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

Samsung Galaxy FoldSamsung/YouTubeThe Samsung Galaxy Fold was demonstrated on stage in San Francisco by Samsung representatives.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. The removal of smartphone bezels has become an industry-wide goal across the last few years.

It's Apple's fault, as you might already suspect.

Apple's iPhone X introduced everyone to the concept of a smartphone "notch" as a trade-off for a phone with a nearly wall-to-wall screen. Almost every other smartphone maker has followed suit since, from Google to Samsung.

Look no further than Samsung's new smartphone, the Galaxy S10, for an idea of how Apple's iPhone X design has pushed the entire smartphone industry toward a so-called "all glass" phone interface:

galaxy s10 vs s10 eAntonio Villas-Boas/Business InsiderOther than a thin frame, the Galaxy S10 and S10e are almost entirely screen.Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

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

That the device folds is obviously remarkable. A folding screen! That's some "Jetsons"-style futuristic magic right there:

After that initial novelty wore off, however, something else really 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:

Samsung Galaxy Fold (bezels!)Samsung/YouTubeTalk about thick bezels!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, an entirely new product category, so we're in uncharted territory here. 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 have yet to hear back.

Take a look at the debut trailer for the Samsung Galaxy Fold right here:

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