Opinion

Sorry to say this, fellows, but I don’t trust your Galaxy Fold tests

The Galaxy Fold flaunts a brand new form factor, and as far as the exterior design goes, this is the first device of its kind to enter uncharted territories. The biggest question surrounding Samsung’s first foldable phone is just how durable it is, and to this end, our boss Danny took the device to Egypt for a real-world test in a sandy environment. To our surprise, the phone survived unscathed.

Meanwhile, various independent websites took it upon themselves to test the durability of the intricate hinge and foldable panel in lab-like conditions using a robotic contraption that repeatedly folds and unfolds the device. But as much as I appreciate the effort of trying to determine the Fold’s durability, I must say that I don’t trust these independent Galaxy Fold tests whatsoever.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to imply that the websites and/or reviewers who have performed these Galaxy Fold tests are not to be trusted. All I’m saying is that the test they’ve devised seems to be flawed and very unrepresentative of real-world usage. The biggest issue I have is that they try to cram 100,000+ folds in as little time as possible, and they don’t seem to take into consideration the damage that can occur from heat generated by friction.

No consideration for frictional heating in these independent tests

Because of this, the fold/unfold tests I’ve seen so far seem to defeat their own purpose. They aim to quickly determine how the hinge and/or the foldable panel will fare after years of usage, but the only thing they seem to reveal is how well the Galaxy Fold fares after a few hours of abuse.

You may recall that Samsung tested the Galaxy Fold’s mechanical hinge using its own robotic contraptions, but take a closer look at the official video below and you will see that Samsung’s test doesn’t put unnecessary (or unrealistic) strain on the moving parts. There’s always a pause between each fold/unfold, and I assume this has less to do with Samsung wanting to shine a bright light on its product, and more to do with wanting to avoid frictional heating during testing – a phenomenon you would not have to worry about at all during normal usage, therefore, something that should not be a part of the testing procedure.

In contrast, the independent Galaxy Fold tests we’ve seen so far don’t seem to account for frictional heating at all. They almost instantly fold and unfold the phone for more than 100,000 times over and over (almost slamming it open and shut), without letting the hinge mechanism and foldable display take a breather for even a second. I must say I have real issues with this methodology. I think it simply does not reveal what will happen to the Galaxy Fold after 100,000 folds/unfolds in the real world. It only shows what frictional heating can do to the hinge (and perhaps even the foldable panel) over hours of abuse. Take a look for yourself.

Aren’t drop tests just as useless?

Not really. To be frank, I’m not a fan of drop tests either, and I will never decide whether or not a phone is worth buying based on drop test results. And indeed, drop tests are also often controlled and somewhat unrealistic, as they usually aim to drop devices on their most vulnerable sides and highlight what could happen in the worst-case scenario.

Nevertheless, drop tests are at least more consistent with real-world usage scenarios. Dropping your phone face-down on hard concrete is something that could actually happen. But you will never fold/unfold your Galaxy Fold for 100,000+ times without taking a break, and in my opinion, these independent tests fail to accurately “age” the device and offer a glimpse of the future.


In closing, understand that I’m not blindly defending the Galaxy Fold. I am well aware of the phone’s shortcomings and the warnings that come with it. I know it’s not as resilient as a regularly-shaped flagship, especially since it lacks dust and waterproofing, so I would be happy to see how the device will actually hold up over the years. But the independent fold/unfold tests I’ve seen so far don’t satisfy my curiosity or answer my question. They seem unfair, inaccurate, or misleading.

If you truly want to give people useful information about a fresh device that boasts a new and untested form factor, then you’d better tune (and tone down) your robotic contraption while taking into consideration any unintended effects that may occur and virtually negate your own test results.

  • 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

20 Comments

Sign in »

20
Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

kav946
kav946

There are a lot more variables that are not accounted for than just heat. Over time there will be twisting, and slight deforming from being in pockets, etc. Like others have said, dust in the hinge will cause the hinge to deform slightly. The test is for YouTube views and nothing else.

That said, this is a fragile beast, and while you got to start innovating somewhere, version 4 or 5 may be the one that becomes practical. Or maybe we realize that a seamless folding screen just isn’t a good idea.

preime101
preime101

i don’t think it will take that long. Version 2 will be a significant improvement and version 3 will be ready for the mass market.

rookiecmon
rookiecmon

The tester broke first before the fold stopped.

erasapto
erasapto

Yes mihai, i even fold my samsung fold very carefully. So the the test is not trusted based on daily usage manner i think.

Gunter2
Gunter2

I’m a big fan of Samsung now after years with other less good devices. The testing is definitely flawed. However it doesn’t take away from the fact the fold screen is far too soft and delicate for normal use expectations. A unwitting press on the screen with a fingernail permanently damages it. It’s just not good enough. I reckon I will be staying with my Note10 plus and future Notes for a long time to come. It’s very obvious why there’s no sPen support. An sPen would damage the screen. I understand people defending it, it’s a new technology that… Read more »

VIRGIN KLM
VIRGIN KLM

Emphasis on the “not good enough”, well said.

Ducati916
Ducati916

Nobody in real life is gonna treat there fold in this manner an most of the time you’ll be looking at the small screen for quick access

Sjokosaus
Sjokosaus

Great article with completely valid points.

CrAzYLiFe1
CrAzYLiFe1

You can ignore reality all you want Mihai, your life 🙂

FooFan73
FooFan73

But these 3rd party tests AREN’T set in reality, that’s the point Mihai is making

CrAzYLiFe1
CrAzYLiFe1

Since before the release ive seen a heavy one sided push in favour for the fold on this site. I don’t think the devices are moving fast enough to generate enough friction for any significant heat here, however I have not folded one myself to actualy gauge that. Either way the crease got noticeably worse at the 80,000 mark. If the hinge is going bad/deteriorated at around 120,000 imaging a more real world scenario time will see small build up of particles and dust from the air, surroundings and pockets. I foresee alot of deteriorated hinges in around the year… Read more »

Gunter2
Gunter2

As a Samsung fan I feel sorry to have to agree with you, but I do. A device that has a screen that needs to be protected constantly like a newborn babe isn’t viable for everyday use. It’s going to get damaged easily in one moment of inattention.

matrinez
matrinez

They pretty much aim to break it and get a headline

henklbr
henklbr

My thoughts as well…

Ducati916
Ducati916

I’ve never seen more idiots trying to break a product in my life

CrAzYLiFe1
CrAzYLiFe1

I do believe that was the test, to see how long it would last… there compacting expected years worth into a day, aint nobody gonna watch a live stream over a year..

henklbr
henklbr

Well said, Mihai… 🙂