Samsung’s first smartphone with a foldable display is finally shipping after a multi-month delay. The company says it used that time to make the phone a little sturdier and harder to break… but for a smartphone with a $1980 price tag, it looks like the Samsung Galaxy Fold is still remarkably fragile — and Samsung knows it.

The company released a “Caring for your Galaxy Fold” video that advises you to use a “light touch” when interacting with the phone, and avoid adding a screen protector, since there’s already one built in.

And at the start of a durability test video from JerryRigEverything, you can see that the phone alerts users during setup that it’s not waterproof or dust resistant, and that you should “avoid pressing hard on the screen.”

So of course, JerryRigEverything did that and more to find out what it takes to break the Galaxy Fold. Long story short? Not much.

The good news is that if you use the phone exactly the way Samsung suggests, it seems to work as promised — offering a tablet-like experience when folded, and one-handed operation on a secondary, external display when folded.

It’s also nearly impossible to break the phone by trying to fold it the wrong way — the hinge appears to be very strong.

The bad news is that the phone is easy to scratch — you can do it with just a fingernail. And since Samsung advises against using a screen protector, there’s really no good way to prevent scratches other than being very careful.

JerryRigEverything also tested Samsung’s claim that the phone isn’t dust-resistant by pouring a bit of dirt on top of the phone, folding it, and then unfolding it. Sure enough, some dust got under the screen almost immediately.

Again — Samsung said not to do that. But what are the odds that your phone will never get exposed to a bit of dust or dirt while hanging out in your pocket or bag?

The rest of the durability test is a little more extensive (he starts attacking the phone with a razor blade and cigarette lighter), and might not be as indicative of real-world usage.

All of which is to say that the mechanical design of the hinge seems pretty good, but the display is still pretty fragile for such an expensive device.

Oh, and Samsung also notes that you’ll probably want to keep the Galaxy Fold away from credit cards or other items that can be affected by magnets, since the phone uses them to stay closed when folded.

On the bright side — at least the Samsung Galaxy Fold comes with the Google Play Store, unlike some other pricey Android phones.

via SamMobile and 9to5Google

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12 Comments

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  1. I feel like a better solution for now (given the fragility of this model) would be to have two flat screens that, when the device is open, line up next to each other very closely (with only a barely visible seam) to offer something very close to a single-screen tablet-like experience.

    Sort of like those super wide monitors I’ve seen that were actually three different screens next to each other with only a barely visible seam.

    If I really wanted a phone that unfolded to a tablet, I would settle for something like that if it meant proper durability.

  2. Well, it is nice of those people to spend $2000 to participate in the public beta of Samsung’s folding phone technology. I mean, that’s really all it is at this point, right?

    1. Hats off to those helping human civilization by buying & experimenting with this device, similar to those enjoying fedora (GNOME) linux. 😉

    2. I know I won’t be spending $2000 on this piece of (expletive deleted). I don’t even know if this qualifies as a beta device, it sounds like an alpha to me. I bet they get 80% of these back broken before they have been out three months! Give me a flipping break, why would Samsung sully their name again with this half-assed attempt at a folding phone?

      1. First of all, it’s not likely to be even remotely close to 80% in three months. As for bad press — not seeing it, are we? They’re actually getting kudos from all quarters for taking the risk of producing something wildly different from the same old same old, and they’ve even been praised for biting the bullet, delaying the product, and re-engineering the device after the first disastrous effort.

        Samsung’s reputation isn’t going to suffer because of this. The S10 and Note 10 sales aren’t going to suffer because of the Fold, even if they give up on the device in a few months.

  3. Looking at the video, I’ll admit to being really intrigued by the screen size and ratio when the phone’s open. It’s 7.3″, and somewhere between 4:3 and 3:2 (4.2:3 or 2.8:2). Turn it into a tablet that’s, you know, flat and made of sensible plastic, and it’s a sexy little machine.

    Seeing JerryRigEverything attacking the phone with a box cutter and a lighter made me cringe. I covered my phone’s camera so it wouldn’t see the video and become frightened.

  4. Anyone dumb enough to buy one of these deserves what they get. The media has been warning the public for months that this thing is a diaster.

    1. You might be surprised to know that most of the people who are buying these phones know exactly what the risks are — they’re just buying them anyway, either because they are Samsung super fans, or tech fans enjoying the novelty value of owning the first folding phone from a major manufacturer.

      They’re really not much different from people I know who always have to have the latest flagship smartphone, even if their current phone is still in pristine condition.

      1. That’s true for the enthusiasts, but not the majority, which are media-driven normies. I can see many people buying this and regretting it, by people who don’t watch/visit tech sites.

        1. That’s the reason for the sky-high asking price. There won’t be many “normies” buying this phone — and those that do have far more money than sense anyway, and it won’t bother them unduly — they’ll just buy version 2 when it comes out.