When Samsung pulled the Galaxy Fold from launch this year, it rescued itself from the brink of a self-inflicted disaster. It was clear that the phone had too many defects to launch, including a hinge design that allowed foreign objects and material to penetrate behind the display. Samsung has spent months repairing its hardware — and the final result may still be a trainwreck.
YouTuber Zack Nelson, of JerryRigEverything, has posted a video evaluation of the new Samsung Galaxy Fold. His findings do not inspire confidence.
When evaluating the hardness of an object, scientists use the Mohs scale. A Mohs rating of 1 corresponds to talc, a mineral that can easily be scratched by a fingernail. A Mohs hardness of 10 corresponds to diamond. The front screen of the Galaxy Fold is normal, scratching when tested with an object with a Mohs of 6 and with deep indentations left behind at a Mohs of 7. This is more-or-less what you’d expect from a standard smartphone. If you want to do better, you need an alternate material like sapphire glass. The Galaxy Fold’s interior folding screen has a Mohs hardness of 2, which means you can mar it with a fingernail. Nelson shows this at one point, drawing deep grooves in the display with nothing but an index finger.
“The Galaxy Fold Has a Screen Hardness Comparable to Play-Doh, Soggy Bread, or a $2,000 Stick of Chewing Gum”
That’s a direct quote from the video, and it’s significant enough that it needs to be pulled out and emphasized. A Mohs scale of 2 means that your fingernails can literally damage this phone. Women with certain fingernail designs or art may not be able to use it safely. The screen is so fragile, Samsung explicitly tells you not to use any kind of screen protector.
That’s not the only problem with the device. The folding design allows material to fall “out” of the phone in a folded position (rather than keeping it trapped against the screen), but it also allows material to fall into the phone as well. The hinges are not dust resistant in any fashion and it’s still trivially easy for grains of sand to become permanently jammed inside the hinge mechanism, as Nelson also demonstrates.
Reports like this do not show that Samsung has solved the problems that plagued the first iteration of the Galaxy Fold. I’m not going to claim the product will fail, but it will need to be treated with kid gloves, and in a manner that’s entirely opposite from how these devices are typically handled by their owners. When Samsung announced the near-$2,000 price tag people fixated on it, but honestly, I think fragility is the larger issue here. There are plenty of people (relatively speaking) who will pay top dollar to own a truly unique piece of kit, and there’s no arguing that the Galaxy Fold isn’t unique. But far fewer people are willing to pay for a product that’s so easy to break — and the Galaxy Fold looks as if it’ll only remain in pristine condition if you literally wear gloves when handling the thing while storing it in dust-free hermetically sealed bags.