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 (800×480 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:

Update 12/19/2011: This post originally appeared in our TR Dojo blog.