A somewhat notably limited number of outlets and YouTubers were given early access to the Galaxy Fold by Samsung earlier this week and perhaps we now have an inkling as to why. Today there have been reports from multiple reviewers that their Galaxy Fold review units have failed in pretty spectacular fashion.
To make matters worse it isn’t even the same failure across the four reviewers. Marques Brownlee and Mark Gurman both removed a protective film from the screens which they believed to be a factory installed screen protector like what was seen on the Galaxy S10 lineup. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case at all and while it’s easy enough to remove the result of doing so for both was ultimately screen failure.
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
Des with T-Mobile had a warning on the cling wrap covering the screen of his unit, but this was apparently absent from most other review units.
Dear future #GalaxyFold owners, I know I always say "No one ever read the instructions"… PLEASE READ THIS ONE!!!
(This is the wrap over the screen of the Galaxy Fold) pic.twitter.com/LuQPRfDZIE
— Des (@askdes) April 17, 2019
The other two failing devices belonged to Dieter Bohn of The Verge and Steve Kovach of CNBC. Neither removed the protective film and these seem to be distinct from one another as well with an actual bulge developing on the interior crease of the screen in the Verge review unit while CNBC’s phone isn’t showing physical damage but is showing a gap where the crease is on the internal screen and as you can see in the video below is flickering on one side.
This is pretty much the nightmare scenario for hardware that is clearly on the edge (and perhaps it seems beyond it) of what today’s hardware is capable of. Samsung rapidly sold out of the limited stock of Galaxy Folds that it made available earlier in the week, but this is going to have to give anyone that pre-ordered the nearly $2,000 phone pause.
Samsung has yet to issue an official response regarding the failures, each of the reviewers has been issued a new review unit and of course, there are a number of reviewers that haven’t experienced any problems at all. But given the small sample size here, four of the devices out there failing within 48 hours is more than a little alarming.
Now the protective film issue seems like a solvable (but still troubling) problem, but it’s going to be an uphill battle convincing anyone that the other two failures are anything but reflective of hardware that isn’t ready for consumers yet.