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Review Units of Samsung's Folding Smartphone Have Broken Almost Immediately

The Samsung Galaxy Fold costs $1,980, but multiple reviewers say theirs has broken after just a day of use.

by Matthew Gault
Apr 17 2019, 7:18pm

Image: Todd Hasselton/CNBC

Samsung’s new foldable smartphone is set to launch on April 26, but it appears the company may have a mess on its hands. Multiple reviewers with early access to the phones say they have been breaking after just a day or two of use. It’s not a good sign for a phone that costs $1,980.

All smartphones, from Google’s flagship Pixel to Apple’s iPhones, are pretty much the same. People are buying fewer smartphones and manufacturers are struggling to come up with a new gimmick to get people to buy a new phone every year. Enter Samsung with a beautiful and impossible dream—what if your smartphone came with a foldable screen? The Samsung Galaxy Fold was supposed to be a classy smartphone that unfolded into a full tablet at will.

According to early reviews, it’s not going well. The Verge reported the screen on its review model has a bulge and a crease after just one day of use. “The bulge eventually pressed sharply enough into the screen to break it,” The Verge said. “You can see the telltale lines of a broken OLED converging on the spot where the bulge is.”

The Verge isn’t the only one with problems: Reviewers at CNBC and Bloomberg have also already broken their review units.

Mark Gurman, who reviews tech for Bloomberg, noted that the phone comes with a protective film layer but that he removed it. “Samsung says you are not supposed to remove it,” Gurman tweeted. “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.”

Todd Haselton at CNBC had similar problems, but had not removed the protective film.

"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," a Samsung spokesperson told Motherboard in an email. "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.”