Appropriately enough, the refurbished version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is expected to be launched on July 7th. After months of speculation and jokes, the Galaxy Note 7 FE has finally had its abbreviation confirmed via a promotional poster now on display in South Korea.
At first, it was expected to be dubbed Galaxy Note 7R, and the device even showed up on a benchmark with that title. Then, a report came out saying the refurbished edition would launch as the Galaxy Note FE, with FE said to stand for ‘Fandom Edition’. Well, it turns out that report was almost a hundred percent accurate, only the F in FE will stand for Fan instead of Fandom.
The Galaxy Note 7 was recalled twice last year after units started exploding. An investigation conducted by Samsung blamed the batteries for the problem, which is why the cells used in the refurbished version of the unit have a reduced capacity of 3200mAh, compared to the 3500mAh batteries that powered the original model.
Samsung has, as expected, recovered perfectly well from the global recall of the Galaxy Note 7 last year, and now has much more stringent safety testing procedures in place. The choice to counter the massive expense – both financial and environmental – of disposing of millions of Note 7s by retrofitting a smaller battery and re-issuing the ill-fated device is contentious to say the least.
Should a single Galaxy Note FE have battery issues, it will go public in an instant and resurrect the whole specter of last year’s fiasco, producing far worse PR returns than the company will make financially by reselling refurbed devices. But, if no such incident should occur, the company stands to reap the rewards of the near-mythical status of the Note 7 as a rock star taken before its time.
With the Galaxy Note 8 launch less than two months away, this should not in any way be understood as a real product launch, but more like a Sunday garage sale to try to make a few (billion) pennies off some leftovers. Heartbroken fans of the Note 7 will have their second chance at owning one, while first-timers will have access to a discounted Galaxy Note experience (hold-out Note 7 owners might even be able to flash Note FE firmware on their phones).
But the discount might not be all that significant, with recent rumors pegging the price at around $650-$700, even if the device is not intended to be sold in North America. That price, which is not far off the Note 7’s original retail price, is far too steep to make a refurbished – and perceptually tainted – flagship from last year fly off shelves. Would you want to pay $700 for a phone that will likely get you grief every time you pull it out in public? Sure it’ll have the same specs as the Note 7, barring the battery, but is that really worth $700 anymore?
Historically, the previous Note has been discounted heavily in the build up to the new Note launch anyway, so a $700 price is utterly unreasonable, both for what the Galaxy Note FE is and for what normal Notes typically sell for at this time in its product life cycle. The Galaxy Note FE will need to be priced much lower than that, likely sub-$500, if it is to make all the refurb work worth it. If it’s any more than that, the half a million Fan Editions may well just sit on shelves while real Note fans wait out the Note 8 launch in August.
Let us know your thoughts: do you think Samsung should have left well enough alone, or would you still be interested in picking up a refurbed Note 7? At what price?