The early reviews are in and the news isn't great for the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Judging by the reactions of a number of different reviewers around the world, there are a couple of things to watch out for and a potentially serious issue. Here's what's happening with the new Samsung Galaxy Fold.
There's no screen protector
A number of reviewers, upon opening the Samsung Galaxy Fold, thought the device had shipped with a thin film over the display to protect it during shipping.
This is not removable. And a number of reviewers found that out the hard way.
The phone comes with this protective layer/film. Samsung says you are not supposed to remove it. I removed it, not knowing you’re not supposed to (consumers won’t know either). It appeared removable in the left corner, so I took it off. I believe this contributed to the problem. pic.twitter.com/fU646D2zpY
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) April 17, 2019
PSA: There's a layer that appears to be a screen protector on the Galaxy Fold's display. It's NOT a screen protector. Do NOT remove it.
I got this far peeling it off before the display spazzed and blacked out. Started over with a replacement. pic.twitter.com/ZhEG2Bqulr
— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) April 17, 2019
Apparently, these review units aren't exactly the same as the retail units that will be shipped to purchasers. Retail units will have a warning on the back.
If you buy a Samsung Galaxy Fold - don't try to remove the protective film over the display.
A more worrying problem
Of greater concern is what happened with The Verge's Dieter Bohn.
It seems a small particle found its way under the screen and after a day or so of use, it created a small bulge under the display that could be seen and felt.
Eventually, that led to a malfunction in the display.
Should we be concerned about the Samsung Galaxy Fold display?
New technology is often a crap-shoot. Tech companies, trying to develop new ways to do things push the envelope, sometimes rush a new idea to market in order to beat their competition.
In other cases, marketing sets a deadline and engineering teams make compromises to hit the date.
Or sometimes, a product that works perfectly in testing and in a lab doesn't work in the real world in the same way.
It's important to note that the review units were talking about probably aren't production units. So some annoying glitches are possible. I've received pre-release hardware before and encountered all sorts of issues from bits falling off to really flaky software. So it's possible the issues The Verge encountered was that sort of problem.
And the non-removable polymer layer that some reviewers thought was a removable screen protector is reasonably easy for Samsung to manage with appropriate warnings on the box.
I'm excited by the potential of the Samsung Galaxy Fold. I expect that folding devices, by the time we get to the second or third generation, will be reliable and significantly change the way we use portable computers.
But if you're thinking about buying a first generation folding smartphone, I'd be waiting to see what issues early adopters discover.