The battle to bring something new to the mobile phone market saw Samsung and Huawei announce folding smartphones at their phone keynotes earlier this year.
Samsung announced the Galaxy Fold while Huawei revealed the Mate X. I’m a big fan of Huawei and while many might consider I’m a fan to the point of being biased, I genuinely believe Huawei nailed the folding phone with the Mate X. The screen size and layouts are more impressive and the hinge system means it’ll actually fold flat.
For me, Samsung was always going to be facing an uphill battle with the Galaxy Fold, but with demo models of the phone landing with some tech reviewers already, it looks like Samsung might have rushed this one to market.
How Long Should A €1700 Phone Last For?
The Samsung Galaxy Fold will cost the guts of two grand if US pricing is anything to go by. For that kind of money, you’d expect to get a lot of phone. The appeal of a phone’s screen size is admittedly down to personal preference. It’s completely subjective. What’s not subjective is that kind of money should get you a phone that lasts. Unfortunately for Samsung, who famously recalled the Galaxy Note 7 because of fire risks, it looks like the Galaxy Fold is causing problems for tech reviewers.
Now, I didn’t get one myself and maybe I won’t, but tech editor with CNBC Steve Kovach, tweeted about how his Galaxy Fold is already faulty after one day of use.
After one day of use… pic.twitter.com/VjDlJI45C9
— Steve Kovach (@stevekovach) April 17, 2019
In the tweet, you can see the left half of his screen is flickering and completely unusable.
To make things worse, this is not an isolated incident.
Tech Reviewers Getting Bad Folds
Mark Gurman of Bloomberg hit similar issues although, unlike CNBC’s Kovach, Gurman did try to remove a protective coating, erroneously believing it was a screen protector.
The screen on my Galaxy Fold review unit is completely broken and unusable just two days in. Hard to know if this is widespread or not. pic.twitter.com/G0OHj3DQHw
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) April 17, 2019
Think that’s a silly mistake to make?
One of the best known YouTube tech reviewers, Marques Brownlee, did what any normal human does when opening a new toy. You peel that plastic off. Turns out that’s not a screen protector and peeling this protector off broke the phone.
PSA: There's a layer that appears to be a screen protector on the Galaxy Fold's display. It's NOT a screen protector. Do NOT remove it.
I got this far peeling it off before the display spazzed and blacked out. Started over with a replacement. pic.twitter.com/ZhEG2Bqulr
— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) April 17, 2019
Gurman also tweeted showing the plastic he removed while also making a very good point. If he thought this was supposed to be removed, you can be sure consumers will do the same. Samsung confirmed to him that you are not supposed to remove this film.
The phone comes with this protective layer/film. Samsung says you are not supposed to remove it. I removed it, not knowing you’re not supposed to (consumers won’t know either). It appeared removable in the left corner, so I took it off. I believe this contributed to the problem. pic.twitter.com/fU646D2zpY
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) April 17, 2019
Dieter Bohn from The Verge noticed a bulge appearing along the crease of his Galaxy Fold.
SUPER YIKES: something happened to my Galaxy Fold screen and caused a bulge. I don’t know how it happened, and I’m waiting to hear back from Samsung. It’s broken. https://t.co/p1014uB01D pic.twitter.com/3FZJkWtSKr
— Dieter Bohn (@backlon) April 17, 2019
How Can This Happen?
I can only opine as to why this is happening, but for me, it’s pretty clear. Samsung has been struggling to keep up with Huawei. Both Apple and Samsung have lost ground to the Chinese smartphone manufacturer but Apple knows it has an audience ring-fenced. Samsung wanted to celebrate the tenth year of Galaxy with something creative and different, but they also heard Huawei wanted to bring a folding phone to the market.
Samsung’s solution was to rush to the market with its foldable phone.
Why do I think it’s rushed?
Well, there’s a crease down the middle of the screen when unfolded and the hinge mechanism doesn’t allow the phone to fold completely flat. At first glance, I felt the design of this whole phone was rushed. Now, with news that review handsets being sent out to tech reviewers are falling apart, it would appear even more corners have been cut.
While it doesn’t look like safety issues are on the menu for Samsung this time around, the fact you can spend two grand on a phone that lasts just a few days is pretty worrying.
Casey Neistat Video
One popular reviewer who has also gotten his hands on a Galaxy Fold is Casey Neistat. I’m a really big fan of Neistat, but be aware that he does a lot of paid work with Samsung. Here’s his first look at the Galaxy Fold.