The Galaxy Note 7, which Samsung previously recalled due to a problem which caused some batteries to explode, has been re-introduced as the Galaxy Note 7 Fan Edition. The new phone has initially been released in South Korea in limited numbers; but Samsung hasn’t entirely ruled out launching the device outside its home market in the future.
Samsung set aside 400,000 Note 7 Fan Edition phones for South Korea on July 7, and it appears to have been selling well. Local networks say daily phone activations have risen from 15,000 each day, to 24,000 each day since the Note 7 Fan Edition’s release. It puts this surge down to Samsung’s phone, which is the only recent new device launch. The popularity won’t encourage Samsung to release more than the allotted amount of Note 7 Fan Edition phones though, a company official told The Investor.
It costs the local equivalent of about $610, or around $200 less than the Note 7 first cost at launch. The Note 7 Fan Edition’s release not only allows Samsung to claw back investment made in producing the device, but also minimize the environmental impact caused by disposing of so many unused phones.
Will the Note 7 Fan Edition be sold elsewhere? Samsung has said it will decide if the phone is sold overseas at a later date. However, it’s possible the decision not to bolster the 400,000 phones for an obviously hungry South Korean market may be due to keeping stock for a limited international release in the near future. A Snapdragon 821-powered device may possibly be released overseas before the end of July, according to The Investor.
If you’re questioning why you’d want to buy a phone that once had the unfortunate desire to burst into flames, it’s not exactly the same as before. Samsung hasn’t reused returned Galaxy Note 7 phones for the Note 7 Fan Edition, or Note 7 FE as it’s also known; but has chosen to refurbish the Note 7 phones that hadn’t been sold. Therefore the devices are made of unused components, rather than ones which may have been compromised.
The big internal alteration is a new 3,200mAh battery, down from the 3,500mAh cell used in the Galaxy Note 7 when it was originally launched. The battery’s physical size and proximity to the device’s body was a contributing factor to the Note 7’s problems, and altering the design like this should avoid the same thing happening again. Additionally, Samsung says the battery and phone have been through a “rigorous eight-point battery safety test.” Samsung is highly unlikely to put out a second Note 7 phone that has even the slightest chance of exploding.
Another alteration is the addition of the software used on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, including the Bixby virtual assistant. Samsung would have almost certainly updated the original Note 7’s software to include Bixby at some point, should the phone have stayed on sale. It’s not clear if Bixby’s complete functionality has been carried across, but Bixby Home and Reminder are both mentioned. The hardware appears to be identical, with the S Pen stylus, IP68 water resistance, plus the iris recognition feature. You’ll know a Galaxy Note 7 Fan Edition is in your hands because it has “Fan Edition” engraved on the back.
Update: Samsung won’t release more Note 7 Fan Editions in South Korea, possibly to hold stock back for an international launch