Hardware optimize

Galaxy S II (Sprint Epic 4G Touch) Teardown: Samsung Exynos processor and no NFC

Bill Detwiler cracks open the Sprint Epic 4G Touch (Samsung Galaxy S II). He finds a unique blend of Samsung and third-party components, but no NFC.

In September 2011, Sprint was the first US wireless carrier to begin selling the Samsung Galaxy S II (Model: SPH-D710, dubbed the Epic 4G Touch). This followup to Samsung's popular Galaxy S smartphone has a 1.2Ghz dual-core processors, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage. It also features an 8MP rear-facing camera, a 2MP front-facing camera, a 4.52" Super AMOLED Plus display (800x480 pixels), and a user-replaceable battery. The Galaxy S II can support up to a 32GB microSD card. It measures 5.1" (H) x 2.6" (W) x 0.38" (D) and weighs 4.6 ounces.

The Galaxy S II ships with Google's Android operating system (2.3.4 Gingerbread). In the US, Sprint sells the Galaxy S II for $199.99 (with a two-year contract). I bought our test device (sans contract) from a local Best Buy location for $699.99 (plus tax).

After dissecting the Epic 4G Touch, I discovered several facts. First, the device contains an interesting mix of Samsung and third-party hardware. Second, both the external design and internal hardware layout are dramatically different between the various Galaxy S II versions. And third, no near field communication (NFC) support.

Full teardown gallery: Cracking Open the Samsung Galaxy S II (Sprint Epic 4G Touch)

Cracking Open observations

  • User-replaceable battery: Unlike the iPhone, the Galaxy S II has a user-replaceable 1,800 mAH Li-ion battery. This is a step above the vanilla, unlocked Galaxy S II's 1,650 mAh Li-ion battery.
  • Standard Phillips screws: I was able to remove all the Galaxy S II's external and internal screws with a Phillips #00 screwdriver.
  • LCD and front panel are fused: Unfortunately, the Galaxy S II's LCD and front panel are fused together, making replacing either component a costly, time-consuming process.
  • Samsung Exynos C210 Processor: Sprint's version of the Galaxy S II has a different processor than the T-Mobile version. The Epic 4G Touch uses the 1.2GHz Samsung Exynos C210 processor, which appears to be a re-branded Exynos 4210. The Exynos 4210 system-on-a-chip (SoC) has a dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU and ARM's Mali-400 MP GPU. Because the Exynos processor doesn't work with T-Mobile's HSPA+ network, their version of the Galaxy S II has a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. Despite the increased clock frequency, the T-Mobile phone may not offer better performance. The Exynos and Snapdragon SoCs have different cache sizes and different GPUs.
  • Unique blend of third-party components: Along with its own processor, Samsung also used its own RAM and storage chips inside the Galaxy S II. Non-Samsung components include the Toshiba TC31501 WiMax chip, Broadcom BCM4330 wireless chip, Qualcomm QSC6085 CDMA processor, and Yamaha YMU823 audio codec.
  • No near field communication (NFC): Unlike the AT&T and Verizon versions of the Galaxy S II, the Sprint Epic 4G Touch lacks NFC support. This may be a deal killer for buyers who want to use NFC services, such as Google Wallet.

Internal hardware

Our Galaxy S II test unit had the following hardware components:

About

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...

15 comments
RipVan
RipVan

I always read these when I'm not busy, so I don't get to them for days. So no one may come back to this thread, but it is very timely for me. My contract is up and I have been looking for another Droid and I need to switch back to Verizon because it is the only provider who gets to my daughter's campus. However, I am now reading about the TERRIBLE battery life on most phones and it looks like they are now trying to sell a "dock," apparently so that you will think you are docking your phone for some happy reason besides the TERRIBLE battery life. Also, I read that Verizon is now stuffing more garbage software on their phones than ever before. Not only do you have garbage that you CAN'T UNINSTALL, but that is in large part responsible for the bad battery life! I guess you can't take a third party phone to Verizon, can you? Anyone have any comments on this subject as to whether true or false...?

t.rohner
t.rohner

I was waiting for it for some months. When i finally got it, i was disappointed by the samsung UI. Well, i was used to the HTC UI... So i brought it back and got me a HTC Sensation and i'm happy with it. (Almost the same hardware) The Samsung has a better camera, definitely. It also has more Ram, it's also lighter. But i prefer the Sense UI over the Samsung UI and i didn't want to root and reprogram it. I did that with my first Android phone.(HTC Magic) My second was a HTC Desire HD. It worked very well out of the box, but i was put on a new flatrate plan by my company and i got the new Sensation for next to nothing.

eatmyshred24
eatmyshred24

Great Phone the best I've ever owned. Yet after the latest update it's gone postal. Turns on driving mode randomly, drains the usual 2 days battery in one hour, gets so hot it's hard to use, and turns its self on... To name but a few annoyances, that appear, then go away for a bit, tried many factory resets which work for a while, then back to the doom.. Friends with the update have seen this behaviour, yet others haven't. so since there is so many variants in the US (I'm in the UK) I'd like to hear an relevant responses regarding any weird goings on..

callcentertiger
callcentertiger

Does this Galaxy S II / Sprint Epic 4G Touch have a simm slot built in to be used in other countries that have GSM based carrier????

mbendik
mbendik

The description for the Broadcom chip says it has a FM Transceiver. Does that mean I can listen to FM radio on it? (I own one of these cell phones.)

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

In the US, the Samsung Galaxy S II will be offered on Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. But, only the T-Mobile and AT&T variants will have NFC support. Is having NFC a deal breaker for you? Edited: Meant to type AT&T, but typed Verizon instead.

MUNOGABBAGABBA
MUNOGABBAGABBA

I am glad you posted this post here because I was a stones throw away from selling my HTC EVO 3D phone or giving it to my wife because I was hot for this phone . When I got my HTC it was my second ever HTC phone and I love them. I have had two SAMSUNG phones in the past and one was an ANDROID. It was the biggest pile of shit, constantly going crazy like you claim yours does, ANDROID and SAMSUNG stuff fighting each other on the phone. I swore I would never buy another and now from your post I see that my decision might be a wise one. Still after reading two reviews of the thing I am still somewhat drawn to it. I even messed with it yesterday at the local SPRINT store. It is rock solid and lightning fast. I just know that when I get mine out of the box and turned on, it will be just like yours.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

The Sprint Epic 4G variant of the Galaxy S II does not have a SIM card slot.

rizwanz
rizwanz

@mbendik, yes you can , I have an awesome FM radio app installed already by provider ( Three Mobile , here in UK ) and it works great , though need hand free attached ..

rodneykeene
rodneykeene

NFC might be a deal breaker for me if retailers used it in my area. Unfortunately West Virginia is not known as an early adopter of Tech. So not having NFC in a phone is not a big deal for me.

emrjackson
emrjackson

Verizon is not getting the SGS2, but is apparently going to get something "better" perhaps called the Droid Prime or Nexus Prime. Instead, the three carriers that got SGS2 variants are T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T. If Verizon had it I would get it; instead I wait.

ckeller
ckeller

I don't care. I bought one anyway. And it is a rocket, I can't believe it's that much faster than my EVO but it is. My only gripe is the greenish hew to the video. But the EVO has a bluish cast to it's pictures so it's a trade off I'll live with. But NFC? No, not missing it.

packpackpack66
packpackpack66

At this stage, it's not a deal breaker for me. I am willing to let this technology play out before becoming an early adopter. This phone is a beast any way you look at it, with or without NFC.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

My mind was in two different places. I meant to type AT&T but typed Verizon instead.