While Samsung has started their Galaxy Note 7 recall program in the Philippines a few weeks ago, it’s only now that the company is conducting the actual unit replacement for afflicted units. If you’re one of the roughly 6,500 people in the Philippines that managed to score a Galaxy Note 7 before the battery issue was discovered, you can finally get your phone replaced for free tomorrow where you got it.
So how do you spot a newer, safer Galaxy Note 7? Well, there’s two diffentiators – one is in the box. There’s a square dot where the IMEI information sits which differentiates the phone from the previous version. An easier way to tell if the phone is a safe version is the power icon – if it’s green, it’s good to go. If it’s white, it should be turned in and replaced ASAP. Samsung’s also pushed a critical OTA to afflicted phones that caps the charging to just 60% and shows a prompt every ten minutes or so asking the user to turn in their phone to get it replaced.
While Samsung has laid down guidelines in the replacement of the devices (official receipt, box and accessories should be complete), in truth they’d probably accept the phones anyway even if users lose their receipt and the box. Samsung has the master list of all the IMEIs of the Galaxy Note 7s officially sold in the Philippines anyway.
Which brings us to the topic of grey market units – devices sold unofficially in the Philippines. While Samsung wants to replace all the Galaxy Note 7 phones currently in the Philippines regardless of where they’re bought, unfortunately government regulations (specifically Customs and NTC) prevent them from doing so. The NTC and the BOC have tagged grey market units as “smuggled” units which did not go through proper type approval and classification, and Samsung Philippines’ possession of these units for shipment to Korea to be liquidated would be against the law. Our advice? Have them replaced by the store that you bought them from. Just goes to show that paying extra for warranties really is worth it.
Despite being a nightmare for Samsung, what the company has done to rectify the problem is nothing short of amazing. In the time that they announced the recall program for the afflicted units, Samsung has had to manufacture roughly 2.5 million newer, safer Galaxy Note 7s to replace the ones in the wild. That’s no mean feat, considering that they did that in around two weeks, according to Samsung Philippines – the only other company that could possibly do that is Apple.
Despite all the issues, people who have already bought the Galaxy Note 7 prefer to have their devices replaced instead of refunding or downgrading to the Galaxy S7 Edge. Around 95% of customers in the Philippines preffered to wait for the replacement, and Samsung went the extra mile of handing these customers Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge devices to use in the meantime.
The biggest challenge now is trying to rebuild the trust of consumers who may have been put off by the problems of the new phone. But despite this, we stand by our original review of the Galaxy Note 7 – it’s really the best big screened phone out in the market right now. If you find a way to buy it, do it – you won’t regret it.