As Samsung officially cancels the Galaxy Note 7 and works with the U.S. authorities on a recall of all devices, both old and new, there's been a growing chorus of Note 7 owners saying they're keeping hold of their phones. In a way, it's understandable. When it's not catching fire, exploding or spewing "angry grey-green smoke," the Note 7 is one of the best Android phones out there. It's easy to see why you'd hesitate to part with it and ostensibly take a downgrade to a Galaxy S7 edge or some other phone.
But that's no reason to risk your own safety, and that of the people around you. And in the weeks and months ahead, expect Samsung to do everything in its power to make sure you're aware of the recall, and turn your Note 7 in.
Here are just a few reasons why you should listen to the manufacturer's advice.
1. It could explode at any moment (duh)
Let's start by stating the completely obvious: There's a reason why Samsung has canceled the Note 7, and why the CPSC has issued a second recall. The Galaxy Note 7 is not safe. It's not safe to use, and could explode at any moment — while charging, while in use, and potentially even while switched off. Recall that the infamous Southwest airplane incident involved a Note 7 combusting while powered down.
Here are a few possible scenarios which could unfold if you keep your Note 7 around:
- Your Note 7 is sitting on your nightstand while you're sleeping and it starts spewing noxious gasses, as happened to one Note 7 owner in Kentucky, who was later taken to hospital with acute bronchitis. The phone in question was not in use or charging at the time.
- Your Note 7 explodes in your pocket, causing deep second-degree burns, as allegedly happened to one Note 7 owner in Florida who's now suing Samsung over the incident.
- Your child is using the Note 7 when they're injured by it catching fire in their hands, as happened in one case in Minnesota.
- Your Note 7 is powered down and stowed when it spontaneously combusts, as happened on a Southwest airplane during boarding. If can happen on an airplane, it can happen when it's powered down in a drawer, in a box, or sitting on a kitchen counter doing nothing.
You get the idea. There is no safe way to keep your Note 7 around, and if you plan on holding onto it for any length of time — even packed away as a collector's item — the chance of one of these things happening increases exponentially over time.
2. Samsung is going to nag you to death with push notifications
Samsung will do everything in its power to cajole you into returning your phone.
During the first Note 7 recall, Samsung went to great lengths to make sure customers knew about the recall, and it plans to do the same again. This includes push notification messages, texts from your carrier, and eventually a software update notification that'll keep popping up every few hours.
Samsung wants you to turn in your Note 7. And it has complete control over your phone's software, and will do anything in its power to cajole you into doing just that.
3. A future software update will hobble your battery life
Among other things, Samsung is likely to issue a software update to all Notes, as it did during the first recall. As before, we can expect battery life to be capped (probably around 60 percent, as during the first recall), and for additional software nags to appear each time you plug the device in, telling you to return it.
Think you can just refuse the software update? Last time around Samsung made sure the update notification popped up every few hours, with no way to permanently dismiss it.
Those are extra annoyances you'll have to endure if you're dead set on continuing to use this potentially explosive smartphone.
4. ... And your phone may eventually be remotely deactivated
One card Samsung has yet to play is the remote deactivation of all Galaxy Note 7s. This was rumored to be one of the tools at Samsung's disposal during the first recall, but the company later denied any plans to do so. Make no mistake though — Samsung is absolutely capable of doing this.
This probably won't happen anytime soon, but it's entirely possible the "nuclear option" of remotely disabling all Note 7s still in service might be used a few months down the line. Even if Samsung doesn't do this, individual carriers may block the Note 7 from accessing their network by blacklisting their unique IMEI numbers — to much the same effect.
5. There's no future update support
Samsung has canceled the Galaxy Note 7. That means no new security patches, no new feature updates, and certainly no upgrade to Android 7.0 Nougat — ever.
6. You can't bring it on an airplane at all, in any capacity
The second recall in the United States means it's now prohibited to bring a Galaxy Note 7 onboard an airplane in any capacity, whether it's powered on, switched off or stowed in luggage. A statement given to Gizmodo by the FAA around the time of the original recall reads:
If the device is recalled by the manufacturer, airline crew and passengers will not be able to bring recalled batteries or electronics that contain recalled batteries in the cabin of an aircraft, or in carry-on and checked baggage.
That means if you're caught with a Note 7 onboard, don't expect to be allowed to fly. Maybe you're not a frequent flier right now, but do you really want to be tied to a dangerous phone that limits your travel options further down the line?
And with Samsung withdrawing the Note 7 globally, airlines and aviation authorities in other countries are sure to follow the FAA's lead.
7. There's no resale value
Aside from the fact that the CPSC recall of all Note 7s makes sale of the device illegal in the United States, nobody's going to want to buy one when it's time to move onto a new generation of phones. (You'll also face issues shipping the phone, with couriers and delivery firms reportedly refusing to carry the Note 7.)
Even if you're planning on holding onto it as a memento or collector's item, remember that the Note 7 doesn't need to be powered on to be potentially explosive. There's been at least one report of the device spontaneously catching fire while powered off.
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