Samsung Galaxy Fold Durability Test! – Is it STILL fragile?!

by birtanpublished on October 1, 2020

The Galaxy Fold – an ambitious new take on what smartphones can do and what smartphones
can look like. Today we're going to see what the Galaxy Fold is made of – both physically
and metaphorically. This is a brand new sealed retail Korean version of the Galaxy Fold:
version 2, since version 1 never quite made it to public market. Maybe if we bend this
fold backwards far enough in the wrong direction, we can snap it into two phones instead of
just one. You never know unless you try.
Let's get started.

So right out of the box, this phone of the future has many warnings for us: Avoid pressing
too hard on the screen, only tap it lightly, the phone is not water or dust resistant and
don't allow any foreign objects into it. Also don't attach anything to the main screen – no
screen protectors. And keep the Fold away from objects affected by magnets like credit
cards.
Those all seem like pretty big issues to me. Cell phones are quite possibly some of the
most accidentally abused pieces of technology on the planet and Samsung's there telling
us not to touch it very hard. Not very confidence inducing. Before we commence the first fold,
let's see what's inside the box.
Underneath the phone holder we have a note written in what looks like Korean. Google
Translate on my Galaxy S8 Plus shows that it's another little hype paragraph for the
phone. The Galaxy Fold also comes with a case. A very thin layer of carbon fiber material.
It just snaps onto either half of the phone. I guess any protection is good protection.
And underneath that we have the wireless Galaxy earbuds and the normal USB-C charger.
Let's get back to the fold. Right off the bat this thing definitely feels good. It feels
solid, well engineered and very well planned out, even without folding it yet. There is
a visible crease running down the center of the display. It's not as visible when the
screen is turned on, but still definitely there. Now this is only the second folding
smartphone I've ever come across in real life, but while folding, it's definitely the better
feel of the two. The hinge makes the phone feel like it's supposed to bend easily and
smoothly, and then softly clicks into the closed position and is held shut with it's
magnets. And it does all this very gently. When I would fold the Royale Flexpai hinge,
the foldable phone I tested previously, it was more of a spring that always wanted to
stay in the open position and it did not want to fold on it's own free will. The Galaxy
Fold feels much more natural. Honestly, if this phone survives the durability test, I
might even switch to it as my daily driver.
It feels pretty awesome. The fold also has a much smaller profile than the Flexpai. The
Royale Flexpai seen here in it's very well-loved condition. It has a much larger footprint
than the Galaxy Fold when it's opened, as well as when it's closed. As a matter of fact,
the closed Flexpai is as big as the Galaxy Fold is when it's open, and both of them have
some very strong magnets inside. So as far as, you know, form factor goes when talking
about phones, I think the Galaxy Fold comes out on top. It's smaller design makes it seem
more like a phone, and the Flexpai is more of a folding tablet.
The Galaxy Fold has a fully functional front display and can control the whole phone from
here. I can activate the front facing camera and then fold open the phone to switch to
the internal screen and smoothly switch to the internal front facing camera all at the
same time. This thing has 6 total cameras which we'll get to in just a second.
This thing is kind of mind blowingly futuristic. It doesn't register that the phone is closing
until it actually clicks shut. And then I can go back to using that front screen like
a normal phone if I want. It's time to start seeing what this Fold is made of.
My Mohs hardness picks can numerically tell the difference between different minerals
and materials. Plastic scratches at a level 3. Glass scratches at a level 5 or 6. And
sapphire would scratch at a level 8 or 9. This front display is 4.6 inches with a 720p
resolution, and starts scratching at level 6 with deeper grooves at a level 7. Pretty
normal for a smartphone, even though this phone is anything but normal. Let's mosey
on in to the inner display.
This thing is much larger at 7.3 inches. With all of Samsung's warnings about the inner
display and the previous recall due to display fragility, we kind of knew this was coming.
But still, seeing scratches at a level 2, with deeper grooves at a level 3 kind of just
hurts a little. The Galaxy Fold has a screen hardness comparable to Play Doh, soggy bread,
or a $2,000 stick of chewing gum. Even my fingernail could do considerable damage to
the screen. Granted, we knew the display would need to be made from soft plastic since glass
doesn't bend too well, but it's still unfortunate that there's no way to safely add a screen
protector.
You might be asking yourself, 'But what happens if dirt or sand from my pocket gets caught
between the two halves of the phone when it gets closed? Won't that damage the screen?'
And most definitely if the grain of sand or piece of dirt is big enough, it will definitely
leave an indention on either side of the screen. There is a small gap between the two halves
so dust and dirt could slip out, but that same gap could also allow for stuff to slip
in. So if you get this phone it might be a good idea to vacuum out your pockets every
morning before you put on your pants.
Samsung did say this phone is not dust resistant whatsoever, and I believe them and you believe
them. But I don't think dust believes them or is going to play by their rules. So let's
see what happens if you take this phone to the beach. The phone closes alright. And there's
just enough of a gap between the two halves to make this the world's most expensive salt
shaker. And somehow, from having dust on top of the screen, there's now sand permanently
grinding inside of the phone hinge, which is unfortunate. The screen has a few new minor
nicks, scratches and divots, but it's still amazing how quickly the dust got inside the
phone. I understand this was a lot of little rocks, but still, the phone's only been alive
for about 5 minutes. I thought the newly added hinge lips were supposed to help keep dust
out. And they don't seem to be working too well.
Samsung says they mimic the precision of watch mechanics with a lot of little gears inside
for smooth articulation. Those internal gears definitely need more dust and dirt protection
than what they have right now. We'll get a closer look at how the hinge works from the
inside during the teardown.
The frame of the Galaxy Fold is made from metal, along with both the power button and
volume rocker – both metal. At the top of the phone we find a microphone hole and a
loudspeaker grill. And right about here is where we see the unfortunate gravity of soft
displays. Did you catch that? Let's rewind a little and watch that again.
While I'm rotating the phone, the tip of my razor catches the raised lip around the edge
of the dynamic AMOLED display and pops the pixels like a marshmallow on a roasting stick,
literally killing an entire line of pixels across the screen on the Galaxy Fold. One
wrong move, one little accident, and now the whole top section of my phone is dead. Pixels,
as well as touch sensitivity. The whole thing has gone kind of hay-wire all from that one
little prick. This would never happen inside of a normal phone. And now the full screen
doesn't even want to turn on half the time. And we haven't even gotten to the bend test
yet. I'm not a huge fan of this new development.
Let's keep going anyway. The Galaxy Fold does have a SIM card tray but no expandable memory.
At least this tray has a rubber ring to keep some dust out. If only the rest of the phone
had this same feature. The bottom of the phone has USB-C and no headphone jack. But since
Samsung actually included a pair of wireless headphones in the box, I'm pretty okay with
it.
The center articulated spine of the Galaxy Fold is made from metal. It's also interesting
to note that Samsung has carved their logo and inlayed little reflective letterings inside
each of the little grooves. This usually looks super cool for about the first year or so,
and then the letters fall out. We've seen it happen on some of the old school Nexus
phones.
The back panel is made from glass which is good. It makes sense for a phone at a $2,000
price point to be made from glass. The raised front lip around the edges of the inner screen
is made from plastic. We call this lip Marquez's fault because it's Marquez's fault.
If we make our way around to the back side we get the triple camera lens set up and it's
covered with glass. The 16 megapixel wide-angle camera up top, the 12 megapixel normal camera
in the center, and the 12 megapixel telephoto zoom camera on the bottom.
Then over here on the front side of the closed phone, the 10 megapixel exterior selfie camera
is also protected by glass. Along with the metal earpiece grill.
Then flipping the phone open to the internal cameras, the screen still doesn't really want
to function at the moment, we have another 10 megapixel selfie camera, and an 8 megapixel
depth sensor for a total of 6 cameras in one phone. Even though Samsung has a very strict
rule against sticking screen protectors to the screen, sticking things to the back is
actually just fine.
Shout out to dbrand's latest limited edition Robot Skin. It's got a pretty awesome eye
catching design that proves you can look awesome on the outside, even if you are kind of dead
on the inside. I'll leave a link in the description so you can see what your phone looks like
with the Robot installed. And thanks to dbrand for sponsoring this video.
The screen is still a bit finicky – not turning on sometimes and not sensing touch
other times. That little poke really did some unfortunate damage. I don't think the lighter
is going to make things any better, but with a semi-dead screen and a hinge that sounds
like a pepper grinder, I don't think we have much left to lose.
After about 7 seconds I could see the pixels going white and starting to burn. But as soon
as I pull the lighter away they completely recovered. It's interesting that the plastic
on top of the screen s not bubbling or melting like we saw on the flexible display watch
or some of the other plastic screen devices we've tested. I burn the screen again for
about 10 more seconds and still no damage to the plastic, just the interior pixels.
Shutting the phone and flipping it around to check the front screen, it lasted a bit
longer at 15 seconds with the heat from my lighter. Glass absorbs some of the heat before
it reaches the pixels. Now you can bring up that cool tidbit at parties. The screen does
completely recover.
Now for the bend test. In perfect factory enclosed pristine conditions folded by robots,
Samsung's hinge is rated to over 200,000 folds which means if the Fold gets folded an absurd
200 times a day, it would still last you almost three years. In a non-pristine environment
of course, and one contact with a spoonful of dirt, it lasts about 20 folds before the
hinge starts sounding like a crumpled up bag of potato chips. But let's say we were to
accidentally-on-purpose bend the phone the wrong direction, we already know that the
Royale Flexpai survived for a while even after the hinge broke. So let's see what happens
to the Galaxy Fold.
Flipping the phone around to bend it backwards. And I apply some force. Surprisingly, the
hinge remains intact. This is kind of a huge surprise. The last folding phone snapped backwards
pretty easily and even the iPad Pro broke easier than this. Samsung's Galaxy Fold might
have a few glaring weak points, but the articulating hinge is definitely not one of them. The whole
phone still folds in the correct direction, but when folded back the wrong way, all I
get is a gentle curve but no permanent damage. The hinge is just as strong as Samsung's normal
nonfolding flagships. Pretty incredible. The antenna line is cracking along the frame,
but the hinge itself is still 100% functional. And the device is still in one piece.
This is a tough one. How should we categorize the Galaxy fold? The structure of the phone
is still intact. But the inner screen is basically unusable from that accidental poke I made
earlier. Should we say the Galaxy Fold passes the durability test or failed? Let me know
down in the comments. Personally, I think when Samsung figures out how to seal the hinge
from dust and find a way to allow screen protection, this foldable phone format is gonna be a winner.
Do you see yourself ever using a foldable phone? Hit that subscribe button. I'll be
right here testing out Samsung's next folding phone as well. And don't forget to check out
dbrand's Robot Skin with a link in the description.
Come hang out with me on Instagram and Twitter, and thanks a ton for watching. I'll see you
around.

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