Inside SGS2

There have been a number of teardowns of the SGS2, and for the most part usually there isn’t a need to open up devices unless the FCC photos don’t suffice. This time around I still have a number of questions about what component choices had been made for the SGS2, so it went under the screwdriver (and emerged unscathed) just so we could get a glimpse at the goods.

SGS2 comes apart easily enough, with a few philips (no Torx bits) screws on the back and then a couple prods with a plastic tool to get the snaps off. Construction in this regard is very similar to the original SGS. After that, you have access to the PCB, backside, and frame.

You can see how SGS2 achieves its thinness by looking at the layout. The PCB doesn’t run underneath the battery - the majority of device thickness is defined by the SAMOLED+ panel plus battery thickness.

In addition, the SGS2 locates the cellular antenna at bottom in a modular speaker plus antenna module that snaps in and out of the plastic backside. The depth of SGS2 at its thickest seems governed by this speaker and its resonating chamber. Off to the other side is the bottom microphone, cellular feed cable, and gold contacts for getting that connected to the silver antenna.

There’s another second antenna to the opposite side of the module, which is for Bluetooth and WiFi.

If we turn our attention to the PCB we can see the rest of SGS2’s interesting bits.

The EMI cans thankfully snap off easily, and underneath we can see right next to the microSD card slot is the Infineon/Intel X-Gold 626 HSPA+ (HSDPA Cat. 14 - 21 Mbps / HSUPA Cat. 7 11.5 Mbps) baseband.

On the opposite side is the Audience 1026 noise cancelation IC, MAX8997 PMIC, and Yamaha YMU823 audio codec.

On the same side further down is the GPS that SGS2 uses, which is a SiRF GSD4T GPS. That particular die is absolutely tiny and difficult to photograph. More on the SGS2 GPS in a moment, however.

The other side of the PCB is much more interesting.

With the cans off, first we get a shot of Exynos 4210 with its PoP memory. This particular part has two mobile LPDDR2 die in the stack. Next to it, a Samsung combo NAND + DRAM part, with 16 GB of NAND and 64 MB of RAM, no doubt for the Infineon baseband.

Moving right is the Infineon Smarti UE2 RF transciever marked 5712, and the large IC below that marked RFMD RF6260 is a quad-band multi mode power amp which is a bit interesting. It works between 1710 and 1980 MHz, and 824–915 MHz, supplanting somewhat the need for individual power amps for each band.

Down on the long and skinny part of the PCB is a large package which I believe probably houses the BCM4330 WLAN module (more on that later), and next to it is a button cell battery, which seems curious.

Now remember that camera part I mentioned earlier? Well, at the top of the board you can see a ZIF slot, a relatively large IC< and then the camera module.

Compare these two, and it seems pretty obvious that this is exactly that same camera module from earlier, and most likely the large IC with Korea written on it is the Fujitsu M5MO ISP which controls it.

Also up at the very top is another gold connector which meets up with the SGS2’s third antenna, whose purpose is either for WLAN/GPS or another Rx finger for the cellular baseband.

The circular thing with a foam backside is the SGS2’s vibration motor, and other than that there really isn’t much more to talk about. Heat gets carried away from ICs through the EMI cans which double as heatsinks, and on the backside of the plastic back you can see a metal region and small thermal pad.

Camera Sensor and Still Quality Cellular Connectivity - HSPA+ and X-Gold 626
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  • kreacher - Monday, September 12, 2011 - link

    I was disappointed to see that there is no mention of the screen 's inability to display 24bit gradients while Samsung claims its a screen capable of displaying 16M colors. Reply
  • supercurio - Monday, September 12, 2011 - link

    See my answer for Astri.

    Maybe you only checked a gradient in Web Browser or a specific app that forces 16bit surfaces.
    Each app has the ability to choose how the rendering is done in this regard.
    Internally, the Super AMOLED controller works in much more than 24bit in order to proceed to complex color-space conversions between the a digital frame buffer and an analog, very large dynamic range OLEDs.
    Reply
  • lemmo - Monday, September 12, 2011 - link

    Great review, and incredible detail on the audio quality. Shame the SGS2 has taken a step backwards on audio. Any info on the likely spec for the audio on the Samsung Nexus Prime?

    Also, any recommendations on reviews of best smartphones for audio quality? cheers :)
    Reply
  • supercurio - Monday, September 12, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the feedback!
    I really need it in order to improve next review.

    Organize it differently for better readability, maybe evaluate other aspects as well (like recording)

    I have no info about what's in Nexus Prime but I'd like to :P
    If somebody can send me a report: https://market.android.com/details?id=org.projectv... I'll study it.

    Best devices I know in terms of audio quality:
    - with Voodoo Sound: Nexus S, Galaxy S family, Galaxy Tab 7".
    - with or without Voodoo sound: Asus Transformer
    - soon with Voodoo Sound: Galaxy Tab 10.1 (incredible power stage for the headphone amp)
    - iPhones/iPad: clean DAC but boring headphone amp (unable to drive many cans to adequate levels)

    And.. many I don't know! (yet?)
    Reply
  • lemmo - Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - link

    Thanks supercurio, very helpful. I'll keep looking for more info on the Nexus Prime.

    Shame none of the other phones/tablets you mention have got the right spec for me.

    In practice, do you think the 'average user' will notice the poorer audio quality on the SGS2?
    Reply
  • yellowchilli - Monday, September 12, 2011 - link

    a very very good read thank you
    i've owned the sgs2 since its EU launch..it's interesting to see the slight differences/improvements samsung has put into the US release (e.g. the power button, camera ui)
    Reply
  • mcquade181 - Monday, September 12, 2011 - link

    I've had my SGS2 here in Australia for two months now and on a recent snow trip noticed some deficiencies compared to my friends Nokia N8. We both use the same provider (Telstra 3G on 850MHz):
    1. Whilst travelling there were periods where I completely lost reception whereas the N8 still had a signal and was able to make calls. This suggests that the SGS2 is a bit lacking in cellular sensitivity (and note that the N8 is not all that flash either when compared to the old Nokia N95).
    2. In our snow accomodation I could not get a reliable WiFi signal from the local hotspot whereas the N8 could (it was marginal, but it did work).
    3. Bluetooth on the SGS2 is unreliable with some devices. It keeps disconnecting after a few minutes.

    That said I do like my SGS2 and is better in many other ways to the Nokia N8 - in particular earphone volume and call clarity where the N8 is deficient. Of course android has a much wider selection of available apps than does the Nokia, although surprisingly ALL my favourite apps are also available for the Nokia.

    Regards from down under, Graham Rawolle.
    Reply
  • willstay - Monday, September 12, 2011 - link

    What a coincidence. After two Androids, I actually bought N8 and later sold it to get SGS2. Before Belle, swype was only available in landscape and my must-have apps are not there for Symbian. Reply
  • jcompagner - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    yes that is the only drawback i also can find of the SGS2..
    Wifi reception is really not up to standards.
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Monday, September 12, 2011 - link

    I'm not happy with the battery tests - they don't show real life usage. I'd still like to know what happens with the battery if you just leave the phone in your pocket for most of the day, or what happens if you leave it in standby overnight. All of my co-workers complain about battery life with their Android phones, and all want to get iPhones the next time around. The batteries seem to drain excessively with the phones doing nothing, and they are often dead when they go to use them. Who cares if you can browse the web for 7 hours or whatever...I just want the phone to be ready to use if its been sitting on my desk for half the day, or if I forget to charge it overnight. This is way more important - at least for someone like me who travels. (actually, I work a lot in wafer fabs around the world, and crappy reception in the fabs often drain battery quickly).

    I guess it will depend on what Apps are installed, and you use push notifications, but it would be useful to have a test where you charge the phone, and then let it sit for 8 hours doing nothing, and then report the battery life. The older Android phones seemed terrible at this, while my iPhone 3GS is great.

    This phone looks awesome, but I would need this information before I would consider buying it.
    Reply

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