Update 9/21/2016: Samsung has shipped more than 500,000 Galaxy Note 7 replacements to the United States. The new phones are available for exchange at retail and mobile carrier stores as of Wednesday.
Update 9/15/2016: Samsung recommends powering your Note 7 immediately and taking part in their Official Exchange Program.
Update 9/5/2016: A new report by Phone Arena suggests checking the back of your phablet to see whether your device is fitted with a faulty battery. Looking at the stamp on the bottom rear of the handset shows where the phablet was made, models with the inscription “manufactured in China” are not believed to have the fire prone battery inside. If your Note 7 has the inscription “manufactured in Korea” or “in Vietnam” you should return the unit to the vendor, according to the report.
Regardless of this new information, it’s still recommended that you swap your Note 7 out for a new one, or take up Samsung on their offer for a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge, considering the recall is a serious safety issue. T-mobile isn’t taking the risk when it comes to safety, despite having a Note 7 model that is made in China, they are also taking part in the voluntary recall like all of the other US mobile carriers.
Update 9/5/2016: Gear VR owners are being warned by Oculus against using their headsets with the Galaxy Note 7 until a replacement phablet is obtained from Samsung. While there is no word on the potential risk involved, the company, whos technology powers the VR headset, posted an official statement on their website:
” Please note: Samsung has issued a product exchange programfor all Note7 devices due to battery issues. Don’t use your Note7 with Gear VR until you get your replacement. Contact Samsung directly with any questions.”
Update 9/2/2016: Samsung has officially launched a recall of all Galaxy Note 7 phablets equipped with batteries it has found to be fire-prone, the company announced Friday, after 35 reports of dangerous battery problems.
Samsung is delaying shipments and is expected to launch a recall for Galaxy Note 7 units sold in the United States and Korea after multiple reports of units literally catching fire while charging. Approximately 400,000 units are believed to contain defective batteries and as of now, Samsung has no plans to exchange any of them or give their money back.
Last week we learned that a Note 7 out of China had exploded while charging via a USB Type-C converter. What was originally thought to be an isolated incident has now caused Samsung to take a step back, halting future shipments of Note 7 phablets after yet another report of an exploding phablet has surfaced.
“Shipments of the Galaxy Note 7 are being delayed due to additional tests being conducted for product quality,” a Samsung rep told Reuters in a statement on Thursday. Samsung is not explicitly saying it’s looking into battery issues.
Should Note 7 owners be worried about their phones exploding?
Only time will tell, but it’s important to note that in both incidents, a third-party charging cable was being used. As Business Korea reports, quoting a friend of the Note 7 owner, “You should use its original charger just in case and leave the phone far away from where you are while charging.”
Samsung is reportedly talking with the owner of the exploded Note 7 about compensation in relations to the incident. Luckily nobody was hurt but reports of faulty third-party hardware shouldn’t come as a surprise as there have been multiple reports of USB-C cables that aren’t 100% compliant with the standard.
As an example, budget accessory provider Anker has recently issued a recall on substandard USB-C cables because of voltage memory problems. The cables are designed to “remember” the supply voltage of newer laptops, like the Chromebook Pixel, and will send unsafe voltage levels to smartphones if not plugged into a lower voltage charger.
USB-C laptops, for example, are designed to take 15V-20V power input, but some phablets are only designed to take inputs at up to 5V. Fast charging allows the device to negotiate a different voltage with the charger, moving up from 5V to 9V. When the higher voltages are applied to low-power electronics, it can cause battery explosions or fires.
To be on the safe side, you must always use the original charger and cable that comes with your mobile device, and in the Galaxy Note 7’s case, that also applies to the USB Type-C converter as well. Wireless charging is probably the safest and most convenient option right now, especially with the new Fast Charge wireless pads that offer a huge boost in charge speed over the standard ones.
It’s not clear when Samsung will start shipping Note 7’s again, but so far it seems that all signs point to an issue with the charging setup and not with the actual phablet design itself.
You should have nothing to fear right now if you’re using the Galaxy Note 7 with the charger that came in the box, but that may change if Samsung goes through with the recall. If you must use another charging source, look on the nameplate to verify it’s a 5V source. Only use the official Samsung Adaptive Fast Charger if you need to charge up quickly.