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Why did a ‘safe’ Galaxy Note 7 explode?

Published Sep 20th, 2016 7:45AM EDT
Galaxy Note 7 Recall Safe Battery
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

It’s not a surprise to hear on the news that a Galaxy Note 7 exploded causing some sort of damage. Samsung has a real problem on its hands, one that it’s been dealing with for the better part of the month. The company will replace all the faulty Galaxy Note 7 units with brand new ones, as long as you bring them in.

But are the safe Galaxy Note 7 smartphones really safe? Because it’s definitely troubling to hear that a Galaxy Note 7 unit that’s supposed to have a non-exploding battery pack inside exploded in China.

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China has been one of the markets that have been mostly unaffected by the Samsung recall. That’s because the Galaxy Note 7 units shipped to the region have ATL batteries inside, which seem to be safe. The same batteries are expected to be found inside all Galaxy Note 7 handsets going forward, as Samsung dropped Samsung SDI from its battery supply line.

But Samsung and ATL are independently investigating a Galaxy Note 7 explosion in China. A phone went in flames a few days ago, and both Samsung and ATL say that it’s not because of the battery.

Chinese site TechWeb obtained a statement from Samsung that says the product was damaged because of external heating. ATL reached a similar conclusion after early investigations.

It’s not clear at this time what the source of that external heating was. It’s also unclear wether external means it came from outside the phone, or whether it refers to the fact that the fire did not originate from the battery cells, as is the case with the international Galaxy Note 7 explosions.

Should we worry about all Galaxy Note 7 units out there? Are all of them a fire hazard, regardless of what batteries they rock? That’s too early to tell. After all, the explosion in China appears to be an isolated incident. But it really doesn’t look good for Samsung.

Samsung’s announcement pops up on Samsung China home page and is dated September 19th — check it out at this link (screenshot below).

galaxy-note-7-safe-battery-heating-explosion-chinaImage source: Samsung

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.