Editorial: The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is an example of the Media gone wrong

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 saga continues. Honestly it’s really freaking annoying to read about it on every freaking website. Heck, people who don’t even know tech have been bombarded with so much information on the Note 7 that it’s now become a household topic.

Major worldwide publications are picking up on unverified stories of three more Note 7 smartphones catching fire, that were supposedly replacement devices. Even while writing this story and checking sources, I found a fourth reported story at The Verge. Then you have one of the largest Android-focused sites who first called the Note 7 the “Biggest and the Best” three days before it was officially released to the public.

When Samsung released its official recall of the Note 7 almost a month later, said outlet went on record to “Stand by their review.” And then just hours ago, as the third unverified story of the Note 7 catching fire went public, with carriers offering exchanges without Samsung’s go ahead, this particular outlet went on to rescind its recommendation of the Note 7 altogether. Further, it even went on to call out Samsung for not doing enough to say, “sorry“.

The story still is unfinished. The site continues on with the Samsung bashing and is telling it to kill the Note line altogether. Who died and left these guys in charge?

If we’re going to sit here and armchair quarterback how things should play out,

Maybe it should come out and offer its own apology for writing a full review and recommendation on a device that wasn’t even released yet.

And then it should review its policy on full phone reviews, to put the consumer first, and not their clicks which lead to increased revenue.

Why is that so bad?

A major media, and those who are similar who rush out reviews to maximize clicks, are doing the general public a massive disservice. Granted, they had no idea that there would be a design or manufacturing flaw that would lead to an official recall, but publishing a full review before the phone is even released is down right irresponsible. So while the outlet sits atop its perch and throws rocks at Samsung, it needs to look in the mirror. So do all of the other tech websites who rush out reviews solely for maximizing clicks and bringing in revenue.

I may generally be new to writing with only two years under my belt, but there needs to be more accountability in the press. Tech reviewers in large part do not have to buy their smartphones. They’re generally given them for review, and when the next release comes out they switch to that phone leaving the last one in the dust. That’s what we do, but it doesn’t have to come at the expense of your wallet.

Outside of early adopters who will buy the latest and greatest no matter the review, the vast majority of consumers stick with their phones for two years or longer. You don’t have the luxury of swapping out phones whenever you feel like it, which means you need to make the most educated decision possible. That’s why you turn to tech sites for full reviews because we are the “experts” who should know what is actually the best.

Full phone reviews with only a week, two weeks, or even less hands on time that lead to full recommendations are asinine and need to stop.

Beyond the Note 7 smartphones that combust, most sites missed on the fact that Samsung is terrible at updates. Again, most early adopters already know this fact, and will probably troll me by saying, “duh, what a stupid comment.” The reality is most people do not understand updates, and the lack of them which causes poor performance and security vulnerabilities.

Not only that, Samsung devices are about as unfriendly to the consumer as it gets. The phones are extremely high priced, and have the highest cost associated with them when you need to fix them. They cost almost three times as much as Apple to replace a broken glass display, and they don’t even have stores where you can get them fixed.

Long term ownership of Samsung devices is terrible these days. That’s why major sites need to give more time to their reviews.

Samsung doesn’t deserve to be put on trial by the media only

As of right now, there are four unverified reports of the Note 7 smartphones catching fire, combusting, exploding, or whatever you want to call it. You’ve got The Verge, AndroidCentral, AndroidAuthority, and other major tech sites reporting on every single incident. The third story of the man in Kentucky was probably the most crazy of them all where the man claimed a representative from Samsung texted him and said,

“Just now got this. I can try and slow him down if we think it will matter, or we just let him do what he keeps threatening to do and see if he does it”

This information has yet to be validated with actual proof. Until it is backed with actual proof that a Samsung representative sent this message, you need to understand that the story may not be real. Of course it could be real too, and whoever sent it should probably go to jail if someone gets seriously injured from a Note 7.

The real problem is the media writing up these stories without full information and then judging Samsung based on unverified stories. This style of clickbait only confuses readers and causes hysteria that is overblown.

I’m not defending Samsung, and if you look at my track record, I’m one of the very few writers who is highly critical of Samsung. I gave a no holds barred review of the S7 edge and have been holding off on my full Note 7 review because I simply don’t know what to make of the entire story. I also have several other posts which call out Samsung for not updating its devices, charging too much, abandoning its most loyal fans and so on. I was even one of the few who took the time to point out the major things Samsung got all wrong with the Note 7.

Remember, the first incidents of the Note 7 took place within two weeks of the official release, and I typically give a minimum of a full month to give a full review. That’s why I’ve held off for so long. We give first impressions of major devices when they are released, followed up by full reviews later. I called out major sites in the past like AndroidCentral, and even got called out for it by the then Editor in Chief, Phil Nickinson. He then went on to defend their phone review policy, only to be bitten in the ass by the Note 7 review that went published before the phone was officially released.

If major tech sites waited just two weeks to publish their reviews, millions of customers may have saved themselves a whole lot of headaches with the recall fiasco.

Let Samsung investigate these latest incidents before you make hasty judgments. Use common sense. It’s okay to be afraid and return your Note 7, but statistically there’s far more danger in many other products you use on a daily basis. Even the food you eat comes with a risk of killing you. There are major recalls on food that happen on a regular basis that don’t get nearly this much attention. Even Chipotle, who got plenty of its customers sick is still serving millions of people across the country. E. Coli has been known to actually kill people, yet customers use their common sense when it comes to food and still continue to eat Chipotle burritos.

Three or four incidents may not tell the whole story, but keep a clear head when clicking on bait from people who can’t make up their minds.

Whatever the actual reason is, Samsung did not want this event to happen. It spends billions of dollars on R&D and it made a mistake. You can presume to think Samsung rushed it, but very few companies get it right 100% of the time.

There are only two certainties in life, taxes and death. Nothing else is guaranteed.

A little about me

Before you troll me, know that I don’t get paid by Apple, Samsung, or even AndroidGuys for that matter. I love to write for AndroidGuys and Scott Webster because he promotes honestly, clarity and education. We don’t get things right all of the time, but we also take pride in doing things the right way. We may be doing ourselves a disservice by not going after clicks and major ad revenue, but we sleep with our heads held high knowing we give our full commitment to bringing you the best that we can.

For the record, I get paid by a biotech company in San Diego to be a medicinal chemist. I write because I find it fun and I love to offer a different perspective on the tech landscape.

Samsung Fanboy Opinion: Samsung needs to get its act together

  • QwertyJuan

    Well said.

  • just1box

    I agree with what you said 100%. The issue at this point is…trying to ignore the fear mongering and general FUD, if a customer decides “hey my phone is fine” but your carrier decided to drop the device from it’s shelves, you effectively purchased a CURRENT flagship what will NEVER receive an OS update since the carrier wouldn’t be testing anything for a phone it doesn’t technically stock. So if you were to keep this near $1,000 mistake, you have to be fine with a device that is essentially abandoned development wise. That might be fine for a $200 or MAYBE even a $400 but certainly NOT a device that is a breath away from a grand.

    • aergern

      Did you read this whole oped or just skim and roll up yours?

      If Samsung decides not to put the Note 7 back into production and doesn’t have independent verification on the test and everything else associated with this phone then at least in the U.S. the Consumer Protection Agency will make them take back and refund everyone. They may even require carriers to blacklist the EMEI so they won’t work. On top of this Samsung would have a class action lawsuit the size of which would make most folks head spin. etc .. etc. As much press as this has had .. they can’t run and they can’t hide.

  • aergern

    All I have to say after 6 weeks of the other sites doing the ” Be afraid, be very afraid.” is ..

    Thank you.