Look, it’s no secret I’m a bit neurotic about some things, but I don’t think the anxiety I feel around my Galaxy Note 7 is unfounded. Following the fire of an alleged “safe” model on a recent Southwest Airlines plane, I can’t help but worry that mine might burst up into smoke and flames at any moment.
I don’t want it in my house.
I tried to return my new Galaxy Note 7 — a replacement from the original recall — to AT&T earlier this week. It was day 15 of ownership, though, and AT&T said that was outside of its standard 14-day return period. I explained that I was worried about the safety of the phone, if one just started smoking, does that mean the recall was ineffective?
“Wait for a second recall,” the in-store employee told me. “That’s going to be your best bet at this point.”
Bloomberg said last night that Samsung and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission might initiate a second recall, but that won’t be until there’s a conclusion on the safety of the Galaxy Note 7. If the two groups say the phone is safe to use, my fears will be put as ease, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen. The Verge pretty conclusively determined that the Galaxy Note 7 on the Southwest Airlines flight was indeed a “safe” replacement model. A black square icon on the side of the box and a check on the IMEI number confirmed it. Is mine just as prone to fire?
I’ve been covering smartphones for nearly a decade, and I’ve never seen anything like this.
I’ve never been worried the phone on my desk, in my wallet, next to my bed, might suddenly spew smoke and flames. I’ve never worried that a phone might catch fire while I’m driving. Other phones have ignited, yes. In fact, the AT&T Quickfire was an example of one such product (what an unfortunate name!). But it usually involved a faulty charger, a third-party battery or something more avoidable.
The original Galaxy Note 7 recall was supposed to fix defective batteries, ones that were too large for the compartment they were crammed into. The lack of space was reportedly causing short circuits that caused fires. The new phones are supposed to have batteries that fit the compartments properly, so what’s causing the fires now?
I don’t care how unlikely a fire from my unit might be. Clearly, the man who boarded the Southwest Airlines flight assumed that his Galaxy Note 7 was safe, too. For now, I’m sitting here with a very expensive smartphone that’s prone to fire. I don’t want to use it, and, right now, I can’t return it.
We need answers from Samsung ASAP, before someone else gets hurt.