The Galaxy Fold is back on the market, with some new changes Samsung made to make the device feel better and look sturdier. Yet, with all Samsung's device repairs, the Galaxy Fold is still fragile according to Samsung's own Fold marketing video that teaches you how to care for your Galaxy Fold.
Screen and Film Protector
The new marketing video for the Fold starts by saying that "a display this precious comes protected," an obvious indication that Samsung has placed a protective film over the Fold's screen. This layer is known as a polyamide film layer. Samsung added that there are "no extra films needed," the company's subtle warning not to tamper with the film and remove it — as so many tech reviewers did within 48 hours of receiving their testing units.
When it comes to touching the display, Samsung cautions against heavy-handedness and heavy fingers with the words "just use a light touch." Between the polyamide film layer and Samsung's instructions to "go light on the screen," it's obvious that the Fold's display is fragile. It's not easy to create a foldable screen, mind you, so some of what many think is a fragile display is a necessary design. The display already has a vulnerability when one designs it to fold in half.
The Galaxy Fold lacks water and dust resistance
The Galaxy Fold, in addition to its fragile screen and polyamide film that needs only a light touch and no heavy-handedness, also lacks water and dust resistance. The marketing promo tells users to "keep free of water & dust," the statement referring to the Fold itself. It's interesting to see Samsung craft a Galaxy Fold that lacks water and dust resistance, considering the IP68 ratings of its Galaxy S and Galaxy Note series for some time now. The lack of water and dust resistance is a fragility of the device, but it's odd that Samsung didn't take the criticism of how the hinge traps dust and dirt when it re-introduced the consumer device.
Beware of interactions with other objects
The protective film secures the display, while the lack of water and dust resistance makes the Galaxy Fold more fragile and susceptible to damage. Now, to fully prevent anything from happening to the Fold, Samsung says in its promo to "be mindful of objects that may be affected," showing a coin, car key, and credit card. All three items could scratch the display of the Galaxy Fold, not to mention other places on the foldable phone.
Samsung has re-released the Galaxy Fold for consumer purchase, with the South Korean juggernaut assuring the public that it has made the necessary repairs to improve the Galaxy Fold user experience when it lands in consumer hands. And, to be sure, there are a number of tech reviewers out there who are satisfied with the new product. The old Galaxy Fold was a defective nightmare for some, who seem to like the new changes. But still, even with all the new design changes and the improved feel in-hand, there are still vulnerabilities with the new device. Take these vulnerabilities (some necessary, such as the vulnerable foldable display) and add them to other optional ones (lack of IP rating), and the device is still fragile.
What About A Future Ruggedized Galaxy Fold?
With all these fragilities in the most expensive smartphone Samsung has ever made ($1,980 USD for the Galaxy Fold 4G, even higher pricing for the 5G model), there is a need in the minds of some customers for a more durable, ruggedized, and tough device design.
Could Samsung decide to make a ruggedized Galaxy Fold? The company has had its experiments with ruggedized devices, such as the Galaxy S Active smartphone series and the Galaxy Tab Active tablet lineup. It just announced the ruggedized Galaxy Tab Active Pro tablet this month. Samsung once made the Galaxy S Active series more chic and sleek to appeal to its normal phone buyers but has since taken the Active lineup in the opposite direction.
The Galaxy Fold far outweighs the Galaxy S Active and Galaxy Tab Active lineups in price, and with the high price tag, some would expect more ruggedization than on a consumer device that's half the price.
But there are some considerations in this. First, Samsung made the device to be as portable in hand and in pocket as possible. This is why the Galaxy Fold has a 4.6-inch phone screen and not the 6.7-inch display of the Galaxy A70 and Galaxy A90, for example, that folds to fit in your pocket. With greater ruggedization comes greater heft, making the device less portable and more weighty in hand. At some point, the Galaxy Fold wouldn't be pocketable any more.
Samsung could make two versions of the Galaxy Fold, rugged and non-rugged versions, but the ability to do it lies with Samsung and its decision to create or not.
Perhaps making a ruggedized version of the device and reducing the price of the rugged model down to about $1,380 or $1,400 instead of $1,980 USD to start might get more consumers to bet as big on Samsung's future as Samsung is betting on it.