The Samsung Galaxy Fold smartphone. Picture: Kelvin Chan/AP/African News Agency (ANA)

London- Its has been billed as the smartphone that opens up like a book.

But Samsung’s £1 500 (about R27 000) Galaxy Fold has failed to win rave reviews – after it broke within hours of being sent out to journalists.

The firm posted the phone – which has a flexible screen that folds in half – to tech reviewers ahead of its launch in the US next week.

Some found it stopped working within a day. Others pulled off a protective film which led to it shutting down almost immediately.

Samsung said the plastic cover should not have been removed – but reviewers warned this is a mistake many customers would make. A video filmed by Todd Haselton from broadcaster CNBC shows the left side of the screen flashing while the other goes black.

He said the phone was "completely unusable" within 48 hours.

Dieter Bohn, from technology site The Verge, said his handset broke within a day after a "small bulge" appeared in the crease and perforated the screen. He said the fact the Galaxy Fold had broken so quickly was "very troubling".

Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman tweeted: "The screen on my Galaxy Fold review unit is completely broken and unusable just two days in."

Samsung unveiled the phone to great fanfare in February. It had taken eight years to create and is one of the priciest on the market.

The company called it the "next chapter in mobile innovation history" and boasted that it could stand being opened and closed 100 times a day for five years.

In 2016, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 had to be recalled shortly after its launch due to handsets overheating and catching fire. The firm vowed to inspect the latest faults "to determine the cause". It added that only a limited number of phones had been sent out.

A spokesman warned that the protective layer was designed to stop scratches and removing it "may cause damage".

Daily Mail