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.
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.
Our Galaxy S II test unit had the following hardware components:
- 3.7V, 1800 mAH Li-ion battery
- 2MP front-facing camera
- 3.5mm headphone jack and vibration motor
- Atmel maXTouch mXT224E mutual capacitance touchscreen controller
- 236A 1125 5130
- Toshiba TC31501AAMBG WiMax chip
- Maxim MAX8997 power-management IC for Samsung's Exynos 4210
- 2128 C3H H6AAF
- Y126 D13A S
- AA 2230 119Y
- 0346 240A
- WIP4255H 026-00 1115
- Avago CFI115 160371
- Broadcom BCM4330 802.11a/b/g/n MAC/Baseband/Radio with Integrated Bluetooth 4.0+HS and FM Transceiver
- Maxim 8893C power-management IC
- 8MP rear-facing camera
- KOREA MBG043 1128 SNA E1 (8MP camera chip)
- Samsung K3PE7E700B-XXC1 1.2 GHz dual-core processor
- Samsung KLMAG4FEJA-A003 16GB flash storage chip
- Samsung K521H12ACE
- Qualcomm QSC8085 CDMA processor
- Avago ACFM-7325 Band Class 14 PCS / Band Class 10 Cellular Band Quadplexer
- 6323R 9698AD 1124
- Yamaha YMU823-P 1128NBJB audio codec
- Silicon Image 9244 MHL transmitter for HD video and audio
- CYWB 0320AB 1125 6 6609
- microUSB connector
Bill Detwiler has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
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 support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.