Dust is the enemy of a folding phone, and Samsung says it’s working on measures to make its foldables much more dust-resistant.
Samsung mobile business president TM Roh talked about pursuing foldable dust resistance in a press conference following the company’s Unpacked event earlier this week, as reported by Korean outlet BizWatch and spotted by Android Authority. Roh said, “We are well aware of consumer demand for dustproofing, and we are making various efforts to achieve this.” He noted that Samsung added water resistance a few generations into its foldable line and asked Fold series fans to “please wait a little longer” for that dust resistance rating.
It’s a hard problem for phones with moving parts, but it’s a hurdle that Samsung needs to clear if it wants to truly take foldables mainstream. The company’s current folding phones offer robust water resistance but currently don’t provide any protection against dust. Slab-style flagships usually come with an IP68 rating, meaning they’re certified to be resistant to both dust and water to a certain degree; but Samsung’s foldables are only rated IPX8 — the 8 means you can fully submerge them in water, but the X is a big old “nope” for any kind of dust resistance. The moving parts of a folding phone make it a tough problem to solve.
Samsung’s competitors seem to be working on it, too: the Motorola Razr Plus comes with much lower water resistance, but its IP52 rating signifies limited protection against dust. Samsung’s phones aren’t totally hopeless against dust — the hinges include brushes to help keep dust out — but for whatever reason, the Flip and Fold haven’t come with an IP rating that reflects any level of dust resistance.
A dustproof folding phone is an exciting prospect and could represent a big step toward bringing foldables into the mainstream. Until then, our advice remains unchanged: please don’t bring your folding phone to the beach. OLED death is a terrible way for a phone to go.