In their latest teardown, the DIY experts at iFixit tried to figure out what’s behind the many display issues plaguing the Galaxy Fold.
In short, it appears that in its current iteration, the Galaxy Fold suffers from much the same problem as Apple’s butterfly keyboard. That is, there are multiple areas through which dust, dirt and other debris can enter the phone’s exterior and damage the interior OLED display.
Specifically, iFixit highlights the 7mm gap that separates the bottom bezel of the Galaxy Fold’s main display, as well as the gaps between the spine of the device. “These gaps are less likely to cause immediate screen damage,” writes the website, but adds they will “definitely attract dirt.”
However, it appears the main culprit is the intricate spine mechanism that allows the Fold to, well, fold. The website says the spine offers no ingress protection. That is, there’s no membrane to prevent foreign objects from entering into the exterior of the device.
“While it might fall back out again, anything that gets lodged between the fragile display and its hard metal backplate could become a fatal pressure point when the phone is unfolded.”
This is almost certainly what caused the Galaxy Fold units The Verge‘s Dieter Bohn and Mobile Nations’ Michael Fisher had in their possession to fail.
Sigh. A little grain of something found its way beneath my Galaxy Fold display. Like the saying goes: "not surprised; just disappointed." Sending this back to Samsung hoping they figure out a way to seal up that hinge.
Silver lining: video tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/9UfYDMOEul
— Michael Fisher (@theMrMobile) April 23, 2019
Speaking to the protective film that some journalists and YouTubers peeled off their review units, and which subsequently caused the displays of those units to fail, iFixit writes that the act of removing the film, not necessarily its absence, is what likely caused the Galaxy Fold’s foldable display to stop functioning in those instances.
“The display could technically function without the layer, but it’s so tightly adhered and the display is so fragile that it’s difficult to remove without applying display-breaking pressure,” writes the website.
Following the breakdown of multiple Galaxy Fold review units, Samsung announced it was postponing the launch of the device indefinitely. Based on iFixit’s insights, it appears it may not be easy for Samsung to fix the Fold’s outstanding issues without a major redesign.
Visit iFixit to read the entire teardown.