[Update: Launch delayed] The $2,000 Samsung Galaxy Fold has already been broken for some reviewers
While most consumers are patiently waiting for the Samsung Galaxy Fold, reviewers have had the devices in hand for a little while. The initial influx of first impressions was very positive. People finally got to actually fold the device and it was exciting. However, now that these people have been using the device for a little while, the honeymoon period is ending.
A big question around the folding display is durability and it seems there are some early problems with that already. Several prominent reviewers have reported pretty major issues with their Galaxy Fold units. The problems range from bulges under the screen with lines on the display to flashing panels and huge dead spots.
After one day of use… pic.twitter.com/VjDlJI45C9
— Steve Kovach (@stevekovach) April 17, 2019
Steve Kovach from CNBC appears to be the first person to share his Galaxy Fold problem. As you can see, the left side of the screen is flashing sporadically and it eventually went black and won’t turn back on.
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
Mark Gurman from Bloomberg is also having display issues. He doesn’t mention the screen flashing, but one half of the display is black and it has begun bleeding over to nearly the whole display. But here’s where things get a little interesting. Mark peeled off a plastic film that is apparently not supposed to be removed.
The phone comes with this protective layer/film. Samsung says you are not supposed to remove it. I removed it, not knowing you’re not supposed to (consumers won’t know either). It appeared removable in the left corner, so I took it off. I believe this contributed to the problem. pic.twitter.com/fU646D2zpY
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) April 17, 2019
Samsung does mention this in the manual for the Galaxy Fold: “The main screen includes a special protective layer. Peeling off the protective layer or using any adhesives on the main screen, such as screen protectors or stickers, may cause damage.” However, it doesn’t appear that this is the culprit for all the problems. Kovach did not remove it and his still broke. Marques Brownlee started to remove it and the display started freaking out.
Dieter Bohn from The Verge is having a separate issue with his Galaxy Fold. He noticed a small bulge underneath the display right at the fold crease. This bulge is causing the OLED panel to distort and you can see the lines on the display meeting at the bulge.
Obviously, none of this is good news. It would be bad news for a standard $800-1,000 phone, but it’s even worse for a $2,000 phone. Samsung will likely be very understanding and send out replacement units as quickly as possible, but the situation is not great. Once consumers get the device in their hands we will hear about every little problem that pops up. The Galaxy Fold is a first generation device and everyone is watching it very closely.
Update 1: Samsung’s Response
Samsung provided the following statement to The Verge:
A limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were provided to media for review. We have received a few reports regarding the main display on the samples provided. We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter.
Separately, a few reviewers reported having removed the top layer of the display causing damage to the screen. The main display on the Galaxy Fold features a top protective layer, which is part of the display structure designed to protect the screen from unintended scratches. Removing the protective layer or adding adhesives to the main display may cause damage. We will ensure this information is clearly delivered to our customers.
The company will personally inspect the affected units and will take steps to make sure customers are aware not to remove the protective layer on the Galaxy Fold. However, no information has been provided about the cause behind the defective units.
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