Samsung has another PR disaster on its hands. According to multiple sources, Samsung’s new Galaxy Fold — its dual-screen, folding smartphone — is failing just days after reviewers got their hands on it.
At least it’s not catching fire.
“A review unit given to CNBC by Samsung is completely unusable after just two days of use,” wrote Todd Haselton.
After one day of use… pic.twitter.com/VjDlJI45C9
— Steve Kovach (@stevekovach) April 17, 2019
So far, the $1,980 device has only been sent to a select few gadget reviewers, the bulk of which seem to be experiencing similar problems that render the display useless.
According to The Verge’s Dieter Bohn, the device appears to have a defective hinge, causing a “small bulge” that causes distortion in the screen. That bulge, he said, eventually “pressed sharply enough into the screen to break it.”
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman experienced similar issues, but noted that they could be caused by his accidental removal of an on-screen film meant to protect the screen. Marques Brownlee, a popular device reviewer on YouTube, did the same thing, leading Samsung to warn reviewers today not to remove the protective layer — though reviewers have noted that the film is delicate, and could be removed by accident.
“I thought I was dumb for messing with it, but turns out Mark Gurman (of Bloomberg), Dieter Bohn (of The Verge), and Steve Kovach (of CNBC) also have broken Folds too because of how delicate this layer is,” Brownlee said.
CNBC, however, didn’t remove the layer and it’s reporting the same screen issue. When opened, CNBC reports that the left side of the screen flickers consistently.
— Todd Haselton (@robotodd) April 17, 2019
The Verge was quick to rule out any rough handling of the device, with Dieter Bohn saying he’s “done normal phone stuff, like opening and closing the hinge and putting it in my pocket.”
Samsung could not be reached for comment.
The company has, according to reports by reviewers, reached out to replace the faulty devices. So far, however, it has refused to issue a public comment on the issue.
Update (18/04/2019): In a statement, Samsung told The Verge that it’s inspecting the review units to find the cause of the damage. It also added that it’ll clearly deliver a message to consumers about not removing the top protective layer (which did in a few reviewers’ devices):
A limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were provided to the 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.