A lot of people said it could never be done. “You can never make a phone with a folding screen,” the naysayers said. “The screen will break because it is a screen. That’s logic.” These facts didn’t scare off phone-maker Samsung, which created the Galaxy Fold, a smartphone that folds in half through some sort of technical wizardry. The phone is one size, and then you unfold it, and boom, there’s a much larger screen. How do they do it?
The Galaxy Fold has made its way to reviewers this week, and while reception of the phone (which costs around $2,000) has been complimentary and reviewers have praised the device as a good first step, some new issues have also arisen. The phone is — I’m not quite sure how else to put this — breaking.
After two days, a review unit sent to CNBC is on the fritz.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman also encountered a busted unit two days in, calling the device “completely broken and unusable.”
At the Verge, Dieter Bohn’s unit developed a “bulge” along the crease, causing two perpendicular lines of broken pixels to extend from the problem area to the screen’s edge.
Granted, this is only a handful of high-profile cases, so it’s tough to know exactly how widespread it is. But if you’re trying to convince people to drop a couple thousand bucks on experimental technology, it’s not the best look.
On Twitter, Gurman admitted that he might have unintentionally kneecapped the folding phone by peeling off a protective layer of clear film that is, apparently, not supposed to come off.
You can see why he did it. It does sort of appear like the temporary screen protectors that come with new devices (and it feels really good in a way I cannot fully explain to peel that film off). It is supposed to be a permanent feature though. Tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee almost made the same mistake.
This could all just be growing pains in a few units, or it could be a widespread issue that Samsung is going to have to address on a very expensive level. At least it’s just a broken screen this time: A couple of years ago, Samsung had to recall its Galaxy Note 7 worldwide because the devices were exploding.