Of Course You'd Still Buy A Galaxy Note7 After The Recall, Right?

The sky is most certainly falling over Samsung headquarters in the wake of reports that its hottest new smartphone, the Galaxy Note7, might actually be too hot to handle, literally. Samsung has received at least 92 reports of Note7 batteries overheating in the U.S. alone since its launch, with 26 of those resulting in burns and more than half causing property damage. While officially recalled in the U.S. now, Samsung has been criticized heavily in the media for their alleged slow response and hackneyed initial exchange program.

galaxy note 7 burned
[Image Source: Baidu]

Samsung's public relations disaster may actually be the worst in smartphone history. The Galaxy Note7 was released for sale on August 19th. The first two reports of overheating batteries emerged just over a week later out of South Korea. In both instances, the phone was charging when it burst into flames. At this point, Samsung halted shipments of the Note7 on August 31st and the next day began mulling over an international recall of the device which they kicked into action on September 2nd.

Galaxy Note 7 Kit

So far, so good, right? Not exactly. You see, this "recall" was actually an exchange program which Samsung was attempting to handle exclusively and without federal oversight. By side-stepping the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there was no legal binding to actually prevent further sales of defective units. As a safety precaution, three Australian Airlines enacted a ban on charging or using a Note7 during flights while the FAA state-side scrambled to consider a blanket ban on the device. Samsung issued push notifications and sent emails to affected customers urging them to exchange their phones but an official, federal recall was still not enacted for two more weeks. This formal recall, by the way, formally prohibits anyone from bringing recalled batteries, or devices with recalled batteries, onto an airline.

Samsung Electronics America President And COO, Tim Baxter issues apology for the Note7

No one can deny Samsung's missteps here. Even traditional news outlets have been sounding the alarm about the dangers of using a recalled Note7. Frankly, living under a rock wouldn't be a reasonable excuse for holding onto an at-risk Note7 at this point. If you are still using one, Turn it off right NOW and go to a local dealer to also collect $25 for your troubles. Sure, you may beat the odds with it, but you only beat the odds until you don't - and you'll only have yourself to blame.
galaxy note 7 battery
[Image Source: iFixIt]

However, all of fallout from this debacle should soon be in the past. Moving forward, now that Galaxy Note7 shipments have been resumed with battery issues addressed, should you as a consumer still consider it? We here at HotHardware do believe the Note7 is a worthy product with significant merit, but it is not a straightforward "yes" anymore either, unfortunately for Samsung.

HotHardware's video review of the Samsung Galaxy Note7

The Note7 is still one of our favorite phones (Click for full review). It brings the best Samsung has to offer from the Galaxy S7 line - unrivaled display, top-tier performance, fantastic camera, and precision build quality - with Galaxy Note standards, such as the S-Pen. The Note7 also has even more new features on board, including an innovative iris scanner. If you like your phones large with all the bells and whistles, the Note7 will impress.

The social aspect of owning a Note7 may be where things get complicated. The press, as excellent as it is at sounding the alarm when something goes wrong, isn't so interested in reporting when such issues have been resolved. This leaves the general populace woefully uninformed. For instance, I personally still rock a Nexus 6 which is another phablet sized device. Even still, I've had a couple misinformed acquaintances express concerns about my "Galaxy phone." Other friends have relayed similar confusion surrounding their Galaxy S6's and S7's. These instances are, naturally, easily addressed by flipping the phone over and showing that it is, in fact, not a Note7.

note 7 high res

With an actual Note7, however, that may be more difficult. Boxes are clearly marked but there is no distinction made on the unit itself (UPDATE 9/19: As reader Boggleboes pointed out, updated Note7 units will have a green battery icon instead of white). Among concerned friends, this probably is not an issue to explain. However, TSA agents may prove to be less understanding, and it remains to be seen how this will play out. Perhaps there is at least potential for already long security lines to be made worse.

Galaxy Note 7 Kit

On the other hand, as a consumer I can expect that Samsung has certainly learned from this debacle and is eager to never repeat it. Samsung does pride themselves on quality, and,  like any business, they want to make money. Sure, we see many cases where small issues crop up that are never really addressed, but it's highly unlikely that will be the case here. Remember the Note 5's crippling S-Pen issue? The Note7's S-Pen has been redesigned to ensure it cannot be incorrectly inserted this time around.

It's still a tough sell now, regardless, but we want to know what you think. Galaxy Note enthusiasts, would you still get a Note7? What about the mainstream large format smartphone consumer in general? Do you buy Samsung's Tim Baxter's apology? Are you wary of future calamities? Can Samsung recover from the damage to their reputation? What other phones are you considering?

There are lots of questions that may only be answered as the weeks and months ahead unfold but please, sound off in the comments below.