences between HTC & Samsung is like comparing the differences between Democratic California and Republican Texas, vast, vast differences.

    • DavidVarghese

      I see you like to break your phones because of your clumsy-ness and get a ghetto-rigged Samsung device in return of your $200-$300 repair cost from the repair guy. Cool

      • Manbo

        Who molested your jelly donut? You’re so bitter today!

    • Brandon Watkins

      LOL
      YEAH theres dumb asses on both sides!

  • Jayshmay

    I think the HTC One will cost HTC in warranty replacements, partially because the battery is a prisoner.

  • ben7337

    I seriously can’t wait for unbreakable AMOLED displays in Samsung phones, like the article says, the screen is what breaks the most, and with AMOLED where they attach the digitzer/glass and screen putting them together, it becomes impossible to repair for cheap. An LCD phone can have the glass digitizer replaced for maybe $20-$50 depending on where you buy the part. A Galaxy phone with amoled screen costs a solid $100-$200 to replace the screen and digitizer as one piece. Unbreakable AMOLED screens with glass screen protectors is where it’s at, so easy to replace if they break, even the average joe could do it, and even with slow sales they are only $30, and I bet they could get cheaper if they became popular for a particular phone.

    • h4rr4r

      If the unbreakable AMOLED is attached to the glass, like some phones to with the LCD now and all current AMOLED devices do, it will not matter how unbreakable it is. Once the glass is cracked you will need to replace the whole shebang.

  • Kam Siu

    when i tore apart a samsung galaxy nexus i was quiet surprise how easy to replace practically everything and anything in the unit. smart design? perhaps. gotta give a hand to samsung, despite their use of hard plastic.

  • h4rr4r

    Insurance is for fools.
    Calculate the terms out and the deposit. You cannot end up a head unless you break many devices. At that point you should just learn to be more careful.

  • Tony Lai

    If Samsung doesn’t black mail its competitors, I might start liking samsung again.

  • Ghostghoul

    I thought you said it was “painstaking” in the review. I have taken apart harder desktops. This actually looks very doable. Provided you have a quality screw driver that doesn’t strip the screws.