Ask LH: What Will Happen If I Keep Using My Samsung Note7?

Ask LH: What Will Happen If I Keep Using My Samsung Note7?

Dear Lifehacker, I purchased my Samsung Galaxy Note7 before the worldwide recall. According to the reports, the “exploding” issue has only affected a tiny, tiny fraction of customers. In Australia, there’s been three incidents out of 50,000+ phones, which works out to less than one percent. I’m a big fan of this phone and want to keep using it. If I charge my phone on a fire-proof surface and keep a close eye on it, what’s the worse than can really happen? Thanks, Note7 Lover

Dear NL,

For those who haven’t been following the news, the Samsung Galaxy Note7 has been recalled and discontinued following a spate of incidents in which the device spectacularly burst into flames.

You’re not the only Note7 customer who wants to keep their phone: multiple fans in the US have challenged Samsung to take the device from their cold, dead hands. Hot, dead hands would probably be a more appropriate motto.

We can’t believe we need to say this, but you definitely need to stop using your Note7 — not tomorrow, not when you get a new phone, but right now. When a company issues a worldwide safety recall, you should absolutely heed their advice.

Seriously. The risk, however small, is not worth taking; especially when you can get a full refund with minimal effort. Imagine if your Note7 burst into flames and injured you or somebody you loved? You would only have yourself to blame. Plus, the phones have been known to spontaneously combust outside of charging situations, so it’s not really something you can safeguard against.

There are also insurance issues to consider. If your phone caused significant damage to your property, your insurance provider would almost certainly attempt to void your claim. In other words, your Note7 could end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars.

In short, don’t be a bloody idiot. There are plenty of smartphones on the market that are equal to the Note7. If you bought it through a telco, they will be happy to swap you over to a new handset at no extra charge. If you bought it outright, take it back to the place of purchase for a full refund. The Note7 is dead. For your own safety, it’s time to move on.


Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send it using our [contact text=”contact form”].


  • Another thing to consider is that the 3 in 50,000+ odds you see currently may only be the start of the issue. If the root cause is, for example, internal damage to the battery pouch due to CPU heat, internal shorts due to frame flexing, or something similar, then the failure rate could get exponentially worse with time.

    Companies do not halt production and sale of a product for <0.006% failure rate – that’s easy warranty replacement territory that’s already built into the price you paid. That implies that Samsung has enough understanding of the failure that they expect significantly worse failure rates to come if they leave the product on the market.

    Doing anything but turning it off and leaving it off is a big risk to take when you don’t understand the underlying cause better than the OEM does.

  • “There are plenty of smartphones on the market that are equal to the Note7”
    really? @chrisjager
    i want to believe you, but there really arent any phones equal to the note 7, not just my opinion, read some of the other gizmodo articles too.

    im not saying that its a reason to keep using the Note 7, but there is shit all out there at the moment that can compete, so it leave those of us with the Note 7 to settle for a sub par device and little to hope for.

    maybe a good idea for an article.
    suitable replacements for the Note 7 existent and up and coming models included.

    • but there really arent any phones equal to the note 7, not just my opinion, read some of the other gizmodo articles too.

      Exactly…I totally agree with you. There is NOTHING out right now that even comes close to this phone overall.

      • I agree that there is no phone equal to it. I think people have not used the Note 7, and therefore cannot understand the attachment to it. I seriously hope Samsung doesn’t give up on the model…
        I am keeping mine but I have a fire containment bag to keep it in. just in case 🙂

        And it was refunded, but could not be returned because returning it would mean I would have to get on an airplane with it which was impossible.

  • It’s a bit worrying to hear Samsung is shipping fireproof boxes out for returns. I guess they don’t want to burn their employees.

    • Alternatively, consider that the shipping companies would also be a little paranoid about exploding devices being transported without protection.

      What Samsung dont need is for someone to try and return their phone, only for the postal service refuse to take it.

  • You are the bloody idiot for posting an ill-informed article on such a reputable site, and daring to call logical beings idiots. The chance of a Note 7 bursting into flames is less than the chance of your car bursting into flames at a gas station from a short circuit. It’s also less than you getting into an accident and dying. Or any other defective battery in your iphone causing a fire. No one is calling you an idiot for still driving your car, with the chance of randomly dying in an accident. Please respect your readers. If you have an opinion about a phone, state it objectively and don’t insult the crowd. I am keeping my Note 7 and there are no other phones on the market remotely similar in features or quality.

    • But the thought of peace of mind by just returning it? Dont want you to wake up with your house on fire.

    • Wow. So you know more than the people that make the phones and have analysed the failures?

      Your strawman^H^H^H^H^H analogy is broken – would you continue to drive around in your car if the car manufacturer said there was a design fault that causes them to explode at the fuel station much more often than any other car and likely to get even worse as time goes on?

    • i get your point and i dont disagree with you on most of it.
      when a manufacturer has issued a world wide recall and stopped production of the phone indefinitely, you are playing with fire. should, and i mean that in even the slightest 1% chance that your phone goes up in flames and causes damage to property or your belongings, let alone yourself or someone else you care about – you will not get any insurance payout at all.

      while i love my Note 7 dearly and wish i could keep it, i also have a 4 year old daughter and a wife with number 2 on the way and things in my house that hold more important sentimental value, and for those things, i will be returning my phone as recommended by the manufacturer. and also, i dont want to lose an insurance claim battle when i try to pay for damages to those things that i love.

  • I have a problem with the tone of this article as well. I am also keeping my note7. I charge it and keep it on fireproof surfaces and keep it in my pocket at all other times. Never un-attended and never in the hands of someone who dosn’t respect what’s going on. I’ve still yet to find reliable data on how exactly the ‘burst into flames’ process initiates. Knowing Lithium-Ion batteries well I’d say it’s a slow process. It will get warm in my pocket and i’ll take it out and put it somewhere safe, throw it out the car window, or whatever is necessary. I’m waiting to see if there’s a cutoff date for a refund and will re-assess then. Right now i have an awesome phone i can use carelessly without a screen protector and get it replaced for free at any time. People un-able to contend with this minor risk are the idiots, not the intelligent people who realize how things in the world actually work.

    • It depends on what the fault is to the reaction. Thermal runaway will slowly heat the battery, but say a breakage in the insulators within the cells occurs the chain reaction can be as quick as milliseconds leading to what can be called an explosion. As we don’t know the cause of the fault the outcome cannot be readily determined.

  • I will be keeping my Note 7. It runs cool as a cucumber and has given me 0 issues since Samsung has sent me the replacement. I sure hope Samsung doesn’t issue an update turning these phones into bricks. I would be sad because this phone is amazing.

    • I heard that the possibility of a forced update lock out isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Before I turned mine in during the first recall, I was given an update that had a caveat through T-Mobile that warned me to shut off the phone every time I charged it. Very annoying, I don’t know if other carriers did the same, but I could see them trying to shut it down. I really want to hold out till the V20 now, since I came from a V10 that I loved, and am not a fan of the S7 Edge without the larger stock memory, and the loss of type C USB.

    • They is going to pry it out my cold dead hands. Im not turning mines in no phone out there comes with iris scanner s pen pluse and expandable memory as the note 7 do

  • Can we know your Twitter handle please? . . . . and always tweet your upcoming flights so we can book an alternate carrier/flight.

    Cheers, it was nice knowing you 😉

  • Well said Chris, what idiots, who would put friends and family at risk — even for a 1% chance?

    Apparently the fanbois have got cojones of brass, sfa IQ, and the common-sense of an amoeba

    Let em keep their lemon 7s and award them the fool’s gold plated ID 10-T award. I can’t wait to hear the whining when Samsung bricks all the Note 7s remotely — much like they did with the 60% power ceiling and it will be just after the exchange period stops. Do you maroons really think Samsung is going to cater to idiots – don’t you realise how these things in the world actually work?

  • The risk may be low, but it’s a combination of risk and consequence that you should use to make your decision. For example, yes, the risk of a fire may be below 1%, but if your house burns down I would suggest that your insurance company won’t be paying. Risk…consequence.

  • I read on the BBC that Samsung may disable the phones if not handed in. Is that even possible?

    Furthermore, if they have stopped production and recalling everything, they will no longer support the device and won’t do any software upgrades and over the air bug fixes either, you will soon have a dud anyway.

    On another note:

    I have not been able to buy the note 7 and have been trying for a few days, before the announcement to stop production. I was waiting for the replacements to filter through while also searching on eBay etc. The phone was in high demand and the price was unbearable. There are chancers who are trying to sell this on eBay as much as $2000. I have seen listings. Ebay is quick to remove these listings though. I don’t think I will buy this now, not because of the crazy Fight Club qualification of probability, but because of the 2 main issues I have listed above (Samsung disabling all note 7s and no further software updates)

  • The person who typed out this article and some of the people who commented have been rude and unprofessional in front of the audience. My respect for this website has been damaged. I agree that there is some level of risk in holding on to a Note 7, but I would argue it has been, and continues to be overstated and folks holding on to a Note 7 are quite aware of the potential. I would add that the FAA ban of the Note 7 is quite serious. That has really put a damper on the idea for some to hold on to their device until Samsung can tell us what to look forward to as far as the next stylus phone. I think Samsung needs to work with carriers about upgrades as well, because most are not going to want to wait until a typical ugrade date to restore their Note status; arguably the best flagship android device (NOT) available.

    • The Note7 was recalled and then permanently discontinued by Samsung, which will cause them to lose billions of dollars.

      If the manufacturer is willing to take that kind of hit (not to mention long-lasting reputational damage), it’s fair to say that the risk isn’t overstated.

  • I agree here. I think there is a lot of hype about this situation… while I would not call people idiots for not wanting to run the risk… I think our willingness to come up with other solutions than just getting rid of by far the best phone ever made is a equally valid response. Just because someone else is calling us idiots because we aren’t just going out to replace the phone with the next sales pitch phone which seems to be what we are ”supposed to do’ doesn’t mean that we aren’t thinking it through.

    Seriously it feels like people actually work for Apple, or one of the other competitors companies they take our decisions to keep the phone so seriously. Like how dare I keep the phone!

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!