You'd think the images of devastation met by unlucky owners of exploding Galaxy Note 7 handsets would be enough to put off others from wanting to use the phone. Amazingly that has not been the case, and despite it being discontinued several months ago now Samsung still faces issues with taking the Galaxy phablet out of circulation. Verizon, for example, has said in January 2017 that in the US "thousands" of people are still using the Note 7.
Back in October the company saw fit to set up booths in airports to attempt to prevent people carrying onboard flights potentially dangerous mobile devices. It also rolled out a software update that changed the colour of the battery icon to alert potential new and secondhand owners as to whether or not the battery had been replaced. You might also like: Samsung Galaxy Note 5 review and Samsung Galaxy S7 review.
It said back then that more than one million Note 7 handsets were still in circulation - and that is still an issue even now. Samsung has resorted to desperate measures to prevent people using the Note 7, rolling out an update in the UK in December that would cap the battery at 30 percent, making it impossible to get a day's use from the Note 7.
The Note 7, originally expected to go on sale at the beginning of September, was pulled from sale after it was reported that some early handsets had set alight due to battery problems. Samsung thought it had fixed the problem and began sending out replacements, only to realise the problem remained and on 11 October it discontinued the phone for good. It has since offered customers refunds and exchanges, but has insisted that they power down and stop using the phone immediately.
The discontinuation of the Note 7 has hit Samsung's bottom line hard, with some estimates at over $5bn. On 11 October following the discontinuation it revised its earnings guidance for that quarter by reducing its consolidated operating profit from around 7.8 trillion won to 5.2 trillion won.
Now that the Note 7 is now more, you will be looking for an alternative phablet. The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge or Google Pixel XL are excellent alternatives. Also read our thoughts on the possibility of a new Galaxy Note 8.
Why did the Note 7 explode?
On 23 January 2017, Samsung confirmed that the problems with its Note 7 were caused by the batteries themselves, and nothing to do with the hardware or software of the phone.
It said: “A short circuit within the battery may occur when there is damage to the separator that allows the positive and negative electrodes to meet within the jellyroll. Based on a detailed analysis of the affected batteries, both Battery A from the first recall and Battery B from the second recall, we identified separate factors that originated in and were specific to the two different batteries.”
For Battery A, it found “The negative electrode was deflected in the upper-right corner of the battery.” Also that “The tip of the negative electrode was incorrectly located in the curve, not the planar area.”
For Battery B, Samsung said: “High welding burrs on the positive electrode resulted in the penetration of the insulation tape and separator which then caused direct contact between the positive tab with the negative electrode.” Also, “A number of batteries were missing insulation tape.”
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall: What you need to do now
The Note 7 should have gone on sale on 2 September, but Samsung instead took the decision to halt sales and eventually discontinue the phone when faced with a battery cell issue. What started as 35 confirmed cases of exploding handsets is now thought to be closer to 100. You can see some images of Note 7 explosions below.
If you own and are using a Note 7, it's important that you take steps to get it replaced rather than continue to use it. Despite rumours to the contrary, Samsung will NOT remotely disable affected phones that are not returned.
What to do with Note 7: Refund or exchange?
If you have a Galaxy Note 7 in your possession, switch it off and do not charge it. Ideally, take out your SIM card and use another phone in the meantime if you have a spare. If you have photos or other documents on the device which you'd like to retrieve, you'll have to do this at your own risk.
If you've not been contacted by Samsung or the retailer you bought it from then don't wait around, contact it about a refund - which you are entitled to since the Note 7 is a faulty product. Some networks may offer you an alternative smartphone instead of a refund, so ask for a refund if that's what you'd prefer.
Head to this Samsung page if you have a Note 7 which needs replacing or contact the retailer you purchased it from for a full refund. Alternatively, you can contact Samsung's customer support on 0330 726 1000, Carphone Warehouse on 0370 111 6565, Vodafone on 0333 304 0191, Three on 0800 358 04045, O2 on 0333 234 1457, and EE by calling 150 from their mobile (not the Note 7, of course). Also follow these links for more information from Samsung, EE, Three and Carphone Warehouse.
Note 7 UK release date, Note 7 UK price
Note 7 UK release date: 2 September 2016
Note 7 UK price: £749 (TBC)
Samsung confirmed the new Galaxy Note 7 at an Unpacked event on 2 August 2016. The new Note 7 was made available to pre-order from 16 August, and those who pre-ordered from select retailers (including Carphone Warehouse, Vodafone and Three) before 28 August were to get a free Samsung Gear VR headset. They would also receive the Note 7 early on 30 August, but for everyone else the Note 7 was expected to go on sale in the UK on 2 September. We all know what happened next.
Pricing was set at £699 SIM-free from Carphone Warehouse, and mobile operators including giffgaff, Vodafone and O2 had each confirmed that the Note 7 would be available to pre-order through their online sites and in store from 16 August.
The Silver Titanium version of the Note 7 was not expected to be available at launch but was coming soon. Blue Coral, Gold Platinum and Black Onyx were all expected to be available at launch. Also see: Best smartphones 2016
Note 7 specification
The Note 7 spec was almost entirely leaked before launch, but we can now confirm the following specifications:
• Octa-core (2.3GHz Quad + 1.6GHz Quad) 64-bit, 14nm processor
• 4GB RAM
• 64GB UFS 2.0 storage
• MicroSD support up to 256GB
• 5.7in dual-edge Quad-HD (2560x1440, 518ppi) SuperAMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 5
• Enhanced water-resistant S Pen
• Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
• Dual Pixel 12Mp rear camera with OIS and f/1.7 aperture
• 5Mp f/1.7 selfie camera
• LTE Cat.9 4G
• Dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi with MIMO
• Bluetooth 4.2 LE
• NFC, MST
• GPS, GLONASS, Beidou
• Fingerprint sensor
• Iris scanner
• Barometer, Gyro, Geomagnetic, Hall, HRM, Proximity, RGB Light sensors
• 3,500mAh non-removable battery
• Fast charging for both wired and wireless (WPC/PMA)
Read our Galaxy Note7 review.
An upgraded version of the Galaxy Note 7 running 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage is allegedly coming to China - but only China. This is said to be to help Samsung compete in the ongoing memory wars in China, where several 6GB RAM phones have been unveiled, and an 8GB RAM phone is coming soon from LeEco. If true, the monster Note 7 is expected to cost between $900- and $1000.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 live blog: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 launch as it happened
Note 7 new features: Note 5 vs Note 7 - what's the difference between Note 5 and Note 7?
Given that the UK hasn't seen a Galaxy Note since the Note 4, the Galaxy Note 7 comes as a very welcome update. As always from Samsung, we can expect a big boost in performance: the company says the Note 7 is 31 percent faster than the Note 5 in general processing power, while its GPU is 58 percent more capable. A higher-capacity 3,500mAh battery (up from 3,000mAh) is therefore very welcome!
Key changes in the new Note 7 over the US-only Note 5 include the dual-edge screen with built-in HDR support, faster 4G connectivity (now Cat.9), a faster octa-core processor, meaty graphics with the Vulcan API and the addition of IP68 dust- and water protection. Samsung fans will also be pleased to know the company has reinstated the microSD slot, but even as standard the Note 7 offers more internal storage: 64GB up from 32GB.
There's a brand-new iris scanner for extra-secure logins, and an enhanced water-resistant S Pen with a smaller 0.7mm tip and improved pressure sensitivity that lets you create sharable GIFs, supports new Air Commands and works with a awesome new Samsung Notes app. It even works when the screen is switched off.
Samsung has also swapped Micro-USB for reversible USB-C, and the cameras have also been upgraded (the Note 7 now features the same camera as the Galaxy S7) - but we'll have to wait and see whether in real-life situations the Note 7 performs better with its 12Mp Dual Pixel f/1.7 camera than the Note 5's 16Mp f/1.9 camera. Also see: Best Samsung phones 2016: What is the difference between Galaxy Note, Galaxy S, Galaxy A and Galaxy J?
Thanks to Samsung for the following infographic.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in pictures
What happened to the Galaxy Note 6?
Samsung is thought to have skipped the Galaxy Note 6 in order to bring the naming of its flagship phablet in line with that of its flagship smartphone family, the S series. Since it announced the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge earlier this year, it makes sense that it would also bring out the Note 7 in 2016. Samsung has copied more than the name, however. Having dropped the Edge+ model from its S series, the new Note 7 features a dual-edge screen.
New Gear VR announced alongside new Note 7
A new Gear VR VR headset has also been announced alongside the new Note 7, which comes in a new blue-black colour with a USB-C port (as well as Micro-USB). It measures 207.8x122.5x98.6mm and has a 101-degree field of view. As shown in the below render it retains the Gear VR, Oculus and Samsung branding.
Read next: Best new phones coming in 2017.