Nexus 4 Teardown

We got our disassembly-obsessed hands on the Nexus 4 today, and we didn’t even have to send anyone to Australia this time! This little beauty showed up in our mailbox — early delivery courtesy of UPS!

After removing some screws and prying with our trusty plastic opening tool, we made quick work of the Nexus’s outer case. Good news: the Nexus 4 earned high marks for repairability. Some heavy adhesive slowed down battery removal, but every other component (including the speaker assembly and the motherboard) came out with relatively little effort. Keeping pace with Apple’s iPhone 5, the Nexus earned a solid 7 out of 10 on our repairability scale.

Nexus 4 highlights:

* Not all black rectangles are created equal. Compared to the Galaxy Nexus — the phone it succeeds — the Nexus 4 is a hair heavier (139 g vs 135 g), thicker (9.1 mm vs 8.9 mm), and wider (68.7 mm vs 67.9 mm).

* If you’re curious how this black rectangle stacks up to other black rectangles, check this out: (Left to right: iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Galaxy S III, LG Nexus 4).

* A number of pressure contacts power the NFC antenna and connect the induction coil needed for wireless charging to the motherboard. With “wireless charging” listed as an official tech spec for the Nexus 4, we were anxious to try it out on our device. Alas, the phone doesn’t ship with a wireless charger. Sadness.

* Screws hold the battery connector in place. At first the disassembly looks easy, but the battery is secured to the case with quite a bit of adhesive, requiring a lot of prying.

* The entire device only contains four different-length screws — all common screw types — for a total of only 15 screws. Once the back cover and inner frame are removed, pressure contacts make all of the inner components a breeze to replace.

* The glass is fused to both the display and the display frame. So don’t crack the glass unless you’re good with a heat gun, or you’re fond of replacing the glass, display, and frame together (which requires muchos buckaroos).

* The Nexus is equipped with a 3.8 V, 2100 mAh battery. Just like Apple did with the iPhone 5′s 1440 mAh unit, LG is utilizing a 3.8 V battery (instead of the more-common 3.7 V variant) to power the Nexus 4. Unlike Apple, however, LG manufactures their own battery.

* The speaker enclosure is held in place with two screws and no cables — spring contacts connect it to the rest of the phone, making its removal a snap.

* In addition to providing some support and stability, the front panel frame houses the earpiece speaker and vibrator motor, both of which attach to the motherboard via pressure contacts.

* The motherboard:

  • Samsung K3PE0E00A 2 GB RAM. (We suspect the Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.5 GHz CPU lies underneath.)
  • Toshiba THGBM5G6A2JBA1R 8GB Flash
  • Qualcomm WTR1605L Seven-Band 4G LTE chip
  • Qualcomm MDM9215M 4G GSM/CDMA modem
  • SlimPort ANX7808 SlimPort Transmitter (HDMI output converter)
  • Invensense MPU-6050 Six-Axis (Gyro + Accelerometer)
  • Avago ACPM-7251 Quad-Band GSM/EDGE and Dual-Band UMTS Power Amplifier
  • Avago 3012 Ultra Low-Noise GNSS Front-End Module
  • Qualcomm PM8921 Power Management
  • Avago A5702, A5704, A5505
  • Qualcomm WCD9310 Audio Codec

* A Synaptics S7020A touchscreen controller ensures your fingers morph into super-accurate pig-killing machines in a certain popular game. The 4.7″, 1280 x 768 pixel, WXGA IPS display is naturally manufactured by LG Display.

Here’s the full teardown.

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