The Samsung Galaxy Fold has been indefinitely delayed just days before pre-orders for the one-of-a-kind £1,800 handset were scheduled to go live in the UK. Samsung has kept mum about exactly why the launch of its first foldable has been pushed back, although a number of US journalists who had started to test the Galaxy Fold had experienced issues with the durability of the flexible screen.
iFixit has disassembled the Galaxy Fold, meticulously photographing and documenting every aspect of the design, which it has branded "alarmingly fragile". Are any of the weaknesses highlighted in this teardown the reason why Samsung now believes its Galaxy Fold handset is not ready for the big time?
According to the boffins at iFixit, the hinge that handles the titular folding is very sturdy. That tallies with our impressions, published in our Galaxy Fold review. The main 7.3-inch Infinity Flex display feels solid from the moment it clicks open.
Ahead of the (now delayed) launch, Samsung published a video that revealed some of the behind-the-scenes testing that its Galaxy Fold underwent in the R&D lab. The Seoul-based company confirmed that it was confident the Galaxy Fold could endure 200,000 open and closes – that's 100 times a day for 5 years. Based on the internals of the design, iFixit has no qualms with this lofty claim.
However, it appears the gaps in the folding mechanism could present a point of failure for the Galaxy Fold. As it stands, there is no protection to stop dirt, debris, or lint from the inside of your rucksack, handbag, or pocket worming its way into the mechanism inside that all-important hinge.
If the dirt did manage to get stuck between the hinge and the pliable AMOLED screen, it could add stress to the screen – causing it to fail. According to iFixit, there is a 7mm gap at the top and bottom of the centre of the display. The publication states: "This 7 mm gap doesn't seem like a huge deal, but it leaves the display exposed—so should something accidentally enter, it's curtains for the screen. (Oops.)"
And it's not like the risk disappears when the Galaxy Fold is folded away, either. When the 7.3-inch AMOLED is closed, the spine at the back of the handset is flanked by two gaps that can allow dirt to accidentally fall into the handset.
"These gaps are less likely to cause immediate screen damage, but will definitely attract dirt," iFixit claims.
As more and more flagship phones are becoming completely sealed to ensure they're dust and waterproof, this is an unusual issue.
In its statement around the delay, Samsung confirmed it was looking to "take measures to strengthen the display protection", which certainly sounds like these gaps could be sealed, or shielded ahead of the next launch date.
Lead Image Credit: iFixit