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Samsung’s Note 7 Fan Edition is a less explosive phablet

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Back in March, we reported that Samsung was considering the possibility of refurbishing the big pile of returned Note 7s it was sitting on. On the surface, that seems like a mad idea: given how much bad PR the flammable phablet generated for the company, many thought the best thing to do would be to shove them under the carpet, feigning ignorance when anyone tripped on a particularly lumpy section of rug.

But two things have pushed Samsung into reviving the Note 7. The first is financial: Samsung lost around £2.5 billion on the Note 7 recall, and giving it a second life would be a great way to get some of that money back. The second is environmental: disposing of 2.5 million handsets is tough to do in a green way – and back to the finance point again, doing so in a cavalier way would attract huge fines, as well as yet more bad PR. So no matter how much Samsung might like the problem to go away, it just won’t.

Which is how we arrived at today’s news: 400,000 Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Fan Editions will go on sale this Friday. I’d question the wisdom of the name, given a fan is typically designed to cool things down, and the Note 7 was infamous for getting a little too hot, but I’m not in marketing, so what do I know? The handset will only be for sale in South Korea – at least to begin with – where it will cost 699,600 won, which is around £470, or $600.

The phone will adopt the Galaxy S8’s interface (Bixby included), and will come with a slightly smaller battery – 3,200mAh rather than the 3,500mAh of the original, presumably in order to calm the fans that the Fan Edition is aimed at. Samsung emphasises that this new battery has multiple safety features and benefits from the company’s eight-point safety test.

Otherwise it’s business as usual: Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and Android Nougat. It will come in four colours: black, blue, gold and silver.

Samsung is still deciding which overseas markets – if any – to sell the Note 7 Fan Edition in, but if it does reach the UK, it will still make for a quality handset in 2017. We gave the original a hefty endorsement when we reviewed our unit – but then, it didn’t do its exploding-battery party trick on our watch, which would likely have docked it some points.

In any case, we’re hoping for a UK release date. Otherwise, we’ll be left waiting for the Note 8.

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