Samsung confirmed that some Note 4 units might feature a gap around their metal frame, though, supposedly, that’s not a defect manufacturing, as we first believed.
News about the issue emerged yesterday via Korean website ITToday. The Note 4 went on sale last week in South Korea, and some of the first buyers reported that their devices have a narrow gap between the plastic body and the metallic frame going around the edges. The gap is said to be big enough to stick a business card in it, and can appear on all sides of the phone, as these two pictures show.
It’s possible that this small gap won’t bother some users. But we can see how some customers could consider it a defect, especially because the gap could fill up with unsightly debris over time.
Here’s the twist: according to the Note 4 user manual, the gap isn’t a defect, it’s a feature. (ironically, the manual lists the gap in the Troubleshooting section):
A small gap appears around the outside of the device case
This gap is a necessary manufacturing feature and some minor rocking or vibration of parts may occur.
And, more worrying:
Over time, friction between parts may cause this gap to expand slightly.
It looks like Samsung has a potential problem on its hands. It’s too soon to start throwing #gapgate hashtags around, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some kind of backlash, especially after the Note 4 goes on sale worldwide, later in October.
The fact that the gap could cause “rocking or vibration” is especially disturbing.
If it’s worth anything, during my brief time with the Note 4 at IFA I didn’t see any issues with the phone’s construction. Obviously, production units could be different, and the fact that Samsung felt the need to mention the gap in the user guide suggests the issue could be widespread.
On a slightly related note, at least one user complained about the design of the Note 4’s metallic frame:
Does this gap issue turn you off from getting a Note 4?