Samsung’s Galaxy Fold is less bork-prone but a pain to repair

'Chainmail armour' stops the screen from folding into oblivion

Samsung's Galaxy Fold is less bork-prone but a pain to repair
Samsung's Galaxy Fold is less bork-prone but a pain to repair

Samsung had a horrid semi-launch of the Galaxy Fold Foldable Phone earlier this year, with the handset borking all over the place, but it seems to have gone some way to fix the problems.

The rampant gadget-prodders at iFixit have torn down a sacrificial Galaxy Fold and uncovered all the things Samsung did to make the foldable phone less likely to break after a little bit of use.

It would appear the going back to the drawing board for some five months has seen the Galaxy Fold get equipped with an extra metal layer behind the display, described as being akin to “chainmail armour” by iFixit, to reinforce the bork-pron screen. This helps keep the display rigid even after it’s been removed from the chassis, presumably stopping it from folding and creasing all over the shop.

Dust and lint was also an enemy of the Galaxy Fold, but iFixit noted that the handset’s hinges are now covered in tape to prevent debris from creeping into the phone’s sensitive bits, as well as T-shaped plastic protectors to plug the gaps between the to and bottom of the display that appears when it’s folded. There are still gaps that flank the spine of the foldable phone, where dust could creep in, but this time it’s less likely to make a mess up in the display.

A whole lot of adhesive has been used to stick the phone together as well, and the ‘Advanced Polymer Protective Layer’ – read built-in screen protector – is still present and correct only it’s been better integrated into the Galaxy Fold to prevent people from thinking it’s a removable protector and thus wrecking the phone’s folding display.

Giving itself a pat on the back iFixit claimed Samsung seems to have listened to its recommendations on how to make the Galaxy Fold less likely to break after a short amount of use.

“For the most part, it looks like Samsung quietly made all the durability quick-fixes we suggested in our original Fold teardown! You’re welcome, Samsung,” iFixit said, but then added a kinda caveat.

“That said, this thing is still pretty fragile. We’ll have to see how it holds up in the real world, but for now, we can’t help but wonder: why weren’t these revisions a part of the first Fold? It took reviewers (and us) less than a week to figure out the phone’s weak points. Why ship something they must have known to be so easily breakable?”

That’s a reasonable question, especially as iFixit gave the Galaxy Fold a ‘repairability’ score of two out of ten, thanks to its glued-down parts and fragile main display.

But at least Samsung is persisting with making the Galaxy Fold, which like the Huawei Mate X, is an attempt to mix up phone design.

That being said when it comes to folding devices, perhaps Microsoft’ has the right idea with the dual-screened rather than single folding screen approach of the Surface Duo; we’re not convinced folding OLED screens are quite there yet to deliver robust smartphone, but we’re happy to be proven wrong. More

By Roland Moore-Colyer