I got to take my hands off to Samsung for having courage. We all know how the Galaxy Note7 single-handedly ruined Samsung’s reputation, some say beyond repair. At the unpacking of its new flagship Galaxy Note8 recently in New York, the Korean tech giant openly admitted its fault with the Note7 debacle, which I admit was brave.
Of course, there was a positive end to the crisis. Samsung tightened quality control, and ultimately built its best product to date: the Galaxy Note8.
But as you may also know, Samsung also made available a South Korean-exclusive “Fan Edition” of the end-of-line Galaxy Note7, also known as the Galaxy Note FE.
The refurbished Fan Edition, which sports a KRW699,000 (MYR2,590) sold out in South Korea when it was launched in July. It is unclear how many Note FE’s Samsung is making, but based on the stockpile of original Note7s, it could be in the couple of millions. In its local market, Samsung made available 400,000 units.
The limited-run device is pretty much a Note7 we know out-of-the-box, but features a brand new, lower capacity battery that holds 3,200mAh. The original Note7 had a 3,500mAh unit.
The battery unit isn’t just lower capacity, but physically smaller both in mass and dimension, as revealed in a teardown by iFixit last year. This is because, one of the original Note7’s biggest flaws was incorrect battery size which made them prone to swelling, punctures, and at times catching fire.
Aside from the refurbished battery, the Note FE also has Bixby integration out-of-the-box, which at least makes it more current and in line with Samsung’s existing flagships.
For the real fans
The good news is, based on a leak by mdroid.my, the Galaxy Note FE is coming to Malaysia, the first country outside of South Korea to get the device. And by the way, the device was also spotted in Indonesia’s SIRIM-equivalent website.
In any case, check out this Yes 4G list of supported LTE devices. You’ll notice the Note FE standing proudly beside the Galaxy Note8 with the label “NEW.” If you notice on the screen cap, it’s also labelled “Updated on 9 October 2017.”
This is a strong indication that the device will be heading to Malaysia soon.
I reached out the Yes 4G, and they replied saying cannot share the device availability in Malaysia, just yet. The image posted merely shows the device compatibility on the Yes 4G network.
A better Note7
As a quick refresher, the Galaxy Note FE is the improved twin of the Galaxy Note7. It features the same 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display with dual curve edges.
It rocks last year’s flagship Exynos 8890 processor mated to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.
Camera-wise, it gets the excellent 12MP f/1.7 main shooter and a front-facing 5MP selfie unit.
It gets a conventional fingerprint sensor on the front, built into the home button, and of course the S Pen.
The glass and metal body is also IP68 dust- and water-resistant, and supports fast wireless charging. As mentioned it has a 3,200mAh battery that charges over USB Type-C.
Thoughts on the Fan Edition
Granted it will be sold on the limited-run, but in my opinion, the Note FE may cannibalise sales of the new Galaxy Note8, and its non-stylus flagships—the Galaxy S8 and S8+.
Also, while I feel there should be a cheaper Note device to address the market, the Note FE still carries the PR nightmare baggage associated with the Note7. Admittedly, I haven’t heard much “explosive” Note7 jokes lately, but I’m expecting some again soon.
Clearly, Samsung has addressed quality issues with the battery and the processes that go along with it, but we all know, the damage isn’t skin deep.
That said, who’s to say fans won’t run out and buy one? Being sold out in South Korea is a testament to how true fans have the innate ability to forgive and forget.
The Galaxy Note7 was my favourite device last year, and I was ready to buy one when the entire thing went up in smoke (literally). Now, I’ve been considering the Galaxy Note8, because it’s the best phone Sammy has ever made. But with the Note FE, I might reconsider.
Getting my point?