Some op­tions for Sam­sung Note 7 own­ers

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - MARKETPLACE - By Bree Fowler

NEW YORK >> Wor­ries about the safety of Sam­sung’s re­place­ment Galaxy Note 7 smart­phones have con­sumers fret­ting about what to do. And they’re get­ting lit­tle guid­ance from the com­pany.

U.S. reg­u­la­tors or­dered a re­call of the orig­i­nal Note 7, a huge phone-bor­der­ing on-tablet with a huge bat­tery, in late Septem­ber af­ter the de­vices demon­strated an un­wel­come ten­dency to catch fire. Now, fol­low­ing re­ports that the com­pany’s re­place­ment ver­sions have also over­heated or caught fire , Sam­sung says it is “tem­po­rar­ily ad­just­ing “Note 7 pro­duc­tion to “en­sure qual­ity and safety mat­ters.”

But it nei­ther con­firmed nor de­nied a pre­vi­ous re­port by South Korea’s Yon­hap news agency that it has sus­pended pro­duc­tion of the phones. Sam­sung said it’s in­ves­ti­gat­ing the re­cent fires and work­ing to­gether with the U.S. Con­sumer Prod­uct Safety Com­mis­sion.

The four ma­jor U.S. mo­bile car­ri­ers, mean­while, have all sus­pended tradeins for the re­place­ment phones; so have ma­jor re­tail­ers such as Best Buy. In­stead, th­ese com­pa­nies are of­fer­ing to swap Note 7s out for any other smart­phone of the cus­tomer’s choice.

Here’s a look at the op­tions for Note 7 own­ers.

SWAP FOR A DIFERENT SAM­SUNG PHONE

Sam­sung’s equiv­a­lent phones are mostly, well, old. If you just dropped sev­eral hun­dred dol­lars on the lat­est Sam­sung de­vice, do you re­ally want to trade it for last year’s model?

One op­tion is Sam­sung’s Galaxy S smart­phone, which is slightly smaller and cheaper than the Note. While it has many of the same fea­tures of the Note, it lacks a sty­lus and the Note 7’s iris scan­ner. The phone also came out in March,

which might ren­der it per­ilously close to mid­dleaged where cut­ting-edge types are con­cerned.

An older ver­sion of the Note is also an op­tion, though also a dis­ap­point­ing one, given that the Note 5 (there was no Note 6) launched more than a year ago. Many Note 7 own­ers may al­ready own one, or re­cently traded theirs in to get the Note 7.

Corey Nah­man, a 56-year-old sales­man for a drug com­pany in Long Is­land, anx­iously awaited the ar­rival of the Note 7 and ex­cit­edly bought $150 worth of ac­ces­sories to go with it.

The Sam­sung loy­al­ist also owns a Sam­sung tablet, TV and washer and dryer. Now he has a re­place­ment Note 7 but isn’t sure what he’s sup­posed to do with it.

“I’m not an­gry at them,” he says. “I’m more an­noyed that no­body knows what’s go­ing on.”

Nah­man says he loves the Note 7, but he’s get­ting a lot of pres­sure from his wife to swap out his phone, maybe for the Google Pixel XL. In the mean­time he’s be­ing care­ful not to charge his phone overnight. He turns it off com­pletely be­fore bed.

SWAP FOR A PHONE MADE BY SOME­ONE ELSE

Google’s new Pixel phones are com­ing out later this month, while LG and HTC also have large An­droid smart­phones of vary­ing ages on the mar­ket.

Apple’s iPhone 7 also re­cently launched, and has been fairly well re­ceived even though it no longer fea­tures the stan­dard

head­phone jack. That means Note 7 own­ers would need adapters for their old ear­buds; they might also find it jar­ring to switch from an An­droid phone to the iPhone.

John Black­s­hear, an aca­demic dean at Duke Univer­sity, was a Sam­sung loy­al­ist. He swapped his Note 7 — the third Galaxy Note he’s had — for the re­place­ment ver­sion in Septem­ber. But af­ter hear­ing re­ports of prob­lems with the re­place­ment Note 7s, he traded in that phone for an iPhone 7 Plus on Fri­day.

But his wife, who also has a re­place­ment Note 7, hasn’t swapped hers be­cause she likes it so much and re­lies on it for her job at Duke, he says.

“I don’t know if it’s a big deal or not,” Black­s­hear says. “We haven’t got­ten any­thing from Ver­i­zon or Sam­sung. There haven’t been emails or calls. I want to get some­thing of­fi­cial.”

In the mean­time, he says he and his wife are keep­ing the phone stored in high places where his three young chil­dren can’t grab it.

WAIT IT OUT

The ob­vi­ous down­side: Po­ten­tial over­heat­ing and fire for those who in­sist on us­ing their Note 7s. If you have an older phone ly­ing around that you could re­ac­ti­vate for a while, this might not be a bad choice. Just make sure to power the Note 7 down be­fore toss­ing it in a drawer.

It’s pos­si­ble that com­pany and gov­ern­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tions will de­ter­mine that the fires, at least those in­volv­ing the re­place­ment phones, were just iso­lated in­ci­dents. Or Sam­sung might re­lease an­other re­place­ment phone that’s ac­tu­ally safe be­fore long.

It’s too early to tell. In the mean­time, bet­ter safe than sorry.

AHN YOUNG-JOON — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A vis­i­tor tries out a Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics Galaxy Note 7 smart­phone at the com­pany’s shop in Seoul in Seoul, South Korea, Mon­day. Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics has tem­po­rar­ily halted pro­duc­tion of its Galaxy Note 7 smart­phones, South Korea’s Yon­hap news agency re­ported Mon­day, fol­low­ing re­ports that re­place­ments for the fire-prone phones were also over­heat­ing.

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