Even without broken screens, Samsung’s Galaxy Fold needs to convince users ahead of big launch

April 20th, 2019 | by Alfred Siew
Even without broken screens, Samsung’s Galaxy Fold needs to convince users ahead of big launch
Cellphones
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The Samsung Galaxy Fold promises a futuristic experience with a foldable screen but early reviews have been negative. PHOTO: Handout

Folks who were planning to be the first to own a phone with a foldable screen will have been in panic mode this week, after news emerged of Samsung’s Galaxy Fold suffering from broken screens.

A handful of high-profile media outlets in the United States, including CNBC and The Verge, have reported problems with the foldable phone’s screen after just using it for a few days. One reviewer had a flickering screen while another had a bulge in the screen after folding it.

Short of reports of it bursting into flames, these early reviews are the worst kind of news ahead of the Galaxy Fold’s big launch next week. The phone has been expected to herald a new era where big screens don’t have to come in the shape of big, bulky gadgets.

Yet, the problems with the foldable screen, which Samsung has said it was investigating, are not the only ones that users will have to contend with when they buy such a new device.

The Galaxy Fold also faces other more mundane issues. For example, the 4.6-inch front screen is a little small for typing on, according to early reviews. Plus, the large notch on the main screen inside is a big distraction.

That’s not to mention that the “sandwich” design isn’t the most elegant around. While the Galaxy Fold lets users more easily carry a large-screen device, almost like a small tablet, it won’t fit into jeans pockets as easily as a traditional phone, like the Galaxy S10+.

Of course, there’s also the asking price of nearly US$2,000, which puts it beyond even the most overpriced flagship phones today. With that kind of cost, it can’t be anything short of perfect.

Some early adopters might still look past these issues and plonk down the cash for an early glimpse into the future. However, even they might want to wait and see if Samsung can offer some quality assurances after these pretty devastating early reports.

For Samsung, the problem goes beyond the phone itself. It has to do with the quality that the company is expected to deliver, given the high prices that all Samsung flagship phones now come with.

After the Galaxy Note 7’s battery problems in 2016, Samsung did the right thing by recalling the device and writing it off in the name of quality assurance.

It has since won users back and remained the number one phone maker worldwide. Other companies might have crumbled under the crushing weight of such a serious quality issue.

Now, it’s too early to say if the Galaxy Fold’s problems are widespread, but it’s clear Samsung’s latest flagship has got off to a rocky start. The company needs to assure users they will be getting the futuristic experience as promised, instead of that of a beta tester.

We will have a hands-on look at the Samsung Galaxy Fold next week when it is showcased in Singapore.

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