Samsung’s highly anticipated new smartphone with a folding screen seems to be running into issues, with multiple tech journalists reporting that screens on some review units were already breaking after just a couple of days.
Some reviewers, like Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, ran into issues after accidently removing a protective film layer on top of the screen that Samsung says is supposed to stay put. Gurman said his Galaxy Fold review unit “is completely broken and unusable just two days in.” The film appears to be confusing some, as it looks similar to a removable screen protector.
However, other journalists didn’t remove the protective film, including The Verge’s Dieter Bohn who reported “a small bulge” on the crease center of the phone that “eventually pressed sharply enough into the screen to break it.”
CNBC also received a review unit, did not remove the top layer, and still ran into issues, with half of the 7.3-inch flexible display flickering “consistently.”
Samsung put out the following statement:
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.
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.
Emma Mohr-McClune, service director at GlobalData, said the folding smartphones may not be ready for public use yet.
“So far, we’ve seen around half a dozen different ways to make smartphones fold, and in my opinion, not one of these pioneer models look rugged enough for public presentation or sale at this time,” Mohr-McClune commented.
“The problem is, that in innovating on the basic ‘chocolate-bar’ format of the standard smartphone, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have introduced new design vulnerabilities, and that has some significant implications for device lifecycle cost and management,” Mohr-McClune continued. “Given the anticipated high retail cost of this new design innovation, the device insurance market should certainly be worried about these initial reports.”
The Galaxy Fold has a nearly $2,000 price tag and is set to launch in retail stores on April 26. There are still tech reviewers who had no issues with the phone, but hopefully the Galaxy Fold launch doesn’t follow in the footsteps of the device maker’s 2016 Galaxy Note 7 fiasco. In that situation Samsung recalled the phone after batteries caught on fire.