Initial reports out of Korea suggest the Galaxy Note 4 may suffer from a quality control issue resulting in excessive gaps between the edge of the phone’s screen and its chassis. Photos of the purported “gapgate” show business cards stuffed in the gaps – both at the top and on the sides of the screen.
As it turns out, Samsung is well aware of the gap which, according to them, isn’t an “issue” but part of the overall design.
Buried deep in the Note 4’s instruction manual (page 180 under the ‘troubleshooting’ section) is a reference to the gap around the screen. It states that the gap is a necessary manufacturing feature and some minor rocking or vibration of parts may occur. The manual also points out that over time, friction between parts may cause this gap to expand slightly.
The latter statement could be interpreted in one of two ways. If read word-for-word, it suggests parts will rub together over time which will make them smaller and increase the gap.
Another interpretation (which seems more likely to me) is that the gaps are there for when parts heat up and expand under regular use, similar to why sidewalks have gaps in them (albeit that’s mostly for ice expanding, but it’s the same principle).
All things considered, it’s still a bit too early to put the issue to bed. How widespread is the gap? Does it affect just a few handsets or is it noticeable on every unit? Is the gap large enough that hair, dirt or other debris could get trapped inside?
I suspect it’ll likely be a non-issue but we won’t know for sure until the handset launches in the US starting October 17.