There were already concerns about the fragility of the display due its covering being made of plastic along with the constant folding/unfolding stresses that the device would undergo. Now with those devices out in the real world, it seems as though those fears have been realized. The Verge’sDieter Bohn reports that the folding display on his Galaxy Fold review unit failed after being in his possession for 24 hours.
Bohn explained that he first felt a bulge under the display right along the crease. To his best estimation, it was a piece of debris of some sort beneath the panel. After continued use, whatever was pressing against the display actually pierced through the OLED panel.
"I just know that the screen is broken, and there was no obvious proximate cause for the bulge that broke it," writes Bohn. "I certainly haven’t used it on a beach or shook it in a bag of chips or anything wild. Just normal use."
While one case of a broken display might be chalked up as a fluke, there are three other failures to report. CNBC's revenue unit broke after just 48 hours of normal use. In this case, the left side of the folding panel is flickering without any rhyme or reason.
The screen on my Galaxy Fold review unit is completely broken and unusable just two days in. Hard to know if this is widespread or not. pic.twitter.com/G0OHj3DQHw— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) April 17, 2019
Adding fuel to the fire is that the protective film covering the display on Mark Gurman's Galaxy Fold began peeling off within two days. He thought it was a screen protector and started peeling the rest of it off only to realize that it was actually an integral part of the display. Needless to say, that led to another broken device.
Finally, Marques Brownlee -- aka MKBHD -- had the same issue as Gurman with the protective display film peeling. He also did not know that this was NOT a screen protector and attempted to peel it off. Bad idea, because he too was left with a broken display.
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.— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) April 17, 2019
I got this far peeling it off before the display spazzed and blacked out. Started over with a replacement. pic.twitter.com/ZhEG2Bqulr
All four journalists were told after-the-fact that the protective layer should not be removed. That's all fine and dandy, but the protective layer should not be separating from the display; especially not after a couple days of normal use. Inquisitive Galaxy Fold owners would also likely assume the same as the reviewers and peel off what they think is a factory-applied screen protector.
Whatever the case, this is a huge black eye for Samsung on the eve of its U.S. launch for the Galaxy Fold. We wouldn't expect such a spectacular failure on a cheap $200 Android smartphone, and customers definitely won't put up with it on a $1,980 device.