Samsung will investigate problems with new Galaxy Fold phones sent to tech reviewers

At least three different high-profile tech reviewers have reported problems.

April 18, 2019, 3:43 PM

After reports from tech reviewers that screens on the new Samsung Galaxy Fold phones quickly became damaged, the company responded by saying it will "thoroughly inspect" the units.

Reviewers for Bloomberg, The Verge and CNBC reported several different problems with the groundbreaking "foldable" screens on the new Samsung phone .

The model is still scheduled to ship to the public on April 26, the company said Thursday.

"A limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were provided to media for review. We have received a few reports regarding the main display on the samples provided. We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter," a Samsung spokesperson wrote to ABC News in a statement.

On Wednesday, The Verge's Dieter Bohn wrote that he found a small bulge on the crease of the phone which was "just enough to slightly distort the screen."

"My best guess is that it’s a piece of debris, something harder than lint for sure. It’s possible that it’s something else, though, like the hinge itself on a defective unit pressing up on the screen," Bohn wrote. "It’s a distressing thing to discover just two days after receiving my review unit."

The Galaxy Fold has a 4.6-inch display when folded as a phone and 7.3-inch display when unfolded as a tablet. Prices start at $1,980, depending on region and carrier, and will come in an LTE or 5G option.

If these screen problems prove to be widespread, troubles for the Galaxy Fold would come at a pivotal time for the mobile phone industry. Sales of smart phones have slowed globally as phones become more and more expensive and the market has become saturated. The new Galaxy Fold was touted as the first foldable phone, though it is really two screens that are connected with a hinge.

Foldable phones were expected to jump start the market, and several companies unveiled foldable models at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, days after Samsung unveiled the Galaxy fold. Several brands have planned launches for later this year.

Research company Gartner predicts that foldable phones will make up 5% of high-end phones sales by 2023, around 30 million units.

Bohn isn't the only reviewer who had a problem. CNBC's Todd Haselton wrote: "A review unit given to CNBC by Samsung is also completely unusable after just two days of use." Bloomberg's Mark Gurman tweeted: "The screen on my Galaxy Fold review unit is completely broken and unusable just two days in. Hard to know if this is widespread or not."

Gurman did say he accidentally removed a protective film on the screen, but notes that most customers would probably do the same.

"How are people not going to peel this off?" Gurman tweeted.

He's not the only one.

YouTube tech reviewer Marques “MKBHD” Brownlee and Wall Street Journal reviewers also took the films off.

"A few reviewers reported having removed the top layer of the display causing damage to the screen," Samsung said in a statement. "The main display on the Galaxy Fold features a top protective layer, which is part of the display structure designed to protect the screen from unintended scratches. Removing the protective layer or adding adhesives to the main display may cause damage. We will ensure this information is clearly delivered to our customers."

However, CNBC's Haselton noted that his phone stopped working despite keeping the protective film intact.

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