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Samsung’s $2,000 folding phone is breaking for reviewers

Out with the Fold, in with the new

Samsung’s $2,000 folding phone is breaking for reviewers
18 April 2019

What’s worse than something breaking after two days’ use? Paying $2,000 for something that breaks after two days’ use. Samsung is stress testing the old maxim that ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ today with the news that at least four of the Samsung Galaxy Fold units sent out to reviewers have stopped working after just a couple of days’ usage.

This is what it looks like in Samsung’s promotional videos:

The truth, it seems, is somewhat less glamorous:

To be fair to Samsung, two of the confirmed cases of broken Galaxy Folds come from reviewers removing what looks like a screen protector, but is actually an essential polymer layer:

But the other two are not. In the case of The Verge’s review unit, a lump appeared underneath the screen, and eventually poked through, breaking the device.

Samsung has put out a statement saying it’s investigating the matter, but emphasising this only concerns a handful of units. “A limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were provided to media for review,” the company wrote. “We have received a few reports regarding the main display on the samples provided. We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter.”

Hmmm. Some of us are old enough to remember a similar reassuring statement from Samsung about the exploding Galaxy Note 7, a couple of weeks before it was completely recalled.

“Separately, a few reviewers reported having removed the top layer of the display causing damage to the screen,” the statement continued. “The main display on the Galaxy Fold features a top protective layer, which is part of the display structure designed to protect the screen from unintended scratches. Removing the protective layer or adding adhesives to the main display may cause damage. We will ensure this information is clearly delivered to our customers.”

As things stand, Samsung says the device will still go on general sale in the US on April 26 – just over a week from now. But given all these breakages have occurred just 48 hours after coming into reviewers hands, you don’t imagine it would take many more broken units to force Samsung into having a rethink…