Samsung embraces its inner environmentalist with Note 7 refurb plans

Samsung has confirmed it plans to sell refurbished versions of its Note 7 handset.

The 2.5 million devices will be fitted with new components that will eliminate the risk of battery overheating that caused a global recall and a widespread flight ban in late 2016.

Rather than an effort to recoup some of the lost cash, Samsung says the decision is geared towards lessening the environmental impact of the recall, given the precious, finite elements used to create the Note 7 in the first place.

It also plans to recover camera modules, chips and the rare metals like copper, nickel, gold and silver from the Note 7 phones it won’t refurbish.

That in particular has pleased environmental campaigners at Greenpeace, who’d pressured Samsung to do something with the phones besides place them all in a landfill.

However, Greenpeace said the firm must now deliver on the promises and go public about how it intends to stop this ever happening again.

Greenpeace East Asia campaigner Jude Lee said (via BBC): “While we welcome this news, Samsung must share as soon as possible more detailed timelines on when it will implement its promises, as well as how it intends to change its production system to make sure this never happens again.”

Samsung says it will consult local authorities and carriers in order to find the best markets for the refurbished phones, but it appears unlikely they’ll reappear in the US or the UK.

Instead, Samsung is likely to target emerging markets, which means some users in developing nations might be able to nab what, in theory and in practice in our early review, was one of the best smartphones ever made for a fraction of the price.

“Regarding the Galaxy Note 7 devices as refurbished phones or rental phones, applicability is dependent upon consultations with regulatory authorities and carriers as well as due consideration of local demand,” Samsung said in a statement.

The company said the phones could launch with a different name in territories where it is re-released.

We’re not sure whether Samsung reminding everyone about the Note 7 catastrophe two days before it reveals its most important phone of 2017 is a smart strategy. How about you?


Is this decision a much-needed PR win for Samsung ahead of the Galaxy S8 launch this week? Or does the firm risk more embarrassment? Share your thoughts below.