Gear VR Users Beware: The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Might Explode [UPDATE]

by David Jagneaux • September 1st, 2016

UPDATE (9/1/16 @ 6pm PST): Samsung is issuing a full worldwide recall of the Galaxy Note 7 due to the issues, according to Yonhap News Agency. According to the report this issue only effects 0.1% of the phones in the wild, but was extensive enough to warrant a full recall. We will update this post with further information as needed. 

Imagine the situation: you’re using your Gear VR — otherwise known as a wondrous portal to another world — and having a great time. Maybe you’re knee-deep in the creepy catacombs of Dreadhalls, or you’re in the middle of a dogfight in Anshar Wars 2 with your buddy on the other side of the world. You might even be hanging out with friends in Oculus Social, watching videos, just enjoying your life.

When all of a sudden your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 catches fire and explodes in your face. The plastic shatters on the Gear VR headset, leaking battery acid into your eyeballs, and burning the skin from your face. It’s terrifying to think about, right? Unfortunately, something like that isn’t completely outside the realm of possibility it seems.

According to Gizmodo and Reuters, the reports have started coming in that some phones are indeed exploding and Samsung is thankfully listening. This week, Samsung declared that shipments were being delayed for additional quality testing, but many phones have already shipped in some countries, including the U.S.

Based on incident reports, it sounds like the exploding scenario is most likely occurring while the phones have been charging and could have to do with the USB-C port itself, or an offbrand cord, on some devices. While most people don’t charge their phones while using the Gear VR — at least I’d assume not, it’d defeat the point of wireless mobile VR — battery packs do exist that are designed to prolong the life of your phone while using the headset.

Regardless of whether you have a new Note 7, or an older phone, or any piece of electronics really, it should be noted that using officially provided charging cables and accessories is always the safest bet. While the majority of people using a Note 7 may not be VR enthusiasts, a large number may use the device with a Gear VR headset — especially since they pair together quite nicely — so users should beware.

Until Samsung issues an official statement on the topic of exploding phones, or possibly a recall of some kind, you might be advised to keep your Note 7 away from your face, at least for a little while.

Featured Image: KKJ.CN via Gizmodo

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  • Erik

    Scary stuff. I feel safe and satisfied using my Vive. I had a crappy gear vr knock off that went straight to the dumpster the day my vive arrived.

  • This does not sound good……Samsung should respond fast to this because if this is a common problem….lawsuits will come fast I am afraid. The engineers of the premium Apple iPhone are laughing hard now probably…..

    • Worldwide recall has been issued – we updated the story!

    • Andre Gonzales Robinson

      Read the entire article. It clearly said that Samsung ordered a recall. Apple has their own problem to deal with in 14 billion euros owed to Ireland for back taxes.

      • Frank

        Meanwhile, according to some estimates, the Note 7 recall alone should cost Samsung a minimum of $500 Million, not counting the collateral damage to reputation and lost sales opportunities. Of course, some people will claim to have been injured or to have suffered material damage because of the defect. The legal costs to defend against those claims alone could easily match the cost of the recall.

        On the other hand, whatever taxes Apple pays to Ireland based on the EU ruling will be deductible from any taxes payable to the United States should Apple decide to repatriate some of its offshore money, so the real loser in this is the United States, not Apple. However, it appears unlikely that the ruling will stand upon appeal.

        • Andre Gonzales Robinson

          And originally my point was that Samsung had already ordered their recall, when the previous commenter missed that point, which was the reason for the article update. But thanks for the long winded reply, that again missed that Samsung was on top of the problem,and Apple has issues of their own. Hence, if they feel the need to fight the eu’s decision thenot it must be a big deal to them. Trust me apple is not laughing at Samsung. Again read the whole article, and all replies. But again thanks.

          • Frank

            Just giving some perspective. Nobody’s laughing.

            Had Samsung been on top of the problem, the exploding batteries would never have reached the consumer in the first place.

            Unfortunately for Samsung, they rushed out a mediocre product (slow, easily scratched screen, defective batteries, old OS) in order to get it out ahead of the next iPhone cycle.

          • Samsung (in my opinion) lost a lot of it’s credibility anyway since they promised to keep batteries in the Galaxy series replaceable. That was a lie after all. Last year they got rid of the memory card. They also promised to keep it in their Galaxy phones. The reason it’s back this year is because they got loads of complaints. And it’s all true, Samsung wants to copy iPhone too much. Like they feel they can’t compete with the iPhone (if you can’t beat Apple iPhone, join them and basically copy main features….if we copy the leader (i.e. Apple) then everything will be alright. They forget that people choose Samsung because it’s not an Apple. They would get an apple if they wanted since the prices are almost the same anyway now.

          • There is an ongoing battle between flagship phones between Apple and Samsung. In a matter of fact I think they laugh hard at Samsung (not because of the laughing but because of the competitive relation between the two). I have been invited to the Samsung Unpacked event in Barcelona last year and they infact make lots of jokes about Apple (you really think Apple is not doing the same towards Samsung?). It’s all a game anyway since Samsung delivers heaps of components for Apple anyway. They have so much money (both Apple and Samsung) they just don’t give a shit about money if that has to be paid. They are probably insured for this anyway. The real fear is getting a bad name because you didn’t deliver service, that’s a different story because that might eventually get you a drop in sales because of just a battery. I am sure customers can look behind that.

  • Orangestar

    “This completely ruins using Gear VR!”
    It also, uh, kinda ruins using a phone as a phone. You know, to talk in it. Because you hold it up to your face.

  • jimrp

    I’m waiting for my 4k S8 next year for my Gear VR. I have the 7. Shit happens. New phone.