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:

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

By Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic 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 ...