The Samsung Galaxy Fold is set to hit the streets April 26th. The $1,980 smartphone will be the first mainstream phone with a flexible OLED display that lets you phone the hold in half and use it in your pocket, or unfold it and use it like a tablet.

And in spite of the high price tag, it seems to be in high demand — Samsung has temporarily stopped taking pre-orders, since they’ve “surpassed expectations). AT&T is still taking pre-orders, but the ship date has moved back to June.

But… you might want to hold off on buying a Galaxy Fold until it’s clear that some quality control issues are dealt with. At least four of the folks who Samsung sent review units to report that they’ve had their screens break within days of receiving the demo units.

@markgurman

Writing for The Verge, Dieter Bohn says he noticed a bulge in the screen of his Galaxy Fold within two days of receiving the phone. Eventually it pressed against the screen and broke through. It’s not clear what caused the bulge, but he suspects a spec of dust or some other foreign object got into the phone.

Meanwhile, Mark Gurman, who writes for Bloomberg, notes that half his screen went dark and unresponsive after he removed what looked like a protective film covering the display.

It turns out that’s not a screen protector, and Samsung says you shouldn’t remove it. But it’s likely that Gurman won’t be the only person confused by its appearance.

Case in point: YouTuber Marques Brownlee says he also removed the film… with similar results.

CNBC’s Steve Kovach also had his screen go crazy after using the phone for a day (with one side blinking and then going dark).

As for Mark Gurman’s Galaxy Fold, he says It’s gotten worse over time and now the phone is nearly unusable. He’s also spotted a tear at the part of the screen near the top of the phone’s hinge.

All of which is to say — Samsung’s Galaxy Fold is an impressive, expensive phone. And it may also be a fragile one.

At least nobody’s reporting that their phones have burst into flames.

While it’s certainly possible that these issues only affect pre-production hardware, the phone is set to begin shipping next week and reviewers apparently just received their demo units. It’s sure starting to look like Samsung may not have worked out all the kinks for its first folding phone.

I wonder how models from rivals Huawei and Oppo will stack up.

Update: Samsung has issued a statement about the broken review units saying the company “will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter.” The company also notes that you should not remove the top layer covering the screen, as that’s part of the display and dong so could (and probably will) damage the device. Sure, it may look like a screen protector, but it’s not. At least two reports of screen problems occurred after reviewers removed this film. 

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17 replies on “Multiple Samsung Galaxy Fold reviewers have had their screens break ($2,000 foldable phone)”

  1. well engineered and thought out,,did they have anyone like ahhhh test one in the field for more than 15 minutes,,i said this was DOA because of the price,,but looks like Samsung just cut their own throat..

  2. I’m happy to see this falling apart. Nobody asked for a folding phone. I don’t want one. This is all just part of the smartphone industry’s attempt to keep bumping up prices of phones.

    Want to innovate something that I want? Make an android phone that can have the battery and screen replaced by the user, with no more than a hex screwdriver.

  3. First gen product… hopefully most of the problems will be solved by the 3rd generation.

    1. You are being kind. These phones are barely past Alpha testing samples. Samsung is in such a rush to be early in the marketplace they are skipping crucial testing.

    2. Except…who’s going to take a chance on a 2nd or even 3rd gen product when the 1st gen is such an epic failure? Then if not enough people want to take a chance on the 2nd gen, Samsung won’t recover their R&D cost, and will have zero interest in even developing a 3rd gen. Basically, in their rush to bring a folding screen to market before it was ready, Samsung has likely killed the folding screen market before it even starts.

  4. I guess many people were skeptical of the reliability of folding displays for a while. I didn’t expect issues to show up within days though.

    I don’t plan on getting these (too expensive and too big even when folded) but I hope Samsung and maybe other OEMs resolve the problems.

    1. Same, I thought it would take 6+ months, and Samsung will do the usual tactic of deny warranty request at first attempt, and “take a look” on the second request, only to waste 5 weeks of your time to say they can replace the model at cost to the owner.

      And remember, these guys are reviewers.
      Generally they take better care of the review unit devices (for their photos/video/article later on) than the average person. Which means these aren’t fragile units, they are extremely fragile units, not fit for sale as they are not durable enough for day to day tasks and travel (where scrapes, dings, nicks, drops, are a common expectation).

      And you cannot use a screen protector, nor a case with these.

      1. Cases do exist for the Galaxy Fold, but they won’t protect the screen. The assumption for the screen is that the screen will be protected most of the time by being folded up.

        I’m still a little skeptical about even relatively short-term use holding up to a normal person’s usage though — normal people can pretty rough with their electronics. I see no shortage of cracked and damaged phones walking around my city.

  5. Nobody can ever convince me that the world actually needed a flexible phone. Beyond that the tech behind it is still very much in it’s infancy. I’ll also go out on a limb and say that Samsung’s track record with implementing new tech isn’t exactly stellar these days.

  6. How do you break a _flexible_ screen?! This is madness! The only reason I was happy about flexible screens was that I assumed they won’t break. Because they are _flexible_.

    1. Presumably by flexing in a way the screen isn’t designed to flex and/or by flexing too hard? :p

  7. This isn’t going to go well for them. I hope they at least enjoyed winning the folding-phone race. Consumers have been removing protective films from screens(and designed to be removed) for decades. They’re definitely going to have problems with people removing this layer when they’re not supposed to. I’m a bit surprised the idea of folding/bending phones are even at a point where they’re considered ready for sale. I’m not shocked they’re fragile at this point. Even without these reports, I can’t say I see these things remaining popular after the novelty wears off as they seem to have many weaknesses. The one thing they are not is “thin and light” which has been the industry obsession(to a fault) for years. I can see people going back to their hard, thin phones before long.

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