iFixit pulled its first Galaxy Fold teardown after Samsung scrapped the phone’s April launch to improve its durability.
The teardown crew noted that Samsung faced a clear challenge trying to safeguard the screen. It could protect some of the obvious entry points for debris that caused so much chaos in April, such as covering a gap in the bezel and plastering the hinges with tape, but there was only so much it could do with all the necessary moving parts. There’s a chance debris could still enter the hinge area and affect its functionality, even if the back of the display which includes “surprisingly rigid” reinforcement is that much safer.
There are also the changes we already knew about from looking at the exterior of the device. The gaps at the top and bottom of the screen’s fold, for example, are now covered by small T-shaped plastic protectors combined with a flexible gasket.
The Fold still isn’t very repair-friendly. Many components are modular and can be replaced by themselves, but the fragile display and its mechanics are “likely” to wear down and eventually require a costly replacement. A recent endurance test showed that it might not fold as many times as Samsung estimated, perhaps dying after about three years of normal usage. Replacements for the heavily glued-down batteries are difficult, too, and the glass is similarly hard to work with. To put it another way, the $1,980 you’ll drop on the Galaxy Fold is more of an initial investment that’s likely to deepen if you’re determined to keep the phone working for a long time.
“It looks like Samsung quietly made all the durability quick-fixes we suggested in our original Fold teardown!” iFixit proudly proclaims, but that doesn’t mean the device is perfect. iFixit still calls the phone “alarmingly fragile,” and it’s unclear how well the new devices will hold up in the real world. Overall, the repair specialist site awards the new phone a 2 out of 10 score for repairability, which is the same score as the original device.