Samsung's bendy Galaxy Fold phones have been breaking

Samsung Galaxy Fold’s bendy smartphones caving in

There’s an undeniable schadenfreude when big claims in the world of tech fall flat on their faces. That could be what’s happening to the Samsung Galaxy Fold smartphone right now...

Early adopters might now be thinking twice about their high-end pre-purchase orders as the first flush of review units sent out to journalists look a little worse for hardly any wear at all. 

The Verge was one of the first to publicise its woes with a screen breakage caused either by some debris getting trapped under the OLED or the hinge itself buckling and busting through. Either way, the phone is totalled and winging its way back to Samsung HQ for a full analysis.

Other reviewers have caused problems by peeling off the screen’s top polymer layer, which is actually an integral part of the display’s structure and not simply the kind of protection film one often finds on new devices.

And then there’s Steve Kovach from Bloomberg, whose unit is just plain on the fritz with one side of the panel flickering like a backstreet neon sign.

Samsung’s response has been to call in the old units, send out some better ones and try to fix any problems going forward. But, as often with these very high profile muck-ups, the damage may already have been done. 

By the looks of things, the Fold is the classic story of a product that simply isn’t ready and, in its rush to beat Huawei, Xiaomi and every other company making gains on the company’s smartphone fiefdom, Samsung will have to pay the price.

It brings us no pleasure to witness the beginning of what’s going to be a saga that goes on and on. (Need we remind ourselves of the incendiary Samsung Galaxy Note debacle of 2016?) We wish the company all the best with its brave leap into the world of flexible OLEDs. We really do. It’s more that we appreciate the timely check on the eruption of premium smartphones prices. Lest we forget, the Fold is set at nearly $2000.

Hopefully, it’s not more than a quick fix, but such an array of problems from so few review units points to something more involved.

Either way, this may not spell the end for the foldable phones of the near future. Ever heard of Royole?

MORE: Samsung Galaxy S10+ review

Dan Sung

Dan is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi? and his job is with product reviews as well as news, feature and advice articles too. He works across both the hi-fi and AV parts of the site and magazine and has a particular interest in home cinema. Dan joined What Hi-Fi? in 2019 and has worked in tech journalism for over a decade, writing for Tech Digest, Pocket-lint, MSN Tech and Wareable as well as freelancing for T3, Metro and the Independent. Dan has a keen interest in playing and watching football. He has also written about it for the Observer and FourFourTwo and ghost authored John Toshack's autobiography, Toshack's Way.