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Samsung's Galaxy S7 Costs at Least $255 to Build

It includes a smaller-megapixel, but better, camera.

David Ramos / Getty

The components used in Samsung’s latest smartphone, the Galaxy S7, cost a combined $255, a teardown analysis by the research firm IHS has found. That is about as much as it cost to build a Galaxy S5 two years ago.

The IHS report, due out later today, will show that South Korea-based Samsung is following a “more of the same” approach with the internal components of the S7 device, with several parts showing incremental improvement over prior generations. In the U.S., the S7 sells for an unsubsidized price of $670.

The most expensive component inside the phone is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820, the cost of which IHS pegs at $62 or nearly a quarter of the total component cost. Samsung’s chip manufacturing division is making the chip for Qualcomm under a deal announced earlier this year.

Even so, the phone represents a win for Qualcomm, which last year missed out on the Galaxy S6 after Samsung decided to use its own internally-designed chip, the Exynos 7 after the Snapdragon 810 failed to meet expectations.

IHS didn’t identify the company that manufactured the main camera, but analyst Andrew Rassweiler, who ran the teardown process, said for the S7 Samsung opted for a camera with a lower megapixel count than in the S6. “Samsung appears to have backtracked on its regular path of pixel inflation in favor of focusing on technology in the camera that delivers better end results overall,” he said.

The S6 featured a 16-megapixel camera while the S7 features a 12-megapixel camera. Photographic performance in the new device has been improved, he said, by using a new dual-pixel technology in which each individual pixel has its own auto-focusing capabilities.

The result, as described by Walt Mossberg, speeds up the focusing process, and tends to take better pictures in low-light conditions, rendering them “both brighter and less blurry.”

It is, Rassweiler said, “the best camera on the smartphone market,” besting even the one found in Apple’s iPhone 6s. The camera added $13.70 to the cost of components.

The IHS cost estimate includes figures for hardware components plus about $5 for final assembly and doesn’t include an estimate for the cost of software development, marketing or distribution.

Samsung did not immediately respond to messages asking for comment on IHS’ findings.

Here’s an “exploded” view of all the main pieces of the S7 taken apart.

Courtesy IHS

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