Admit it. Some of you are early adopters, obsessed with gear acquisition syndrome. So when several mobile phone manufacturers started announcing foldable phones at CES, I’m sure many here were thinking they could do double duty as a great compact field monitor. But just before shipping their new Samsung Galaxy Fold, a handful of users and reviewers have started to complain that the folding phone, with a price tag reaching $2,000, breaks within a few days of normal use. It’s battery gate all over again, but worse.
The screen on my Galaxy Fold review unit is completely broken and unusable just two days in. Hard to know if this is widespread or not. pic.twitter.com/G0OHj3DQHw
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) April 17, 2019
When you’re trying to get some positive buzz for your new product, it helps to get several high profile tech reviewers on your side. So many tech companies send out review units, mostly on loan, for these reporters to give their impressions of the device and whether they’re worth buying. A good review from a respected voice is even more critical when you’re selling a mobile phone for $2,000.
It’s a distressing thing to discover just two days after receiving my review unit. More distressing is that the bulge eventually pressed sharply enough into the screen to break it. You can see the telltale lines of a broken OLED converging on the spot where the bulge is. – Dieter Bohn, The Verge
For that price, you would think that Samsung would have made an Android phone that was bullet proof. But reporters Dieter Bohn of The Verge, Steve Kovach at CNBC, YouTube’s Marques Brownlee, and Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, all experienced catastrophic failure of the screen in the Samsung Galaxy Fold within two days of regular use. Bohn’s issue was due to a small piece of debris which was lodged in the hinge between the two sections of the screen, and then pressed into the display, causing it to fracture.
Gurman, on the other hand, had a display failure shortly after removing what he thought was a typical shipping protective film layer, which is often put on screens to keep them clean during boxing. Turns out, that plastic layer was critical to the design and wasn’t supposed to be removed. “Samsung says you are not supposed to remove it,” Gurman tweeted after a phone call with Samsung. “I removed it, not knowing you’re not supposed to (consumers won’t know either).” Brownlee admitted that he had done the same thing, which he said there was no warning to leave the film on the screen.
Kovach’s Galaxy Fold completely failed after just one day, as his review unit began to flicker and then fail completely. According to Samsung, the Galaxy Fold is rated to be durable up to 200,000 folds, equivalent to five years of daily use, opening the phone 100 times a day. That seems unlikely for the average user, but it’s also tested under ideal laboratory conditions, where a machine opened and closed it 200,000 times before the hinge wore out. Check out this video below:
However, that doesn’t take into account that some debris can be lodged in between the hinge, causing a pressure point, or that users will bend the phone in strange ways while in their pocket. Remember bend gate?
Now to be fair, Casey Neistat got a Galaxy Fold, and other than the price tag, he has had nothing but positive things to say about it. He even showed it off to many people on the beach, giving them their own time with it. Moreover, considering that Neistat is infamous for how hard he treats his gear and how often something breaks, it’s a miracle he hasn’t busted his five seconds in.
Tell me everyone didn’t see this coming. I mean, a folding screen? Of course the first generation was going to fail spectacularly. Seriously though, if you have a balls to charge $2,000 for a phone, even if it folds like origami, you better make sure it’s bullet proof beyond a few days of casual use. And if you’re an early adopter, it’s probably wise to avoid the first generation of ANYTHING new that comes out, because design bugs usually happen on your dime.
Hat Tip – MacRumors