Samsung’s new $2,000 folding smartphone has one bizarre, glaring flaw

The Samsung Galaxy Fold was demonstrated on stage in San Francisco by Samsung representatives.

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The Samsung Galaxy Fold was demonstrated on stage in San Francisco by Samsung representatives.
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Samsung/YouTube

  • Samsung unveiled its foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, on Wednesday.
  • The Galaxy Fold costs nearly $2,000 and is scheduled to launch on April 26.
  • The device can be used as a smartphone or folded out into a tablet.
  • The folding screen is a neat trick, but the phone has a glaring design flaw that no one seems to be talking about.

With each year, smartphone makers like Apple and Samsung are pushing phone screens closer and closer to the edge – literally. Removing smartphone bezels has become an industrywide goal over the past few years.

It’s Apple’s fault, as you might suspect.

In 2017, Apple’s iPhone X introduced everyone to the concept of a smartphone “notch” as a trade-off for a phone with a nearly edge-to-edge screen. Almost every other smartphone maker, from Google to Samsung, has followed suit.

Look no further than Samsung’s new Galaxy S10 smartphone for an idea of how Apple’s iPhone X design has pushed the smartphone industry toward an “all glass” phone interface:

The Galaxy S10 and S10E are almost entirely screen, other than the thin frame.

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The Galaxy S10 and S10E are almost entirely screen, other than the thin frame.
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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

Which is why one particularly bizarre design choice stood out so much when, on Wednesday, I first saw the Galaxy Fold, the $1,980 folding smartphone/tablet that Samsung is also launching this year.

That the device folds is remarkable. A folding screen! That’s some “Jetsons”-style futuristic magic right there.

After that novelty wore off, however, something else stood out: the smartphone’s front screen.

Given that the device is still primarily a smartphone, it’s striking how bizarrely small the screen is, at 4.6 inches.

Even more striking, perhaps, are the two absolutely massive black bars on the top and bottom of that tiny screen.

Talk about thick bezels!

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Talk about thick bezels!
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Samsung/YouTube

Are there technical reasons for these large gaps? Almost certainly. Price considerations, given the already high price of the device? Assuredly.

The Galaxy Fold is more or less a new product category, so we’re in uncharted territory. There could be any number of reasons for the large gaps above and below the smartphone’s screen.

That said, anyone switching from a standard, modern smartphone to the Galaxy Fold will need to consider the trade-off: losing about a full inch of screen real estate in exchange for a folding phone.

We’ve asked Samsung representatives for a statement on the screen design but haven’t heard back.

Here’s the debut trailer for the Samsung Galaxy Fold, set to launch on April 26: