It’s been a crazy month for Samsung and the Galaxy Note 7 after exploding batteries wreaked havoc across the globe, causing the tech giant to call back one million units following nearly 100 reports of injuries and property damage in the United States alone.
The Galaxy Note 7 “Batteryexplosiongate” is among the largest smartphone recalls in history. Safety regulators in the United States have issued warnings in recent weeks cautioning consumers not to turn on their Note 7s on airplanes — and not to use their phones at all.
Going down in the history books doesn’t always pay off, as Samsung has learned after losing more than $14 billion of its market share in the recall to cover the costs involved with providing loaner smart-phones and exchanging defective units in favor of other select Galaxy devices free of charge. Not to mention the additional parts and labor required to refurbish the phablets with new batteries.
Samsung recently shipped 500,000 new Galaxy Note 7 devices to stores and carriers around the United States, which amounts to half the amount of recalled devices in the country. More replacement Note 7 phablets are expected to arrive by the end of the month.
With the new inventory in stock, about half of all recalled Galaxy Note 7 phones sold in the U.S. have been exchanged through the voluntary recall, with around 90 percent of owners opting to receive the new phablet since it became available on September 21.
The supply shorted has resulted in a mad dash across the country for a bite at the limited stock. To make matters worse, lousy customer service from mobile carriers ends up frustrating consumers further when they eventually do go to return their device, which is where my story begins…
Call me a purist but there is just something special about going to a retail store and buying a phone on release day. So while everyone else was busy pre-ordering their Note 7, I was holding out. When August 30 finally came, I had to deal with terrible customer service for over an hour to purchase and activate my new device from a T-mobile franchise in my local area.
It was a small store that shall go unnamed, but to their credit, they were the only ones in my area with the device in still stock. Retail availability was cut short due to massive amounts of pre-orders leading up to the release of the Note 7, which left some stores with less than 10 units on the shelves for opening day.
So after calling stores and running around, a few hours of frustration was the price I had to pay for not pre-ordering but at least now I had my Note 7. Now begins the daunting task of transferring all of my accounts, settings, apps from my Galaxy Note 4 to the Galaxy Note 7, you know the drill. Once all that was finally finished, life was good.
Samsung told everyone to turn off their Note 7’s and exchange them for select Galaxy devices or get a full refund. I’ll be honest and tell you that there we’re a few nights when I went to sleep afraid to charge my phone, wondering if I was going to be awaken by the loud popping sound of the phablet exploding.
My mobile carrier T-mobile offered Note 7 loaner devices until replacements could be provided, so I took them up on the offer. That process was fairly straightforward; all I had to do was call the toll-free number and they had a fresh Note 7 Edge out to me within a couple days.
Here we go again with setting up a new phone, except this time I decided to go with only the basics since this phablet was just a loner. All I had to do now was wait for the new Note 7’s to come in on September 21. When the day finally came, I went to my local T-mobile store to find out all of the replacement devices were sold out.
Of course I could come back tomorrow and there would be more devices in stock, but I was already here with the two phones in my hand, so in a game time decision I returned the Note 7 along with the Galaxy S7 Edge for a full refund and switched back to my beloved Galaxy Note 4.
Returning the Note 7 and loaner S7 Edge was no easy task either. I’ll spare you the details, but I will say it took nearly two hours to get a refund on both phones. I even got stiffed on a refund for the screen protector because I didn’t have the original packaging. And since the Note 4 and Note 7 use different sized SIM cards, switching back to my old SIM required a 30-minute phone call with customer support once I got home. That was my fault for being overly confident about getting a new Note 7.
So now I’m back to using the Note 4 and I can honestly tell you the only thing I’m truly missing right now is that ridiculously fast f/1.7 camera and waterproof design of the Note 7. While I can get a waterproof case for my old note, there is no workaround when it comes to photography. The Galaxy Note 4 still looks good though, it feels great, and all of my apps and settings are just the way I left them.
To top the entire experience off I was able to keep the promotional 256GB Samsung microSD card that came with the Note 7, and now my Note 4 is packed with close to 300GB for basically the cost of a screen protector. So nice of Samsung to give us such a wonderful gift for all of our troubles, maybe things wouldn’t have been so bad if the Note 7 had a removable battery like the Note 4.
Now that I have my $850 back and a fully functional device that doesn’t pose a fire risk, I’m going to wait a few months before deciding on what to do next. The Note 7 is an awesome device but we got some really exciting phablets coming out soon like the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, LG V20, and Huawei Mate 9.