Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 27 May 2019

Samsung Galaxy Folds are breaking already: 'it's unusable just two days in'

Early reviews for the much-anticipated Samsung phone are now in – and many of them are not good

Samsung's prized new smartphone is experiencing problems already. AP Photo.
Samsung's prized new smartphone is experiencing problems already. AP Photo.

It hasn't even hit stores yet, but users are already reporting major problems with the groundbreaking new Samsung Galaxy Fold.

Early reviews have trickled onto social media overnight, which detail issues with the folding screen – a major drawcard of the new gadget that wowed crowds at its glitzy unveiling event in San Francisco in February.

The Galaxy Fold features the world's first infinity flex screen display, and can be neatly bent and flattened out again into a 18.5-centimetre screen.

The device also boasts six cameras, with a 4G version set to go on sale in the region in the second quarter of 2019.

Some of the tech journalists and early reviewers that have managed to get their hands on the phones prior to release say the screen's hinge is faulty, or the display was malfunctioning.

"The screen on my Galaxy Fold review unit is completely broken and unusable just two days in," Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman posted on Twitter, alongside a picture of a warped and only partially-working screen.

He posted another photo a few hours later saying the issue was getting "progressively worse", and his screen was now "completely dead".

His sentiments were echoed by tech writers from publications across social media. For many, problems seemed to arise when the plastic film coating the phone was removed, which Samsung says is actually "the top layer of the display".

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, was also among the first in the world to get his hands on the phone.

Sheikh Hamdan offered his 7.8 million Instagram fans a peek at the Fold on Tuesday, as he thanked Samsung for being able to get an early look at the futuristic phone.

Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer, have since responded to the controversy with a statement:

"A limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were provided to 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," they wrote.

"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."

The latter point has confused many a user, who say the top layer of the display looks identical to plastic film, and it peels off easily at the edges.

The Samsung Galaxy Fold costs $1,980 (Dh7,273), and a 5G version is expected to be rolled out in the future.

It can run up to three applications simultaneously when expanded, and it supports app continuity between screens, which means there will be no interruption when folding or unfolding the screen.

However, Samsung insists the early issues aren't enough to deter it from releasing the phones on time, and is pressing ahead with its April 26 (US) and May 3 (Europe) release dates.

Those in the Gulf have to wait a bit longer though – with Samsung remaining tight-lipped over its regional roll-out date.

“It’s always a let down when Middle East isn’t part of the first wave to receive devices,” Abbas Ali, managing editor of TechRadar Middle East, told The National today.

Besides, some users are completely happy with the new device. The Washington Post's technology columnist Geoffrey A Fowler tested the Samsung's faulty hinge out by opening and closing the screen 100 times in a video, in which he "did not spot any problems".

Updated: April 18, 2019 04:43 PM

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