CNET decided to put the Galaxy Fold through a folding torture test, and the phone didn’t quite live up to Samsung’s promises. The $2,000 device was placed into a machine that rapidly folded and unfolded it, and its display failed at around the 120,169 folds mark, if not a bit sooner.
When the Fold was announced, Samsung said it had “tested up to 200,000 folds” in internal testing. If you watch the company’s video of those tests below (for the original Fold model), you’ll notice that the device is being folded at a slower pace than the machine CNET used. Could that make a difference in terms of stress on the device? Probably. These rapid-fire tests put more stress on the Fold’s hinge than it would face in real-world use by a normal user, which could account for the premature failure.
There are a few things to go over here. First, although the phone fell a little short of the expectations Samsung set, over 100,000 folds means it’d last for several years based on how often people tend to check their smartphones daily, which is estimated to range anywhere between 80 and 200. But if you stick to the lower end, the Fold would survive over three years. (And remember that you’ve got the glass-covered external display for quicker interactions with the device.)
It’s still not ideal, and a regular smartphone will outlast the Fold’s longevity. But if you’re the type of person paying $2,000 for this thing, odds are, you won’t still be using it by the time it dies — from folding, at least.
The most important point is that folding the Galaxy Fold isn’t the durability issue that you should be concerned about. It’s the device’s overall fragility. Samsung’s futuristic, ultra-expensive gadget must be kept away from water, and we’ve seen evidence (albeit extreme) that dust can still make its way in, despite Samsung’s redesign of the product. The second revision seems to be failing less often than the first, but the Galaxy Fold is still a preview of a foldable phone future — and it’s probably not the kind of thing to seriously consider dropping $2,000 on.