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7 gadgets that needed more testing time

It’s not just the Samsung Galaxy Fold that could have done with a bit more time in the oven.

While Samsung’s bendy handset faces an uncertain future after a number of review models broke less than 48 hours into their testing process, tech not behaving as expected is far from a problem that’s unique to Samsung.

Here are seven products where a little more testing time could have made a whole world of difference.

Related: Best smartphones

The Xbox 360’s Red Ring of Death

It seems like a lifetime ago as the current console generation comes into its swansong, but the Xbox 360 was hit by all kinds of problems despite being pretty successful between launching in 2005 and the 2013 arrival of the Xbox One. It was subject to a WatchDog investigation into its disk scratching in 2009, but most people will remember it for the dreaded Red Ring of Death – a problem associated with overheating that eventually led to Microsoft tripling the length of warranty for impacted consoles.

HP’s dangerously hot laptop batteries

It’s never a good sign when you can point to the above headline and say “which time?” HP has had to recall potentially dangerous laptop batteries on two separate occasions. The first was in 2011 when 70,000 of them were recalled. Last year, HP users will have got a huge sense of deja vu when the company recalled batteries from 15 laptops after one owner was left with first-degree burns.

EE’s free gift badly backfires

EE had a similar battery backfire in 2015 when the EE Power Bar – a portable charger for smartphones and tablets – received multiple reports of overheating. Eventually the battery pack was discontinued and all returned units would get the owner a £20 voucher – a painful gesture for EE, given that the Power Bars were handed out to customers free of charge to begin with.

Google’s April Fools Day prank backfires

It’s not just hardware that can have issues. Back in 2016, Google’s April Fools day prank – which would send a mic-dropping minion GIF and mute email chains when you’d had enough – was being sent out by mistake with serious consequences for people who used their Gmail accounts professionally. Google ended up apologising and pulling the joke feature.  No wonder Microsoft decided to ban April Fools Day pranks this year, really.

Windows 10 update starts deleting files

This one is definitely still fresh in the memory, given it was the October 2018 update which caused the problems. Microsoft was forced to pause the roll out of Windows 10 version 1809 after multiple reports of it deleting users’ files – 220GB amassed over 23 years for one unamused user. Ouch.  

The iPhone 6 Plus and Bendgate

Apple has always strived for thinner and thinner products, and it seems it went a bit too far with the iPhone 6 Plus when multiple users reported the phone would bend just by being carried around in pockets. For a while, there were fears that history was repeating itself with the 2018 iPad Pro, but Apple maintains that this is just a natural effect of the way the tablet is manufactured.

The Galaxy Note 7: Samsung’s flammable phablet

We started with Samsung, and we’ll end with Samsung. The Galaxy Note 7 was such a PR disaster for the South Korean tech giants that many speculated it’d have to retire the Note name after a number of exploding batteries forced a worldwide recall back in 2016.

Related: Best Android phones

The Note 8 and 9 proved excellent controversy-free handsets though, and the Note 10 looks set to continue the trend this year. Is that a good omen for the Galaxy Fold? That really depends on how things progress over the next few days…  

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