back to article Teardown nerds return to the Fold with word of warning: Samsung kit still 'alarmingly fragile'

Screwdriver wielding nihilists at iFixit have dismantled the revised Galaxy Fold, declaring that despite Sammy implementing "durability quick fixes" it proposed in a previous teardown, the device remains "alarmingly fragile". Samsung's unusual (and pricey) folding phone was initially set for launch in April but was withdrawn …

  1. JohnFen Silver badge

    It sounds like an improvement

    It sounds like they've improved the device to the point where it could properly be considered a beta, but there is a lot more work to be done to make it a reasonable consumer product.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: It sounds like an improvement

      120k folds is 65 a day for 5 years. Given this is a gen1 product that is (mostly) for users who will ditch it and get the latest version after a year or two, i don't see a material difference between lasting 120k folds and 200k folds. Even 18500 folds is 50 a day for a year.

      Repeatedly folding and unfolding the thing with a robot means all the folds are done in the same way under the same conditions. In real life, people will not always apply the same amount of force to the same area. It will also be folded/unfolded in a variety of different temperatures, humidities, dust conditions etc. So the real performance won't be known until it's been 'in the wild' for 6-12 months. Also, dropping from 6 feet seems not a very real-world test, and is also useless to state unless we know what surface it's dropped on. Carpet? Parquet? Concrete? Cushions?

      In any case, kudos to Samsung for the progress on this because a few years ago this seemed like a pipe dream and now it looks like they're quite close to cracking it. A couple more iterations and it could be ready for the mainstream. And if you want a phone right now that will last more than a year, this particular version is anyway not for you.

      1. Major N
        Coat

        Re: It sounds like an improvement

        About 18k folds from cracking it, it seems...

  2. Sloppy Crapmonster

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZBk_Hb-X0w

    Obviously, this guy is trying to damage the device, and it makes me a little uneasy to watch. But based on how I use *my* phone, I'd be guaranteed to damage one of these things. Fortunately for me, I have no desire to spend $2000 on a phone.

    1. Thoguht Silver badge

      Seeing that the first thing the guy in the video did was to remove the "not a screen protector honest but an integral part of the phone", that kind of limits the validity of the rest of his testing.

  3. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Just Get A Laptop

    It would be cheaper.

  4. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

    "Advanced Polymer Protective Layer"

    Now, that makes for a nice acronym, Sammy...

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: "Advanced Polymer Protective Layer"

      The next version could be called: "Advanced Polymer Protective Layer Evolution".

      1. Aussie Doc
        Pint

        Re: "Advanced Polymer Protective Layer"

        ...and the new logo is 'appl' cider --->

  5. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Money in a fire

    Given all the complaints about Samsung claiming abuse and water damage to void warranties for common factory defects, expect your $2000 to be lost.

  6. vaporland

    I guess digital newspapers are still a ways off from release

    I used to read how digital newspapers were going to transform the newspaper business.

    I guess they did...

  7. Milton Silver badge

    Bend vs Fold

    "But it is notable that other vendors, like Microsoft with the forthcoming Surface Duo, seem to be inclining more to dual-screen designs, where each display can be tightly sealed"

    Yes, we should make the distinction between bending screens (Samsung) and folding ones (Microsoft): and my money's on the folding ones.

    I don't doubt that bending displays will have an important role, and may eventually win in the mobile market: a really flexible display will be something you unfurl from a device that's more like a cylinder than a rectoid, and you'll be able to decide just how much display you want to unroll for the task in hand.

    But that level of flexibility, reliability and image quality is not in sight yet.

    For the meantime—maybe the next five years?—I'd like to see some clever work with folding displays. As I've muttered before, it seems to me that a combination of clever glass design (using its lensing properties), nifty hinges (make the seam tight) and smart software (fooling the eye) may get us a long way towards near-invisible joins in folding displays. I'm pleased that MS are working on a Surface using this tech, and don;t expect the first iteration to be wonderful, but I do believe that for the moment, the future is foldable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bend vs Fold

      Samsung's is literally called "Fold", so there's a difference to make, but it's not the one you're trying to describe, which more than anything adds to the confusion.

      More like, as you quoted, between dual-screen and single, foldable screen..

    2. Avatar of They
      Happy

      Re: Bend vs Fold

      I would argue that M$ are just making a phone out of the NIntendo DS. It isn't foldable but two screens on a hinged platform. Nothing new really (like everything M$ innovates)

      A foldable display would mean the display folds IMHO, not just the platform the display sits on.

      Thoughts of a Surface double screen would be echoing lots of other attempts, but a foldable surface I don't see happening. I don't see real world use for a 13 inch laptop with foldable screen, much easier to break and damage etc.

    3. Old Cynic

      Re: Bend vs Fold

      They already are properly flexible and can be hit with a hammer - check out Samsung Youm, some 5 years old I believe. OLEDs are flexible but on phones/tablets have a glass front that solidifies them. Without the glass, I suspect the surface would be prone to scratching badly.

      I can see these displays being used on things like car dashboards where the dash itself is the display rather than a rectangular thing stuck into a plastic dash - the possibilities are profound.

  8. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Coat

    Maybe they should use a mechanical hinge like Microsoft's new folding Android concept phone. After 100,000 folds you can just oil the hinge and off you go! Good as new!

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. MrKrotos

    At last!

    a $2000 salt shaker! Just what I have been looking for :P

  11. FIA

    though there is a special price of $149 for the first repair if you purchase before 31 December 2019.

    Only for the first year after purchase though.

    Which makes me wonder how long the actual warrenty is??

    1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme Silver badge

      Re: "makes me wonder how long the actual warrenty is??"

      The warranty, in the immortal words of George Carlin, is "If it breaks in half, you get to keep both halves!"

  12. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    "fragile"

    In contrast, the design made by M$ seems to be much better.

    Still won't buy anything that folds, either from Sagsmug or M$, or somebody else.

    Will still prefer a single screen - for now. Let the fanboys have jolly good fun first, and based on their experience and feedback, better versions will be released.

  13. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
    Headmaster

    200,000 folds ?

    Given the hundreds of times per day some people access their phone these aren't going to last very long, are they...

    1. Dave K Silver badge

      Re: 200,000 folds ?

      But would you unfold it every time? It can still be used in "folded" mode...

  14. adam payne Silver badge

    The Fold was relaunched in September, with the company claiming that the device is now robust enough to survive 200,000 folds.

    Does the phone have it's own fold app that counts the amount of folds the phone does? If so will it display a big smiley face when the counter gets to 199,999?

  15. jbrownman
    Joke

    Progress or a P1$$ing contest?

    How i imagine this product came to life....

    At CES two execs are sitting at the bar ,

    Sam turns to Mac and asks, if his company has any crazy products in the pipeline?

    Mac replies "not since that toaster in 2000, we just make small changes and up the price these days. What about you? "

    Sam retorts " see that tablet you got there, well we have folded it in half, shoved in a sim card, and calling it the next big thing"

  16. Dr.Steve

    Causes

    I have watched several tech advisor testing the fold one put it on a auto closing and opening machine, the phone was not clamped properly and the pixels were damaged, but the tech advisor blamed the fold, most of the tech advisor try to deliberately damage the fold. If they bought the fold they would be more careful, if you spend £2000 for a mobile you would respect the care more.

    1. Baldrickk Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Causes

      You mean, the robot was holding it wrong?

      200,000 folds when held just right?

      It's a hand held device - it's going to get some level of abuse. Unless the folding robot literally crushed the thing, then I would expect it to be able to take some abuse.

  17. Dana W

    Just imagine the mockery there would be if Apple put out this flimsy mess. 2K for a phone that has a screen you can scratch with a fingernail.

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