No matter how good a deal you find on a new tech device, you should avoid off-brand or knockoff products, which have a greater potential for failure or injury. This isn’t to say that big-name devices are entirely safe, however.
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Do you trade in your old smartphone when purchasing a new one? It’s a common enough practice today, but you didn’t always have that option. If you have an old phone or two stored somewhere, you may want to check on that. They could be putting your property and safety at risk.
Samsung’s in hot water again
Remember the Samsung Galaxy Note 7? It launched in 2016 and was pulled from shelves just two months later. A battery defect caused short-circuiting, which led to overheating and fires. Samsung released software updates to limit battery charge and recalled faulty units to replace their batteries, but those also caught fire. Sheesh!
The events surrounding the Note 7 (it was banned from all flights by the FAA) made headlines, but apparently, it wasn’t an isolated incident.
YouTuber Arun Maini, who goes by the handle Mrwhosetheboss, has been collecting every Samsung flagship phone since 2010 and noticed a scary pattern. His phones were blowing up! Not literally exploding, but the batteries are swelling enough in some cases to cause the glass displays to crack and the case to split:
Arun initially discovered the problem with three phones: The Galaxy Note 8, S6 and S10. He notes that the phones had been powered down, had only been used for a few weeks and were stored in the same manner and environment as phones from other manufacturers. The iPhone, Asus and Google phones in his collection had no such problems.
He tweeted about the damaged phones and heard back from Samsung. The company sent a courier to pick up the phones for lab testing. Nearly two months later, Arun heard back from Samsung with the following statement:
“We are aware of this matter and are looking into further technical assessments. We encourage customers with questions regarding their Samsung device to contact their local Customer Service representative.”
Other Samsung phone owners tweeted about their phones swelling up. One messaged Arun, saying that every pre-Galaxy S20 phone they had going back to the S4 had expanded.
The list of affected phones from the video includes the following:
- Galaxy S6
- Galaxy S8
- Galaxy S10
- Galaxy S10 E
- Galaxy S10 5G
- Galaxy Note 8
- Galaxy Z Fold 2
- Galaxy S20FE
The newest phones on the list are just a couple of years old, so you can see this isn’t only affecting old devices.
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The problem goes beyond Samsung
Though many users, store employees and phone engineers report problems with Samsung phones, it doesn’t end there. While most cases of battery swelling involve Samsung phones, it seems to be affecting other Android phones.
PhoneArena performed an audit of swollen phones, and here’s what came up:
- OnePlus One
- Samsung Galaxy S6
- Samsung Galaxy S8
- Huawei P10 Lite
- Oppo R7
How to stay safe
A swollen battery is a serious issue that must not be taken lightly. It can lead to fires, injuries and property damage. There have been cases of people dying from exploding phone batteries.
Take a look at your old phones (or the one you’re currently using) and if you notice any swelling, here’s what you need to do:
- Don’t try to charge a swollen phone: Charging a swollen battery can trigger a fire or explosion.
- Remove the battery: If you have an older phone with an easily removable battery, carefully separate the battery from the case. If you have a newer phone, don’t attempt to remove the battery yourself.
- Bag it up: Put the swollen phone in a fireproof bag.
- Contact the manufacturer: If it’s an old device, you may not be able to exchange it or get anything for it, but you can at least arrange for it to be recycled or disposed of properly. The point is to get the thing out of your house!
Even if you don’t have a swollen phone, here is the proper way to put one away:
- Turn off the phone before storing it.
- Store the phone in a cool, moisture-free environment.
- Charge the phone to 50% if you plan on storing it for a long time.
- Charge the phone halfway every six months.
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