Mobile Devices

LG Optimus 4X HD P880 Mobile Handset Teardown

30 November 2012
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Benchmarking.

IHS Insight Perspective

LG Optimus is a series of phones from LG, which is like Samsung's Galaxy series, has a lot of variations out in the marketplace. This Optimus 4X HD is LG's first quad-core smartphone in the Optimus series. LG announced this model in February 2012 and released it in June of 2012 after HTC's release of ONE X in April and Samsung's release of Galaxy S3 in May. There is really no standout of this phone from other competitors" offerings, as all of these quad-core handsets will feature the latest ICS Android OS, high end cameras, HD screen, and even the same NVIDIA Tegra3 processor like in the HTC One X.

LG Optimus 4X HD P880 Mobile Handset - Device View 1LG Optimus 4X HD P880 Mobile Handset - Device View 1
LG Optimus is LG's attempt to build a branded phone line since its first release of Optimus in 2010 following Samsung's first release of Galaxy seires in 2009. Just like Samsung, the LG Optimus series of smartphones has many variants that range from entry-level to high-end devices where the higher-end one like this Optimus 4X HD, is positioned to directly compete with other high-end phones such as Apple's iPhone, Samsung's Galaxy S3, and HTC One X.

LG Optimus 4X HD P880 Mobile Handset - Main PCB TopLG Optimus 4X HD P880 Mobile Handset - Main PCB Top
Feature Significance

The LG Optimus 4X HD (P880) is a HSPA+ Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) smartphone with a 4.7" diagonal 1280 x 720 HD IPS LCD display, a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra3 processor (Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A9, 1.5GHz), and HSPA+ wireless connectivity (provided by Intel). This LG Optimus 4X HD also has 16GB on board eMMC NAND Flash, 1GB of LPDDR2 DRAM, 8MP primary camera and 1.3MP secondary camera.

LG Optimus 4X HD P880 Mobile Handset - Main PCB BottomLG Optimus 4X HD P880 Mobile Handset - Main PCB Bottom
Design Significance

This Optimus 4X HD features Nvidia and Intel in key functional slots. The newly released Optimus G will feature Qualcomm's quad-core LTE solution. Nonetheless, both designs further demonstrate where Qualcomm and Intel are both heading - towards an oligopolistic domination of the mobile market. This is because few other suppliers will be able to compete with the breadth of product that both can offer as "one stop shops" for phone OEMs (offering all the major required functions under one roof) or at the advanced geometries that this design features (28nm for the Qualcomm APQ8064, and Intel produce at such geometries in-house). This LG Optimus phone design shows that LG wants to keep their design and chip partner options open and not be over leveraged with very few suppliers.

Target Market

High end smartphone market

This kind of smartphone represents, more or less, the high end of the smartphone continuum, or at least is part of that higher end.


June, 2012 Per found releases

This phone was announced in February 2012 and hardware was released in June, 2012.

Pricing and Availability

$389 and up USD

Pricing found from multiple online vendors at the time of analysis (unsubsidized) start at around $389 USD (Dec 2012).


Volume Estimations

2,000,000 Annual Units
1.5 Total Years

For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed an Annual Production Volume of 2000000 units and a Product Lifetime Volume of 1.5 year(s).

Teardown volume and production assumptions are primarily used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially). Unless assumed volumes are different by an order of magnitude, minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis because of this.

Market Performance

Per IHS iSuppli's research, smartphones are becoming the defining product that drives sales for handset OEMs, especially as entry-level and feature-phones fall by the wayside. In 2011, smart phones accounted for 33% of the 1.4 billion legal handsets sold; and by 2015 smartphones will grow to 60% of the total market. The future of the wireless handset industry will be shaped by trends in the smartphone segment.

Per IHS iSuppli's Design Forecast Tool: The total handset shipment will be around 1.44 billion in 2012, of which 655 millions will be smartphones and LG will contribute 66 millions (10%) towards the smartphone market in the same year.

Cost Notes

LG has incredible scale and vertical integration with an unequalled ability to supply the bulk of the $ value inside most LG phones. Whether the components are internally sourced or externally sourced, LG also has some of the most competitive pricing in the handset space along with Apple and Samsung, and that is reflected in this pricing analysis.

Top 10 Cost Drivers account for 68% of the total BOM

Main Cost Drivers below

LG Display Display Module - 4.7" Diagonal, 16.7M Color TFT, IPS Mode, 1280 x 720 Pixels- (Qty: 1)
Samsung Semiconductor KMKTS000VM-B604 MCP - 16GB eMMC NAND Flash + 1GB Mobile DDR2- (Qty: 1)
Nvidia AP33-A3 Application Processor - Tegra 3, Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A9, 1.5GHz- (Qty: 1)
LG Innotek Display Window / Touchscreen - 4.7" Diagonal, Capacitive, ITO Film over Glass, Painted, Printed, w/ Integral Flex PCB- (Qty: 1)
Primary Camera Module - 8MP, BSI CMOS, 1/4" Format, Auto Focus Lens- (Qty: 1)
Intel PMB9811 Baseband / Power Management - Quad-Band GSM/EDGE, WCDMA/HSPA+, ARM Core, 40nm- (Qty: 1)
LG Innotek 12-Layer - FR4/RCF HDI, Any Layer Stacked Via, Lead-Free- (Qty: 1)
BL-53QH Battery - Li-ion, 3.8V, 2150mAh- (Qty: 1)
Intel PMB5712 RF Transceiver - Quad-Band GSM/EDGE, WCDMA/HSPA+- (Qty: 1)
Broadcom BCM4330XB2KFFBG Bluetooth / FM / WLAN - IEEE802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0+HS, FM Radio Transceiver- (Qty: 1)

Not Included in Analysis

The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.

We do provide an Excel tab "Overall Costs" where a user can enter their known pre and post production costs to build a per unit cost reflective of theirs actual expenditures.

Manufacturing Notes

LG manufactures most handsets in house taking advantage of the vertical integrations of various components. Products typically start their lifespan being built in South Korea, then ultimately transition to facilities in China for cost optimization purposes.

Country of Origin

For the purposes of this analysis, we are assuming the following country(ies) of origin for each level of assembly, based on a combination of "Made In" markings, and/or assumptions based on our knowledge of such equipment.

Box Contents - Korea, South
Camera Assembly - Korea, South
Display / Touchscreen - Korea, South
Main PCB - Korea, South
Misc PCB Assemblies - Korea, South
Other - Enclosures / Final Assembly - Korea, South

Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of "finished" sub-assemblies (such as Display Module), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.

Labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. "Auto" inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pincount of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.

Design Complexity

Component counts by assembly and the number of assembly are indicators of design complexity and efficiency.

Component Qty: 844 - Main PCB
Component Qty: 35 - Display / Touchscreen
Component Qty: 50 - Camera Assembly
Component Qty: 103 - Other - Enclosures / Final Assembly
Component Qty: 17 - Box Contents
Component Qty: 82 - Misc PCB Assemblies
Component Qty: 1131 - Grand Total

The average smartphone we teardown ranges from 900 to 1100 components in all, although LTE designs push, sometimes, much higher (into the 1500 component range) - traditional HSPA+ designs such as this remain in line with historic smartphone complexity.

LG Optimus 4X HD P880 Mobile Handset - Primary Camera ModuleLG Optimus 4X HD P880 Mobile Handset - Primary Camera Module
Design Notes

The core of the LG Optimus 4X HD is the quad-core Tegra 3 processor from Nvidia. Quad-core is expected to become the norm for new, high end smartphones over the course of 2012 to include the quad-core Exynos from Samsung, and quad-core Snapdragon "Krait" from Qualcomm.

What's interesting about this design, is that this design most closely resembles the HTC One X design we analyzed in teardown earlier this year - both of which feature the NVIDIA Tegra3 processor, and the core Intel chipset (PMB9811 baseband and PMB5712 RF transceiver).

The memory solution is interesting as well. For some processors that are too large - package on package memory is not possible (the A5X processor being a great example of this - iPad 3). In such cases you may see what is seen here: a memory MCP with all the NAND and DRAM in a single package.

The rest of the design is fairly conventional and features a Broadcom BCM4330 WiFi combo chip, NFC functionality via NXP PN544 IC, high-defintion video is supported by a Silicon Image SiI9244BO chip, and interestingly we see a Synaptics solution for the control IC on the touchscreen. This usually means Synaptics supply the whole touchscreen solution but this can rarely be confirmed from inspection of the physical sample.

LG Optimus 4X HD P880 Mobile Handset - Box ContentsLG Optimus 4X HD P880 Mobile Handset - Box Contents

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