The analysts at Tech Insights have torn down the Samsung Galaxy S9 in order to analyze the device’s camera sensors and, as usual, the summary of their findings makes interesting reading for anyone who has an interest in image sensor technology. The main takeaway from Tech Insight’s report is that Samsung is once again using different image sensors by region.
Depending on where you buy the Galaxy S9, your device will either come with a Samsung S5K2L3 or Sony IMX345 chip.
Both imagers use a 3-layer stacked structure, comprising a CMOS image sensor, image signal processor (ISP) and DRAM. The Sony IMX345 is very similar in structure to the IMX400, the world’s first 3-layer stacked imager that was introduced on the Sony Xperia XZ flagship a year ago.
The Samsung S5K2L3 ISOCELL Fast sensor is the Korean manufacturer’s first 3-layer stacked model. In contrast to Sony’s custom solution with the DRAM in the middle, Samsung has opted for connecting the DRAM chip face-to-back on the ISP. The assembly also includes a dummy silicon structure filling the unoccupied space next to the DRAM chip.
This definitely won’t translate into noticeable performance or image quality differences between Galaxy S9 smartphones, but it does seem to show that Samsung is far from its goal of dethroning Sony to become #1 in the global image sensor market—it’s hard to dethrone the competition when you’re still using their sensors.
For a lot more detail on the sensor structure and assembly head over to Tech Insights, where you can also purchase even more in-depth reports if you really want to dive deep.