Galaxy Fold Teardown: Improved, But Still Open for Trouble

(Image credit: iFixIt)

Samsung has tried to fix the two most glaring design defects of the Galaxy Fold but, as iFixIt has discovered its thorough teardown, it still is a fragile device.

The Korean company has tried to address the two problems brought up by reviewers earlier this year. First: that people removed the outer screen layer thinking it was just a regular protective plastic. Second, the hinge gape that allowed dirt particles to come in and damage the display.

According to gadget repair and engineering experts iFixIt, while the Samsung Galaxy Fold has been  modified to stop people from pulling off its protective screen film and getting large particles inside the Fold, it's still open for trouble.

The good news is that the outer protector has been tucked in the phone’s outer rim, which will stop people from destroying their own phone. However, iFixIt says that the small protective T-shaped covers that Samsung has put in place don’t solve the dirt problem. 

(Image credit: iFixIt)

Yes, it appears that Samsung has closed the gap between the screen and the hinge enough to prevent large pieces of debris to sneak inside, potentially damaging the display. But there’s still an opening: “When closed, the screen is protected — but the spine is still flanked by gaps that our opening picks hop right into. These gaps are less likely to cause immediate screen damage, but will definitely attract dirt.”

Particularly important is that “less likely” clause, which means that it still may happen. And knowing that it will definitely attract dirt is worrying, too. iFixIt claims that, while Samsung tried to cover the most threatening ingress point, “it’s extremely challenging to seal off a phone with this many moving parts.” 

(Image credit: iFixIt)

Perhaps that’s why Microsoft engineers decided to bypass folding screens in the design of the Surface Neo and Surface Duo. After all, right now there seems to be no advantage for having a single screen: full-screen content like movies will not be much bigger because they're letterboxed. Microsoft seems to have realized that the sleekness factor of having one single foldable display was not worth the engineering pain and multitasking — the main reason of these devices — works just fine between two screens.

For the Seoul-based company, however, the cool factor is worthy enough to make a device that has to be treated with kid gloves — and still be open to damage.

Samsung still claims that the Galaxy Fold solves its original problems, but they may not be that sure judging from their “Care Instruction” card:

(Image credit: iFixIt)

There are plenty of warnings that you won’t expect in any flagship device nowadays, from touching the screen too hard to putting objects like credit cards inside to exposing it to dusty environments. But, as iFixIt has discovered, there is a good reason for all this.

So while the Galaxy Fold has been greatly improved and it seems durable enough in certain aspects — like its folding capacity — some may want to wait for version 2.0.

Jesus Diaz

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.