Teardown: Samsung Galaxy Note 3: still the category leader

October 21, 2013 // By Tech Insights Staff
In 2011 Samsung defined a new category with its 5.3" diagonal Galaxy Note phone. The original Note was so large it was considered by many as a phone that aspired to be a tablet, hence the term "phablet" was coined.

The Galaxy Note's monstrous screen was so out of place in the phone marketplace that the competition didn't event mount a comparable rebuttal for nearly 12 months. Now nearly every manufacturer offers a five-inch plus device. But they all still struggle to unseat the category leader.

With the third iteration of the Galaxy Note, Samsung has refused to add kitschy features. Rather it has focused on improving the human interaction elements in using this device as an all-in-one communications device. First off the "S-Pen" continues to be linked into more of the embedded Samsung software and features, while the new Galaxy Watch promises further improvements to the ways the user interacts with the device's proven functionality.

This TechInsights teardown isn't about the software updates. Rather our interest continues to lie under the hood. With that in mind, we crack open the Galaxy Note 3 to examine the horsepower needed to bring all these features to bear for the device's user.

Galaxy Note 3 board back

Galaxy Note 3 board front

Design wins and processors: Teardown highlights and initial cost estimates

TechInsights's initial bill of material costs for the Galaxy Note 3 amount to $237.50. This is an increase of nearly $20 over the costs of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 HSPA device. We estimate this increase in cost is directly related to the improved and larger display module of 5.7 in. versus the previous version at 5.5 in. and the use of the Qualcomm MSM8974 baseband/applications processor. Other significant improvements are also noted in the NAND and SDRAM where the amount of memory has increased by 100% and 50% respectively.

To provide a reference of how the Galaxy Note 3 compares, we have included a comparative view against the previous generation (Galaxy Note 2 (2012)) and the recently launched Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE smart phone.

Major design wins

TechInsights has noted design wins from the following integrated circuit manufacturers. The