The new Samsung Galaxy S9+ equipped with 64 gigabytes (GB) of NAND flash memory (model number SM-G965U1) carries a bill of materials (BOM) cost of $375.80, much higher than for previous versions of the company’s smartphones. The preliminary estimated total is $43.00 higher than costs for the Galaxy S8+, based on a teardown performed by IHS Markit last year, according to IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO), a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions.
“The higher total BOM cost for the Galaxy S9+ is driven primarily by rising prices for DRAM and NAND flash memory, as well as the smartphone’s more impressive dual-lens mechanical aperture camera module,” said Andrew Rassweiler, senior director of cost benchmarking services for IHS Markit. “Despite the higher cost structure for Samsung, the Galaxy S9+ offers consumers better specs at about the same price point as the Galaxy S8+, including a brighter screen and advanced camera technology.”
The unsubsidized retail price for a 64GB Galaxy S9+ starts at $839.99. IHS Markit has not yet performed a teardown analysis on the smaller Galaxy S9.
Extraordinary camera module
The most noticeable new feature of the S9+ is its 12-megapixel dual-lens camera, which includes the first variable-aperture system built into a smartphone. This dual-mechanical aperture supports F1.5 and F2.4, image over-sampling and 960 frame-per-second slow motion, which provides better results in low-light conditions and supports hardware-based shallow depth-of-field effects. The combined BOM cost for the primary, secondary, iris camera and other modules is $44.95, of which $34.95 is from the new primary camera.
“The extraordinary primary camera module in the Galaxy S9+ costs much more to manufacture than most camera modules we have priced in the past,” Rassweiler said. “Camera technology improvements continue to be a primary budget focus and performance differentiator for smartphone manufacturers.”
Among the first smartphones to feature Snapdragon 845
Upgrading from last year’s CAT16 Snapdragon 835 processor, the Galaxy S9+ features Snapdragon 845, which contains an LTE CAT18 modem. The device accommodates peak LTE speeds up to 1.2 gigabits per second (6 carrier aggregation and 4×4 MIMO support). Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 is built in second-generation 10nm from Samsung foundries. The complete, bundled Qualcomm chipset solution (including all supporting components from Qualcomm) is estimated to cost $67.00.
“The Galaxy S9+ and the Sony Xperia XZ2 are the first smartphones to use Snapdragon 845,” said Wayne Lam, principal analyst of smartphone electronics, IHS Markit. “However, Samsung designed its own RF front-end interface, whereas the Sony model uses Qualcomm’s RF360 solution.”
Samsung relies on a smart face lock in the Samsung Galaxy S9+, which requires both an iris scan and a two-dimensional face image to unlock the device. This new “Intelligent Scan” mode means either one or the other process will be used to unlock the device, depending on lighting conditions or the action being performed. The rear fingerprint sensor has also been re-arranged in a more symmetrical and ergonomic position than in the previous Galaxy S8+ model.
Brighter, truer AMOLED display
Samsung displays are always a showcase for the company’s internally sourced components, and the Galaxy S9+ display is no different. Its 6.2-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED (2960×1440) 529 ppi provides 700 nit brightness, which is slightly higher than last year’s Galaxy S8+. The entire display comes with a bill of materials cost of $79, which is the most expensive component in the device.
15-watt wireless charging
Wireless charging has been upgraded from 7 watts in last year’s model to 15 watts in the Galaxy S9+.