After news broke that early review units of the Samsung Galaxy Fold were easily breaking — and Samsung’s subsequent delay of the device’s worldwide release — many of us were left to wonder why the foldable phone wasn’t holding up.
Even taking into account the problem of reviewers accidentally tearing off a protective layer of plastic covering the interior display, it seems the Fold is very fragile. Although venerable teardown site iFixit never got a Galaxy Fold to take apart, the team has some theories as to why the foldable smartphone is so delicate.
In a new blog post, Kevin Purdy and other members of the iFixit team examine the known issues that plagued reviewers who did get a chance to use the Samsung Galaxy Fold. The team makes some educated guesses as to what could have caused these problems.
The whole post is definitely worth a read, but here is a quick summary of iFixit’s thoughts:
- OLED displays are inherently fragile and without a covering of a strong material — such as Gorilla Glass — problems are inevitable.
- Even the smallest dust particles can cause problems with OLED displays, and the Fold has plenty of areas where dust can easily enter sensitive areas.
- Although the protective layer fiasco wasn’t totally Samsung’s fault, it does emphasize that tough pressure on a relatively unprotected OLED panel is dangerous.
- Samsung’s highly-publicized robot folders used to stress test the Galaxy Fold were too methodical, i.e., they didn’t properly account for the variables of human use.
- The lack of a dedicated crease line down the middle of the foldable display prevents even folding on a consistent basis, putting even more stress on the OLED panel.
Since even the early review units have been returned to Samsung after the announcement of the delayed release for the Galaxy Fold, it might be a while before iFixit can get hands-on with the device and figure out what really went wrong. These hypotheses are as good as we’re going to get for now.
What do you think? Let us know your theories in the comments!
NEXT: Now that the Galaxy Fold is on hold, Samsung should wait for Android Q
- Gadget repair website iFixit has given the Huawei Mate 20 Pro a repairability score of four out of 10.
- The website criticized the use of glue for the front and back glass panels.
- It also criticized the presence of more flex connectors than average, increasing the repair time.
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is certainly in the running for 2018’s best smartphone, packing loads of features into its frame. But those hoping to do some DIY repairs might be disappointed by the device.
Prominent repair website iFixit has disassembled the new flagship, giving it a four out of 10 score for ease of repairing. This is the same disappointing score as Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and the LG G7. Then again, at least it’s not as bad as the Essential Phone‘s abysmal one out of 10 score.
The website’s criticism focused almost entirely on the phone’s glass design. It called out Huawei for its use of glue on the front and back glass panels, saying this increased the chances of glass breaking when opening up the device. Speaking of glass breaking, a screen repair will mean “a lot of disassembly while battling tough adhesive.” iFixit
The screen-related complications don’t stop there, as it’s suggested that a broken screen will necessitate replacing the in-display fingerprint sensor too (and vice-versa). In other words, you’d better buy a great case or make sure the device is insured against accidental damage. The motherboard also uses more flex connectors than your average phone, the outlet noted, which means you’ll be spending more time repairing the device.
It’s not all bad, however, as iFixit praised the use of modular components that can be replaced independently. Battery replacements aren’t needlessly complicated either, as you only need to remove the back panel and frame. Finally, the website welcomed the use of standard Phillips screws, as opposed to proprietary screws that require more specialized tools.
Do you take ease of repair into account when buying a smartphone? Let us know in the comments.
NEXT: New Nokia 9 leak gives us our best look yet at penta-camera beast