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Samsung's Galaxy S4 costs between $241 and $244 in parts and manufacturing expenses depending on the model, according to a preliminary "virtual" teardown of the device performed by iSuppli based on the official specs. In other words, the group hasn't actually gutted an S4 yet so its figures are subject to change, but they should be close enough to offer a glimpse at what it costs to build a fourth-gen Galaxy.
Analysts think the LTE version will be a few bucks cheaper partly because it has a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, which is said to cost $10 less than the HSPA model's $30 octa-core Samsung Exynos 5. There are cost discrepancies between the two phones' wireless and power management components but it works out so the LTE variant costs $3 less. By comparison, the HSPA Galaxy S3 costs $213 to build.
Unsurprisingly, the S4's five-inch 1920x1080 display with Gorilla Glass 3 is by far the most expensive part in the device and represents the greatest price increase over the S3 at $75 versus $65. Meanwhile, the 16GB of flash and 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM trail distantly at $28, the 13MP+2MP cameras reportedly costs $20 – only $1 more than the S3's 8MP+1.9MP setup – and the S4 has $16 worth of sensors over $12.70.
Regardless of the model, iSuppli figures they include about $6 worth of box contents and they have $22 of mechanical and electro-mechanical-related expenses. The researcher also noted how many in-house Samsung parts are in the phone, not least of which are the display, touchscreen module, as well as the SoC and PWM chips on the HSPA model and presumably the memory. It's estimated that Samsung contributes at least $149 worth of parts in the HSPA unit, representing 63% of the total bill of materials.