Samsung Galaxy Fold review: A costly experiment

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Gallery: Samsung Galaxy Fold review | 30 Photos

Samsung has specifically barred reviewers from performing any kind of drop testing on the Fold, so for now your guess is as good as mine. For what it’s worth, the Fold has shrugged off a few accidental drops onto desks and low tables. Even though I haven’t had this thing for long, its inner screen has already started to pick up small nicks and dings that I can’t rub out of that protective layer with my finger. Needless to say, the longevity of this screen remains a big concern.Speaking of that protective layer, do not try to remove it. It looks like a screen protector, and in a manner of speaking it is, but it’s also a crucial part of the display itself. As some reviewers have already shown, though, peeling back that topmost layer of plastic almost certainly spells doom for the screen. To be fair to Samsung, there’s nothing — no indicator, no plastic tab, nothing — that suggests the plastic layer is meant to come off. Even so, the fact that we’re even having this conversation is proof that Samsung failed to make that abundantly clear.Oh, and there’s more. The phone isn’t IP-rated for water or dust resistance, and that’s at least partially due to the Fold’s hinge design. When the phone is closed, there are long, thin gaps between the hinge and the Fold’s two halves. I haven’t tried sticking anything in there, but I have to wonder what would happen if some rain or pocket debris squeezed its way into the phone through those gaps. Nothing good, I imagine.Update (4/22, 1:05 PM): We had good reason to be troubled by the Fold’s hinge design. In a statement confirming the Galaxy Fold’s launch delay, Samsung its initial investigation said display issues “could be associated with impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge.” The company said there was also an instance where substances found inside the device affected the display performance, though at this point we’re not sure if those “substances” were already inside the phone when it was given to a reviewer or if they entered the phone some other way.As much as I enjoy using the Fold, there’s no way to guarantee that these displays will last a long time. The concerns raised here, and by other reviewers, have apparently prompted Samsung to push back its original April 26 launch date into next month at the earliest. Even then, I have to wonder how much Samsung can improve these devices before they start shipping to consumers: Galaxy Folds are already rolling off production lines, and the company can’t redesign the whole thing from scratch now.Damaged phone screens are nothing new; if the number I’ve seen on the New York City subway alone is any indication, broken screens are reaching epidemic proportions. The real issue with the Fold is that as futuristic as it is, it’s more fragile than a $2,000 phone should be.

Gallery: Samsung Galaxy Fold sample photos | 27 Photos

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