Samsung’s lack of real-world testing could be to blame for the issues a handful of reviewers ran into while using the Galaxy Fold. That’s because the handset doesn’t have enough protection against the ingress of debris, which can — and did — cause damage to the folding screen, rending the device unusable. And that’s a strong indication that the unit was confined to a lab during the testing phase.
It’s unclear whether that’s the reason Samsung decided to delay the launch of the Galaxy Fold or whether the reviewers who tampered with the protective layer affixed to the screen, thus damaging it, were to blame for that, but it ought to be something it focuses on now — it’s shaping up to be a somewhat widespread issue, with there being five reports of units breaking due to foreign matter.
That’s according to iFixit, which had its wicked teardown way with the Galaxy Fold earlier this week. After commending the handset’s robust hinge mechanism, the outlet noted that are a number of openings surrounding it — both at the top and bottom — that would allow dirt and other forms of debris to seep in and rub against the fragile OLED screen, subsequently triggering all sorts of issues.
Patching them up shouldn’t be too difficult a task. Apple had a similar issue with the keyboard on the MacBook and MacBook Pro, which was somewhat of a debris magnet. After a number of reports of keyboard issues surfaced, it introduced a silicone layer that acts as a buffer between the inside and outside. Samsung could do something similar with the Fold to stop debris from entering the inside.
In addition, seeing that most the reports of devices breaking came after reviewers tampered with the protective film on top of the screen, which Samsung warned could render the handset unusable if toyed with, it should also be looking for a way to notify customers that the layer must be left in place. As it stands, there’s a notice on the film covering the unit in the box, but it needs to do more.
iFixit awarded the Galaxy Fold a repairability score of two out of ten, with ten being the easiest to repair and one the most difficult; noting that the screen could be damaged during the dismantlement process. For that reason, when the handset does eventually hit the shelves, it would be best to let Samsung handle all maintenance. That way if something goes wrong, you won’t have to foot the bill.
Samsung is expected to launch the Galaxy Fold in the US on June 13.