The $2,000 Galaxy Fold from Samsung is a massive risk for anyone who buys it
- Samsung unveiled its first foldable smartphone last week, the Galaxy Fold.
- The Galaxy Fold is the most expensive smartphone Samsung has ever made. It starts at $1,980.
- The phone features many technological innovations, but carries a lot of risk for customers as well.
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Samsung's $2,000 foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, has been turning heads since its unveiling last week.
Foldable phones are the hottest new phone trend in 2019, which isn't too surprising. Before smartphones became mainstream in the late 2000s, foldable "clamshell" phones like the Motorola Razr dominated the marketplace with their compact designs.
The Galaxy Fold hearkens back to that era of flip phones: You can use the Galaxy Fold's 4.7-inch display with one hand, but the phone can open up into a 7.3-inch tablet-like display.
Having a new smartphone design, after over a decade of the same rounded rectangles over and over again, is obviously exciting. But buying the Galaxy Fold when it becomes available in select regions on April 26 is a risky prospect.
The Galaxy Fold is not a small investment. At $1,980 to start, it's two to three times the price of a normal smartphone.
Smartphones are already extraordinarily expensive right now, and that's mainly due to the one-upsmanship between Apple, Samsung, and other tech giants to make the best phones each year. It's a yearly competition that's gotten more intense since the $1,000 iPhone X was unveiled in 2017.
Not only is the Galaxy Fold a lot of money up front for a smartphone — but repairs could turn out to be just as costly.
We have no idea about the repair process for the Galaxy Fold just yet, but there's a lot that could go wrong.
Its front screen, inside display, or its hinge, could break. One of its five cameras could malfunction. And if any of those things go wrong, it's unclear what the next steps will be for customers.
Samsung doesn't have the same kind of retail footprint that Apple does, so it will most likely mean mailing in your device for repairs.
Are you willing to pay $2,000 for a phone that, if it breaks, you could potentially be without for several weeks?
Also, would you be ready to pay the hefty cost of the repairs themselves? Given all of the new technology in this phone, replacement parts will likely not come cheap.
Here’s how much Samsung charges for repairs on its current phones, if they're out of warranty — but expect steeper pricing for the Galaxy Fold.
You could also enroll in Samsung's version of AppleCare, called Premium Care, which costs $12 a month. With that, repairs for accidental damage will cost only $99 on current phones, but it's unclear if prices will change for the pricier Galaxy Fold.
Aside from the upfront cost and the potential cost of repairs, the Galaxy Fold is also a first-generation product, which is risky in itself.
First-generation products have a reputation for having tons of issues at launch, which take time to iron out. Almost no consumer tech is exempt from this rule: Even new iPhone designs have suffered this fate.
Remember AntennaGate from the iPhone 4 era, or BendGate from the iPhone 6 era?
The Galaxy Fold, with its all-new design, could be prone to new issues, although it's impossible to foresee what types of problems this first-generation foldable device could experience.
The Galaxy Fold is certainly exciting, but prospective customers should exercise extreme caution, especially buying this phone at launch.
Unless you need to be the first on the block with this phone, it makes sense to watch the reception of this phone, and see how any potential issues play out. Smartphones are an investment, and this one (more than) doubly so. It makes little sense to rush in.
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