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Galaxy fold screens break: If you buy one, follow these steps

A day after reports of broken Galaxy Fold review units came on Wednesday, apparently within minutes, and we're still waiting for answers: What went wrong when this is a common problem and where buyers can turn when something happens to their foldable phone. The uproar came after four early reviewers of Samsung's foldable phone had posted photos of their "broken", "useless", "flickering" Folds . The photos ranged from a completely blackened screen to a bubbled device and one where part of the screen was white and the other half was black.

Samsung is aware of the problems. "A limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were made available to the media for review," the company said in a statement on Wednesday. "We received some reports on the main presentation of the samples provided and we will thoroughly investigate these units to determine the cause of the matter."

The review unit of CNET remains, and there may be a specific reason for it. Two testers experienced a total screen failure when removing a thin plastic film running along the screen of the Galaxy Fold. There is a small gap between this film and the bezel edge of the display, which has led to confusion about the nature of the film.

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It is not immediately apparent if the plastic layer is part of the phone or if it is the film that you normally see on devices to keep the screen spotless during shipping and storage.

Mark Gurman of Bloomberg has found this hard, that the latter was not the case. He tweeted this about his test device on Wednesday: "The screen of my Galaxy Fold tester is completely broken and unusable after two days, hard to know if this is common or not."

The YouTube reviewer Marques Brownlee (MKBHD) had a similar experience after seeing the layer of his Galaxy Fold's report had subtracted unity.

"PSA: There is a layer that appears on the display of the Galaxy Fold like a screen protector", tweeted . "It's NOT a screen protector – DO NOT remove it."

But the protective film is not the only source for Samsung's early problems. CNBC's Todd Haselton experienced a screen flicker on the left side of his review sample. Dieter Bohn the Verge also had problems, with Bohn's screen formed a curvature below the surface.

These reports of a flawed Galaxy Fold are a nightmare for Samsung, the first major brand to be sold becomes a foldable phone. The Fold, which has a 4.6-inch screen on the outside, a bendable 7.3-inch screen and a price tag of almost $ 1,980, poses a huge risk to the tech giants.

Intense criticism at the beginning could harm the future and shake consumer confidence in the concept of foldable phones in general. The Galaxy Fold's ability to lead the up-and-coming category could come under fire as buyers turn their backs on innovative design or opt for a rival model like Huawei Mate X TCL's upcoming designs or a supposed foldable one Phone like the Motorola Razr .

The Galaxy Fold will be sold in the US on April 26 with AT & T, T-Mobile and selected Samsung Experience stores. It can also be preordered online. I contacted T-Mobile and AT & T and asked for a comment on how they can help buyers of Galaxy Fold in case something goes wrong.

T-Mobile responded: "We set options for our customers, please stay tuned."

What does this film level talk about?

Let's talk about the film level first. I received my test device on Monday morning, then shot an unboxing video and feared that I forgot to remove that plastic layer – what would the YouTube viewers say ?!

It turns out that the foldable phone's 7.3-inch display, which looks like a sheer plastic slide, is crucial in ensuring that the phone does not get damaged.

You can see the edges of this layer here on my review sample:


If you look closely, you'll see a thin line hugging the screen just behind the bezel. This is the protective layer that Samsung wants to keep firmly in place.

Angela Lang / CNET

Ok, now it's clear: Whatever you do, do not pull that movie back. It's part of the screen and bad things happen when you remove it.

But even here, the protective layer is not the whole story, because two other critics, Haselton and Bohn, said they had not removed the film, still had problems rendering the fold unusable. So what's up?

What about the screen of the Galaxy Fold?

The Galaxy Fold has a completely different screen setting than any other phone. On the outside is a 4.6-inch display covered with Gorilla Glass. This is the same as other Galaxy phones like the S10 and the S10 Plus ($ 961 on Amazon) . Inside, however, the screen is made of a plastic (polymer) material called Samsung's Infinity Flex Display.

Samsung has developed this process with a new process and special adhesives to withstand bending and bending of the screen without breaking. The screen protective layer should stay in place to avoid damaging the screen below – this is what actually makes your "screen" shine. Without the hardness of the glass to cover the delicate display, the fold is more susceptible, something that becomes apparent.

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Is there anything else on the test phones?

Yes. Reviewers received early production models. This means that these are not the final test units and that they may be vulnerable to certain issues that Samsung might be able to fix before the fold reaches the buyers' hands.

For example, I was told that my review sample is not unlocked European version that does not support US services like Bixby Voice, Samsung Health and Samsung Pay. Also, I was warned that call quality might be compromised because the phone is not optimized for US bands.

While fully testing this Galaxy Fold tester, I am suppressing a rating until I get the final production model CNET ordered.

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Did Samsung say you should not remove the movie?

It is not clear whether Samsung has thoroughly informed any reviewer who has received a phone over the screen protection layer. There was no instruction in my box – actually no literature – but no other indication, such as a pull-tab, that you should remove it.

I almost did it anyway. As a reviewer I like to experience the phone as "clean" as possible. That is, everything that I can peel off will go away. I emailed Samsung for more information about this shift on Tuesday. A spokesman said, "Galaxy Fold is made with a special protective layer, it's not a screen protector – try to remove it."

The Company Further Explained Its Position:

"Some reviewers reported having removed the tip The Galaxy Fold's display has an upper one Protective layer that is part of the display structure to protect the screen from accidental scratches Removing the protective layer or adding adhesives to the main display We can ensure that this information is clearly passed on to our customers. "

Desmond Smith, Director of Creative Content and Tech Evangelist at T-Mobile, tweeted that the final production models of the freight forwarder will do this comes with a warning on the packaging that goes over the screen of the Galaxy Fold:

But the peeling off Fold screen layer is not the only problem.

Removing the plastic film was a problem for some, but not It is clear that the protective film has the effect of the screen or its removal. Remember that two of the reviewers left the protector turned on. Bohn suspects that a piece of debris might have accumulated under the screen to cause the camber he felt, and a slight distortion on the surface of the crease.

Meanwhile, Haselton observed a persistent screen flicker over the left half of the screen. We know that two batteries, one on each side, work together to form a single power source. I am not an electrical or chemical engineer, but I wonder if this might indicate a battery problem. I hope we all find out in one way or another.

In any case, the risky design of the Galaxy Fold has created some inconsistencies that could damage its early production phones and reputation.

Why are flexible plastic sieves in the first place?

Right now, glass glass does not bend so well Corning – the manufacturer of Gorilla Glass, which covers most high-end phones – is working on it . However, do not expect bending glass to store second generation foldable phones. For some time it is not finished.

If I ordered the Galaxy Fold, should I cancel it?

If you are really interested in owning the Galaxy Fold, I recommend the wait-and-see attitude. We do not know how widespread the problem is and whether it is a faulty stack or the entire setup. I'm not saying, do not worry, but let's see what's going on. My own review unit did not experience any anomalies of the screen at this time, but I keep an eye on all the issues.

The reported issues make the affected Galaxy Fold unusable, but so far the reviewers have not given any really dangerous behavior behavior, contrary to reports after some batteries in the unfortunate Galaxy Note 7 it was found that it overheated and sometimes catching fire.

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Samsung does not want another PR disaster on their hands. I am confident that a defective Galaxy Fold will be fully refunded if it happened to you. Nevertheless, we will hopefully get a more detailed explanation before the Galaxy Fold officially goes on sale on April 26th.

What is Samsung doing to fix the problem?

Samsung is aware of the issues and works with the reviewers to replace faulty devices together to investigate what went wrong (see the above statements). In addition, we asked Samsung what happened in his opinion, whether buyers can be sure that their wrinkles will not break if Samsung provides a device refund, if customers cancel their order, and if it is clear what Future owners of Fold should and should not do to protect their phones.

We will update this story when we hear it again. In the meantime, it continues with CNET's Galaxy Fold .

Originally published on April 17, 19:55. PT.
Updates, 8:24 pm: adds Samsungs statement; April 18 at 6:00 pm PT and at 8:32 pm PT : Adds more details; 11:01 am PT : Adds the comment from T-Mobile. Released at 11:34 pm PT and 7:32 pm PT.

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