Opinion

Let’s talk about the Galaxy Fold’s screen ‘issues’

We’re the source of all things Samsung, so it would be wrong if we didn’t jump on the bandwagon and offer up our opinion on the recent reports of some Galaxy Fold units breaking after being in the hands of reviewers for no more than 24 hours. But before we dive deeper, we want to state that even though we’re Samsung fans, we’re unbiased — we both praise the firm and criticise it.

Now let’s get down to business. We flew over to London to pick up our Galaxy Fold on Tuesday. It’s still working as should be. But the same can’t be said for some reviewers who also had the chance to get their hands on one ahead of the device’s launch in the United States on April 26. But for the most part, their demise is due to user error; though there are a couple of concerning cases.

We’re going to address them all.

Case 1

There’s a protective layer covering the screen, which shouldn’t be detached or tampered with. In most instances, the reviewers had fidgeted with the film in some way, shape or form. We can’t fathom why, though. When we arrived to pick up our Galaxy Fold, Samsung held a briefing to fill us in on everything we needed to know — and not removing the protective layer was at the top of the list.

We’ve noted before that Samsung should have made more effort to signpost that a design feature as important as the protective layer, which is integral to the screen functioning as intended, should not be toyed with. As it stands, the retail unit comes with one reference on the cellophane wrapper that covers the handset in the box. But there should be more warnings, like a sticker on the screen.

We could understand if a consumer stripped off the film without reading it, but reviewers have no excuse. Everyone we have spoke to, our own team included, was told face-to-face that the protective layer should not be removed because the screen is less than a millimetre thick and thus prying it off could cause significant damage — just as we saw in the case of some of the affected reviewers.

What’s even more frustrating, however, is the fact that people confused the film for a screen protector and wanted to remove it as a result. If that was the case, we most certainly wouldn’t want to remove one of its main protective features — and nor would most consumers. After all, the Galaxy Fold retails for $1980 in the United States. You’d want to do everything you can to protect it.

Case 2

Now let’s talk about The Verge, who didn’t pry off the screen protector, but rather used a thin piece of molding clay to prop up the handset for a video shoot. It’s thought that dust from the material seeped into the slight opening between the hinge and the screen, rendering the latter useless. That’s not a consequence most people would think of, so it’s an important lesson for all.

There’s a slight gap between the hinge and the screen.
 

The Galaxy Fold doesn’t have an IP certification, so it isn’t resistant to dust, dirt or water. For that reason, users must be extremely careful with the device. Any element could lead to its unfortunate demise. Chances are, you aren’t going to be playing with clay near your unit, but if you have children some microscopic dust from a rogue piece of Play-Doh could have the same effect.

Case 3

The final instance of breakage shows no signs of user negligence whatsoever. The owner in question said that half of the device’s screen stopped working after a few hours of use. To us, that sounds like a faulty unit, in the same way that if you buy a bunch of bananas from a shop one or two could be bruised. The reality is that all products have defects, even if only a couple of units suffer from them.

Samsung has replaced the unit and is investigating the cause of the failure.

As we said earlier, our Galaxy Fold is working just fine. But we’d like to take this opportunity to advise Samsung to invest more resources into making customers aware of how sensitive the handset is to dust, dirt and water, as well as stressing the importance of not removing the protective layer. That could be done in the form of an in-the-box leaflet and a start-up software notification.

Keen to find out more about the Galaxy Fold? Check out our hands-on. Want to learn about the protective layer? Check out our explainer.

  • Model: SM-F900F
  • Dimensions: Unfolded: 160.9 x 117.9 x 6.9 mm Folded: 160.9 x 62.9 x 15.5 mm
  • Display: 7,3" (185.4mm) Super AMOLED
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
  • Camera: 16 MP, CMOS F2.2 & 12MP, CMOS F1.5/F2.4Wide & 12MP, CMOS F2.4 Telephoto

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DazzerD
DazzerD

I went to one of the UK invitation one-to-one demonstrations and pre-order events a few days ago. A Samsung employee told me that Samsung was considering extending the top plastic film layer to go under the bezel and this change could still be made before delivery on 3 May. I expressed doubt this could be done at this late stage but the Samsung employee insisted it could happen. Make of that what you will!

locarno
locarno

If screen is thinner than 1mm, then where touch layer is located ?

locarno
locarno

“That could be done in the form of an in-the-box leaflet and a start-up software notification.”

They can’t add it to the box as they already produced thousand of units. It is too late.

locarno
locarno

“in the same way that if you buy a bunch of bananas from a shop one or two could be bruised.”

Just change shop.

locarno
locarno

“piece of Play-Doh”

This is ad ? You should write “piece of plasticine”.

locarno
locarno

“There’s a slight gap between the hinge and the screen.”

They should fix it.

locarno
locarno

“You’d want to do everything you can to protect it.”

If you rich then you can use phone without any protection, because you have always money to buy new unit.

locarno
locarno

“is less than a millimetre thick”

Wow ! This is modern technology.

locarno
locarno

“But there should be more warnings, like a sticker on the screen.”

And notification.

locarno
locarno

Huawei Mate X also have this layer or not ?

locarno
locarno

“When we arrived to pick up our Galaxy Fold, Samsung held a briefing to fill us in on everything we needed to know — and not removing the protective layer was at the top of the list.”

Maybe in the US they haven’t this briefing.

locarno
locarno

“We can’t fathom why, though.”

Because they thought this is protective film that they can remove after unboxing phone.

locarno
locarno

“But for the most part, their demise is due to user error; though there are a couple of concerning cases.”

The Verge unit is broken because something with hinge happened. They left the protective film on the screen.

locarno
locarno

“We flew over to London to pick up our Galaxy Fold on Tuesday.”

They couldn’t send you this unit to Netherlands or US Sammobile HQ ?

siaho
siaho

As Danny said, I am more worried about long term usage and dust problems. We all got dust in our pockets and if it turns out it’s easy for dust to get there and break the phone… ouch. :/

PookiePrancer
PookiePrancer

We haven’t seen any cases of pocket dust ruining the hinges or displays, so that’s encouraging.

Personally, my left pocket in any and every garment is my dedicated phone pocket. NOTHING goes in there but my phone.

locarno
locarno

Galaxy Fold is IP68 ?

locarno
locarno

Ok. It don’t have IP68.

“The Galaxy Fold doesn’t have an IP certification, so it isn’t resistant to dust”

hammadk
hammadk

this was supposed to happen as it is an industry first. tech is really a couple of years away from really taking off the shelves. Samsung should have seen it coming by signing NDA with real world people and testing it out. not a fan of folding device anyway. Apple is doing a clever thing. Samsung will test out folding screens and then once the screens are ready apple will start buying and not have any such issues.

merc320
merc320

What apple will really do is wait 5 years then start to use the screens from Samsung. They say they made this cutting edge tech then try and sue Samsung for copying there folding screens as normal! In the mean time when apple start to catch up they will charge 4k for the same thing just because it has an apple logo.

PookiePrancer
PookiePrancer

Case 2. I guarantee you a sizable chunk of that modeling clay made its way into the hinge, causing it to bind, break, and damage the screen. They were dumb for using it.

Case 3. Marques Brownlee observed that that device had scuff and scratch marks indicating other abuse the reviewer wasn’t admitting.

Now, both cases are still pending investigation, but it’s starting to look good for Samsung.

Biransahin
Biransahin

A very sensible analysis Danny. This incident did make some well known YouTubers look just a little bit dumb. They should be apologising to Samsung for causing this particular issue and the resultant bad press. Though yes, there seems to be one genuinely faulty screen. In a way it is good that this issue is highlighted now, before the retail version is available and Samsung can apply a big sticker, with “Don’t remove the top layer of the screen” on it. Samsung do bear some responsibility though, as they need to take into account the fact that some people are… Read more »

Abhijeet M.
Abhijeet M.

I think the biggest difference is that no reviewer has had to pay for the Fold. When someone actually pays for this stuff, they won’t remove the preinstalled screen protector. Some might, but there’s far less chance of actual consumers doing it. With some warnings in the box, hopefully it will be a non-issue over the long term.

Biransahin
Biransahin

Yes, totally agree.