While Samsung performs its own internal investigations, the folks at iFixit had plenty to say about the Galaxy Fold in their own teardown. The write-up is a bit of a roller coaster ride, admiring the “ambitious first-generation device,” while noting some clear flaws in the way the foldable was put together.
There’s a full 19-step breakdown of the product that adheres to the site’s customarily thorough breakdown, but the key takeaway here is the “alarmingly fragile” display mechanism. “Alarmingly” isn’t the kind of word you see tossed around lightly on a site like iFixit.
“Initial findings from the inspection of reported issues on the display showed that they could be associated with impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge,” Samsung wrote on Monday when it officially pushed back the Fold’s release to an undisclosed date. That certainly appears to confirm the relatively fragile nature.
And iFixit did the unthinkable, pealing back the protective display, which has been mistaken for the user-replaceable adhesive plastic Samsung’s other devices ship with. As expected, it didn’t go great. “In all known cases (including ours!), removing this layer kills the display,” the site writes. “The display could technically function without the layer, but it is so tightly adhered and the display is so fragile that it’s difficult to remove without applying display-breaking pressure.”
The site was suitably impressed with the hinge mechanism, but notes that “large gaps around the spine let dirt right in, possibly getting trapped between hinge and display.” That’s in line with one of the two points in Samsung’s own reporting of “an instance where substances found inside the device affected the display performance.”
The teardown appears to confirm fears that the issues could ultimately be broader than a few defective review units. Hopefully Samsung will push things back enough to properly address the above issues.