Galaxy S5 costs Samsung $256 to build, reveals IHS teardown

The latest flagship model from Samsung Galaxy S5 comes with a huge price tag of Rs 51,500, but have you wondered how much it cost Samsung to build it. As usual we have IHS stepping in to break down the cost of the components that have gone into the S5.


According to Recode, market research firm IHS conducted its teardown (paywall) and has come up with a figure of $256 which comes to approximately Rs 15,500. Now it must be noted that in addition to the cost of components, there are additional expenses Samsung would have incurred in the form of taxes, labour charges, regulatory tests charges, and so on. These all go in to the final price, along with the basic cost of components, known as bill of materials.


Andrew Rassweiler, an IHS analyst, says the cost of components have increased when compared to the Galaxy S4. He said, “Our main takeaway is that Samsung has been moved up to the higher end of the cost spectrum. It used to be that its typical flagship phone sold for $600 without a contract and had a bill of materials of about $200.”


The 5.1 inch Super AMOLED display of the S5 is the most expensive component of the phone. The display has a price tag of $63. Compared to the display of Galaxy S4, S5’s display is cheaper by $12. The flash memory and DRAM memory chips have been supplied by Samsung itself and come with a combined cost of $33. The fingerprint sensor of S5 costs about $4. That's less than one-third the cost of the scanner found in the Apple iPhone 5S which had a $199 bill of materials, while the fingerprint scanner assembly itself cost Apple $15.


Besides the usual sensors like accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, the S5 also boasts of a biosensor that keeps a track of user’s personal health data, including heart rate.  This biosensor has been provided by chipmaker Maxim and cost Samsung $1.45 each. Maxim has also supplied the power management chips for S5, which could be at work in the Extreme Power Saving mode. IHS has estimated the cost of assembly at about $5 per unit and has included it in the $256 total it calculated.


Samsung's overall cost for the S5 has gone up by $20 in actual over the Galaxy S5. This could be due to the new sensors employed by the company, but it could also be down to the damage caused by the fire in a Samsung PCB factory prior to the release. At the very least it would have pushed the cost of printing PCBs up a notch.

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