​Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus: This is how much your new smartphone costs to build

The new smartphone model's 'much higher' costs are driven by its updated camera, but the screen remains the most expensive component.
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director

The 64GB version of Samsung Galaxy S9+ adds an extra $43 in materials costs over the previous model, largely down to the new camera and the higher cost of memory.

According to an analysis by researchers IHS Markit, this year's model of Samsung's big-screen smartphone has a bill of materials of around $375.80, which is $43 more than the Galaxy S8+. The higher bill of materials is driven mainly by the rising prices for DRAM and NAND flash memory, as well as the smartphone's new dual-lens mechanical aperture camera module.

The research company previously said that the 64GB iPhone X carries a bill of materials of $370.25, while Samsung's Galaxy S8 with 64GB of storage costs $302 (IHS has not analysed the Galaxy S9 yet).

Andrew Rassweiler, senior director of cost benchmarking services for IHS Markit, said that despite the higher costs for Samsung, the Galaxy S9+ offers consumers better specs at about the same price point as the Galaxy S8+, including a brighter screen and better camera technology.


The Galaxy S9 broken down.

Image: IHS Markit

IHS said the most significant new feature is the 12-megapixel dual-lens camera, which includes the first variable-aperture system built into a smartphone, supporting F1.5 and F2.4, image over-sampling and 960 frames-per-second slow motion. The combined bill of materials cost for the primary, secondary, iris camera and other modules is $44.95. Of this, $34.95 is down to the new primary camera, which delivers better results in low-light conditions.

Download now: New equipment budget policy

The Galaxy S9+ also upgrades from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor to the Snapdragon 845 -- one of the first smartphones to do so. The 845 chipset contains an LTE CAT18 modem, offering peak LTE speeds up to 1.2Gbps (via 6 carrier aggregation and 4x4 MIMO support). The Snapdragon 845, including all supporting components from Qualcomm, is estimated to cost $67.

IHS said the Galaxy S9+'s 6.2-inch Super AMOLED screen (2960x1440 pixels, 529ppi) 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, making it the most expensive component in the device.

The bill of materials is not the only cost that goes into a phone of course, as it does not include items such as software, assembly, marketing and distribution.


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