Reviewers find Samsung's new foldable phone to be faulty

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Mark Gurman from Bloomberg tweeted this picture of his Samsung Galaxy Fold review device that broke after a few days of use.
Mark Gurman from Bloomberg tweeted this picture of his Samsung Galaxy Fold review device that broke after a few days of use.

The new Samsung Galaxy Fold smartphone, set to be released later this month, has been found by a selection of early device reviewers to break after only a few days of use.

The Galaxy Fold is a smartphone with a flexible display that folds onto itself from 0- to 180-degrees and can be used folded or unfolded. It is one of the first smartphones with a foldable screen to enter the mainstream market.

When folded, the device has a slim 4.6-inch display and opens to become a 7.3-inch display tablet. The hinges are hidden within the screen to make the fold appear seamless.

Foldable phones have been touted as what the future of smartphone technology may look like, with some commentators saying the form factor will become standard within a few years.

However, it seems the technology is not quite there yet.

Last night, Mark Gurman from Bloomberg tweeted: "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."

This was confirmed by another reviewer, Dieter Bohn from The Verge, who tweeted: "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."

Gurman went on to tweet: "When I tap the screen as well with the top of my finger and the fingernail hits it (very common), it also leaves a seemingly permanent indent. Samsung is going to send a replacement and I'll share updates."

This was confirmed by several other reviewers, and one of the problems found was that reviewers had removed a protective layer of film that was stuck to the screen, as pulling this film off is common practice when buying a new smartphone.

When Gurman received updates, he said: "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."

Samsung's official response in full to The Verge read: "A limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were provided to media for review. 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.

The Verge's Dieter Bohn tweeted this picture of a faulty Samsung Galaxy Fold.
The Verge's Dieter Bohn tweeted this picture of a faulty Samsung Galaxy Fold.

"Separately, a few reviewers reported having removed the top layer of the display, causing damage to the screen. 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."

When journalists were shown the device in South Africa, only a limited number of people could see the device at a time and touching of the smartphone was restricted to a few minutes. This, even though Samsung said the smartphone has been stress-tested by opening and closing the foldable screen up to 20 000 times.

The company says Galaxy Fold will be a luxury device, and it certainly comes with a luxury price tag of $1 980, which converts to about R28 000, but would be priced much higher locally as import duties and mark-up will have to be incorporated.

The device is set to be released in the US next week Friday. It is unclear if Samsung will push out this release date.

Samsung previously said the Galaxy Fold will be available in SA when it is released globally.

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