We’re quickly approaching July 7 – the expected launch date of the refurbished Samsung Galaxy Note 7, or the Galaxy FE as the handset is reportedly called. Industry sources have again reaffirmed the date and have suggested that the price tag might be a little lower than previous rumors, falling somewhere just under the 700,000 KRW ($616 USD) mark.
So far, it only sounds like the phone will go on sale in South Korea. However, I’d be surprised if we didn’t see import/export sellers ship the device out around the world, availability permitting. So the big question is, should you think about buying one?
Despite the rebanding, it’s going to be almost impossible to shake fears that the Galaxy FE might spontaneously combust too. We’d be very surprised if Samsung hasn’t done a considerable amount of work to ensure that issues don’t crop up again, otherwise the company would be facing an absolute PR nightmare.
The Galaxy FE is likely to feature a smaller battery, but other than that it's specs are still pretty much top-notch. The biggest unknown is exactly how much the phone will cost, but around $600 seems likely.
Furthermore, the handset is reported to come with a slightly smaller battery size, possibly down to 3,200 from 3,500 mAh, which will avoid the cell compression problem. The downside here, of course, is that this means less battery life, which isn’t ideal if you’re a power user and that’s exactly the sort of customer the Note series aims to please.
There’s also the age of the hardware to consider too. The Note 7 will be around 10 months old by the time it reappears as the FE, and in that time 2017’s flagship devices have surpassed the Note 7’s performance. That being said, the Exynos 8890 is still a solid performer, and the phone’s QHD AMOLED panel, 12 megapixel rear camera, 4 GB RAM / 64 GB flash memory combination, and IP68 water resistance rating, among other features, are still very competitive.
To further sweeten the deal, the Galaxy Note FE doesn’t look like it’s going to be dated on the software front when it hits store shelves either. The device is reportedly packing in Samsung’s latest software updates and will also come sporting Bixby on board.
All of that being said, we’re not that far away from the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 now, and those eager for a top tier phablet might want to hold off just a little longer. Rumored specs not only include a more powerful processing and memory package, but also a new dual camera setup with “optical zoom” capabilities and a slimmer bezel-less design.
Ultimately your purchasing decision will likely come down to pricing and import costs. We’ve seen reported prices range from as low as $425 up to around $620 at the highest. It looks like we’re probably going to see the handset retail for around the $600 mark, which isn’t really bargain territory when you consider that brand new phones from last year, like the Galaxy S7, and this generation, such as the OnePlus 5, can be grabbed for less. A sub-$500 price point would put the model on my radar, but added import costs will still likely make this a tough sell for those outside of South Korea.
When it comes to importing the phone, the lack of an official Samsung warranty is also certainly something to consider. Especially as the handset has already been refurbished for a fault, it’s definitely worth thinking about the costs you might incur if something else were to go wrong, even if it’s unlikely. Personally, I’m not sure I’d want to risk it when the Note 8 and LG’s V30 are now so close.
Are you contemplating picking up the Galaxy FE, or is a refurbished Note 7 simply not worth the hassle at this point?