Samsung's $2,000 Foldable 'iPhone Killer' Keeps Breaking After 1 Day Of Use

Samsung's long-awaited 'foldable' iPhone killer is shaping up to be yet another bomb (no pun intended).

With the company's reputation still not fully recovered from the 2016 recall of the Samsung Galaxy 7 following reports that the batteries in some phones had spontaneously combusted, several tech journalists provided an advanced model of the 'Galaxy Fold' ahead of its public debut later this month reported myriad problems with the handset.

Samsung

Reviewers at CNBC, the Verge and Bloomberg complained about issues including a malfunctioning LED screen, problems with the hinge and strange bulges.

Here's an excerpt from the Verge's review.

Look closely at the picture above, and you can see a small bulge right on the crease of my Galaxy Fold review unit. It’s just enough to slightly distort the screen, and I can feel it under my finger. There’s something pressing up against the screen at the hinge, right there in the crease. My best guess is that it’s a piece of debris, something harder than lint for sure. It’s possible that it’s something else, though, like the hinge itself on a defective unit pressing up on the screen.

It’s a distressing thing to discover just two days after receiving my review unit. More distressing is that the bulge eventually pressed sharply enough into the screen to break it. You can see the telltale lines of a broken OLED converging on the spot where the bulge is.

Though other expensive gadgets have been released with well-publicized glitches (one MacBook pro model's keyboard issues come to mind), the 'Galaxy Fold's' problems are "on an entirely different level," the Verge said.

Other reviewers may not have reported issues, but Bloomberg and the Verge's accounts of the malfunctions were similar enough to raise serious questions. When it reported the issues to Samsung, Bloomberg said a company representative said the device should be used with the plastic protective layer left on the screen. However, BBG's reporter said no such warning was present anywhere on or in the packaging.

In one of the more serious apparent flaws, the inner screen stopped working. First, the left side of the display went dark - then the right side developed problems before also failing completely. Other reviewers reported similar issues, including flickering visuals and how the area around the central hinge lost viewable pixels. The external display still functioned for Bloomberg’s review team when the phone is closed. Separately, the demo unit’s screen retained permanent marks wherever a fingernail made contact during the course of use.

Other reviewers however reported no major issues with the gadgets Samsung provided. In an email sent Tuesday - a day after providing the demo units - it asked media not to remove a “special protective layer.” The device’s packaging didn’t discourage the attempt however, and the sheet seemed similar to the protective films that come with most phones, tablets, and TVs right out of the box.

"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," Samsung said in its statement. "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."

"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," Samsung said in an statement Thursday. The phone’s commercial launch is still planned for April 26.

Samsung eventually clarified that the reason for some of the defects reported by the reviewers was their decision to remove a polymer layer that, at first glance, appeared to be a screen protector but is actually part of the phone. Samsung said warnings about the ploymer layer would be present on retail models.

But even if Samsung manages to fix this communication error, and rectify the other issues reported by reviewers...a stream of tweets from tech journalists warning that the phone, which costs nearly twice as much as a new iPhone, broke within days of purchase.

Though Samsung has time to fix any issues with the phone before its release date, this is definitely not a good look.