Galaxy Fold dies after 120,000 folds in CNET torture test

Galaxy Fold stood up in a coffee shop
Galaxy Fold stood up in a coffee shop (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • CNET put Samsung's Galaxy Fold through a folding torture test.
  • It used a machine made by SquareTrade in order to test how many folds the smartphone could withstand.
  • Samsung rates the Galaxy Fold for 200,000 folds, but during CNET's test, it only made it through 120,000 before failing.

To say the Samsung Galaxy Fold has had a rocky launch would be putting it kindly. Samsung's first foldable phone initially experienced a delayed launch when flaws were brought to light by tech reviewers who received the phone early. That lead to Samsung recalling all the units and delaying the launch until it could make improvements to the device. Finally, after several months of waiting, the new and improved Galaxy Fold launched on September 27.

Despite being new and improved, and the additional measures Samsung has taken to enhance the phone, there are still many questions surrounding how durable the Galaxy Fold actually is.

One of the most obvious being, how many folds can the Galaxy Fold actually withstand? Samsung rates it for 200,000 folds, which should last the typical user five years. The folks over at CNET decided to put that to the test with a livestream using a robot built by SquareTrade.

The aptly named FoldBot can open and close the Galaxy Fold 150 times per minute, and — spoiler alert — it didn't survive 200,000 folds.

The test started out well with the Galaxy Fold holding up rather quite nicely for the first 40,000 folds, which is the equivalent of one year of usage. The only visible damage came from a couple of blemishes that showed up on the inner edges of the case.

It continued to power through 80,000 and 100,000 with no visible or technical issues, until finally at 119,380 folds, where half of the screen went black and the hinge had lost some of its integrity. CNET then continued the test until 120,169 folds when it finally called it after saying, "the Galaxy fold has stopped working" in a tweet.

See more

Going by Samsung's numbers, that would put the phone at nearly three years worth of folds. Granted, the wear and tear was definitely accelerated here due to the conditions, but I'd say overall the Galaxy Fold held up surprisingly well.

Jason England
  • I think the machine was quiet harsh when folding...human won't guess the 2nd edition of fold would be way better maybe called Note 11 fold with S pen
  • It would be worth re-running this test with a much slower setting. Repetition aside, it seems really unlikely that you'd be ripping the phone open that fast.
  • Thats better than I'd have expected.
  • If I'm paying almost $2K for a phone it sure as hell had better last more than 3 years. I wouldn't pay $1K for a phone that lasted 10 years.
  • They should have filmed it in infra red to see how much heat was generated by the friction of folding so rapidly.
  • That test was friggin brutal! I'm surprised it last as long as it did under those conditions. EVen if I had one, I can't imagine opening my phone 100+ times per day. THis shows that the fold's folding mechanism should last the lifespan of the device itself.
    Although, with all of this talk, I'm wondering if Samsung's engineers can build an independent "fold counter" into the phone for the purposes of selling it to buyers who want to know the amount of wear on it.
  • OK, I agree there was a failure of the screen elements on the test device, I have a concern over the way the testing device was vigorously working the Fold, To me it really does not represent actual "Normal Usage" if nothing else the way it was running there would likely have been a build up of heat caused by the continuous motion of the device being folded. Yes it did fail but would it have failed in actual normal usage, who can say..
  • Robot beats the crap out of phone. Phone breaks. Who would have thought?
  • Don't worry. For a lot of people I'm sure that gravity and the ground will do far more damage than this machine ever will.
  • Materials heat up when flexed. Not an issue in normal use where you open the device, use it, then close it a few minutes later. Rapidly flexing it faster than a human could causes the screen structure to heat up which speeds up material fatigue and failure.
  • Exactly my thoughts too.
  • Obviously the test was beyond what any "normal" human would ever do with their phone. Heck, let's get a robot to pull a phone out of a pocket, press the power button, touch the fingerprint reader, adjust the volume rocker some 120,000 times and watch how many fail way before that!
    At any rate, we're talking about a phone that costs about 4X as much as mine, with a flexible screen. A disaster waiting to happen! Surely the hinge will probably work until the day of complete battery death, but its the individual pixels on the screen that would worry me. Dead pixels on a 2 Grand phone = no way!
    After watching Jerry Rig....don't take it to the beach! LOL
  • Also, you have to consider the heat generated in that many consecutive folds... In a real life, that many folds aren't going to happen in such a short time span...
  • If Apple's foldable phone lasted 1/3rd as long in the exact same testing, it would be praised as the best thing since the 'Big Bang'
  • torture is illegal and a blatant violation of the fold's rights.
  • The machine seems fine but why have it going at that speed? Imagine doing 1000 star jumps at 100mph something's gonna give sooner rather than later!
    It's like aerobics for hyperactives
  • As a gen 1.1, this is great. I would personally wait till gen 4 or later, but cheers to early adopters. Always fun to see those grasping their pearls when something they were not going to buy is not perfect.
  • I can't believe the stupid headlines so many publications are giving this crazy test. I can't believe no publication is calling CNET out for this test. I am surprised the Fold lasted this long with the brutal slapping. I saw a video of the test while it was ongoing and I was wondering the point of the test.
  • Really stupid test that does not replicate actual consumer use but go for it.