Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 was a big surprise to me when I first handled and previewed the phone back in early August. Weeks of leaks and rumors had painted a near-complete picture of the phone so we all knew what to expect, but rumors are never the same as actually holding the phone in your hand. The Note 7 was a masterpiece. It packed the world’s most stunning 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display into a sleek design that wasn’t just usable or manageable with one hand, it was actually comfortable. The curved front and back of the phone combined with wonderfully thin side bezels made it the most compact Samsung phablet ever, and the premium materials looked and felt outstanding. Then, a sprinkling of nifty new features on top of Samsung’s already feature rich Android Marshmallow build sealed the deal.
Now, two short months later, the Galaxy Note 7 is completely dead to me.
I quickly recapped the sequence of events in a post earlier this morning, and each time it gets more painful to run down. Shortly after the Galaxy Note 7 was released, reports of exploding handsets led to the discovery that a battery defect in some models posed a safety hazard. Samsung had to recall approximately 2.5 million devices that had been shipped to distributors, and many customers were impressed with how quickly Samsung responded and initiated the unprecedented recall.
That speed may have played a role in what came next, however. In the span of a week, more than half a dozen reports have emerged stating that Note 7 phones that were issued as replacements for first-run models also exploded, causing injuries in at least two cases. One involved a 13-year-old girl whose hand was burnt by the phone as it overheated, and the second incident actually sent a man to the emergency room after smoke inhalation gave him acute bronchitis and caused him to vomit a black substance.
Making matters worst still were allegations that Samsung knew about the incident for several days and said nothing, possibly endangering customers who are still in possession of potentially dangerous devices. The company supposedly even considered trying to “slow him down,” or prevent the injured Note 7 owner from publicly discussing the incident.
Samsung has once again stated that it is investigating this new round of fires involving replacement Galaxy Note 7 phones that were supposed to be safe. Meanwhile, reports emerged suggesting that Note 7 production has been halted as Samsung conducts and investigation, and wireless carriers in the US have stopped selling the phone.
Carriers have also offered to refund or exchange any and all Galaxy Note 7 purchases, and we strongly urge everyone currently in possession of a Note 7 to return it immediately. Continuing to use a Note 7 puts you and the people around you in danger.
The worst part is that no matter what happens from here on out, the Galaxy Note 7 is done. Over. Fin.
Samsung might ultimately find another defect and go through the hassle of replacing phones yet again. If that happens, are you going to trust that your new replacement phone is safe after not one but two recalls? No, of course not. Samsung might also decide to cut its losses and stop selling the Note 7 all together, in which case it wouldn’t matter whether you still trust the phone or not.
Finally, Samsung and the Consumer Product Safety Commission could conclude their investigations and determine that these new Note 7 handsets don’t actually pose a safety risk, and a second recall isn’t necessary. I personally see this as a very unlikely possibility, and we’ll probably continue to see reports of replacement Note 7 phone’s catching fire in the days and weeks to come — more than half a dozen separate incidents in one week is not a coincidence. But even if that’s not the case and the phones are deemed “safe,” will you trust that assessment? Will you bet your car, your house, your safety and your family’s safety on that assessment?
No, you won’t, and neither will I.