Samsung Galaxy S III teardown reveals easy-open case, difficult-to-fix display

Getting inside the Galaxy S III is easy, but Bill Detwiler shows you why replacing the front panel or display isn't.

With its beautiful display and stylish design, the Samsung Galaxy S III looks great on the outside. But, what about on the inside? And how does it compare to the Galaxy S and Galaxy S II. Let's crack it open and find out.

Our T-Mobile test unit had a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard storage (expandable via the microSD slot), a 4.8" HD Super AMOLED display (1280 x 720 resolution), an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera. It measures 5.38" (H) x 2.78" (W) x 0.34" (D) and weighs 4.7 ounces.

Full teardown gallery: Cracking Open the Samsung Galaxy S III (T-Mobile)

Cracking Open observations


  • Easy-to-open case: On the plus side, its polycarbonate case is ridiculously easy to open. Thanks to its user-replaceable, NFC-capable battery, the back cover just pops off. And after removing a few Phillips screws, I detached the motherboard cover using just my fingers. The headphone jack and speaker assembly came out just as easily.
  • Easy-to-remove motherboard: Another positive is the motherboard's connector placement. Unlike the HTC One X, most of the S III's connectors are located on the side of the motherboard that faces the phone's back cover. This makes the board easy to remove and reinstall.

Unfortunately, while getting to the internal components is easy, replacing them may be a bit more complicated.


  • Clustered components: Some components (such as the volume buttons, earpiece, and service light) appear to be joined together with a single ribbon cable. If you replace one, you'll need to replace them all.
  • Cables glued to internal frame: Most of the internal ribbon cables are glued to the internal frame. If you ever needed to replace the frame, it would very difficult to remove all the attached components without damaging them.
  • Fused front panel/display/frame: Why would you ever need to replace the frame? That question brings me to my biggest complaint about the phone's construction. The front panel, display, and frame are all sandwiched together and held in place with extremely strong adhesive. If you crack the display or front panel (which happens a lot), you'll likely need to replace the whole assembly or just get a new phone.

Bottom Line

As of this tapping, T-Mobile's version of the Samsung Galaxy S III is available for $279 (with a two-year contract and after a $50 rebate). And despite my complaints about repairability, the S III is a solid Android phone with top-shelf hardware and a highly-competitive price.

For more information on the phone's software, real-world performance, and battery life test results, check out Jessica Dolcourt's full CNET review.

Internal hardware

Our T-Mobile Galaxy S III test unit has the following hardware:

  • 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor (MSM8960)
  • Samsung K3PE0E000A-XGC2 16Gb LPDDR2 Mobile DRAM (2GB)
  • 16GB Samsung KLMAG4FE4B-B002 storage chip
  • 4.8″ HD Super AMOLED screen (1280 x 720 resolution)
  • 8MP rear-facing camera
  • 1.9MP front-facing camera
  • 3.8V, 2,100 mAh Li-Ion battery (EB-L1G6LLA)
  • Melfas touchscreen controller (8PL590 1207)
  • 236A 1213 1374
  • Qualcomm PM8921 power management IC (PM8921 AD2T708 F3214004)
  • Invensense MPU-6050 6-axis (gyro + accelerometer) MEMS MotionTracking device
  • Qualcomm RTR8600 multi-band/mode RF transceiver (RTR8600 AFM287.0 HA20400A)
  • Murata SWQ GAD48 package (possibly an RF antenna switch module)
  • FDMC510P -20V P-Channel PowerTrench MOSFET (F BC9AA FDMC 510P)
  • 4756E8 C315A9
  • CML0801 (possibly a CMOS IC)
  • TriQuint TQM7M5013 Quad-Band GSM / GPRS / EDGE-Linear Power Amplifier Module (TQM7M5013 1211 KORE AT4208)
  • Skyworks 77737 Power Amplifier Module for LTE Bands 12/17 (698-716 MHz) (77737-4 46187.1 1217 MX)
  • RF Micro Devices RF7241 3V WCDMA Band 1 Linear PA Module (7241 K41F)
  • RF Micro Devices RF7244 3V WCDMA Band 4 Linear PA Module (7244 EVVB)
  • RF Micro Devices RF7245 3V WCDMA Band 5 Linear PA Module (7245 K3TT)
  • NXP 65N30 39 17 NSD216
  • Silicon Image SiI9244 MHL Transmitter with HDMI Input (SIMG 9244B0 PGW653C 10K2218)
  • Audience eS305 audio processor (AUD 305B 00022 1141A)
  • 1894 CB216
  • Y218 13CM
  • Qualcomm WCD9310 (WCD9310 NBA78900 A204002 03)
  • Skyworks 77762 SkyHi PAM for WCDMA/HSDPA/HSUPA/HSPA+/LTE (77762-1 9755.1P 1217 MX)
  • N8BA C7P


Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

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