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Photos have surfaced on the Chinese forum Baidu, showing a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 charred nearly beyond recognition after it allegedly burst into flame while charging. The Chinese man who posted the images, known as “Mr. Ni 666666”, claimed that he was awoken one night by a “sudden bang” to discover his smartphone had “exploded” while plugged into an outlet. The photos show the aftermath of the incident in which nearly half of the handset and the clear plastic case covering it were blackened to a crisp.
In a statement to The Inquirer, a Samsung spokesperson announced that the company was investigating the matter and treating it seriously: “Samsung takes product quality and customer safety very seriously. We have been in contact with the customer and are conducting a full investigation into the product in question.”
This certainly isn’t the type of incendiary publicity that Samsung intended for its flagship smartphone, demand for which has been fast and furious. Were it to be revealed that a manufacturing defect causes the Galaxy Note 7 to combust while charging, consumers would have ample cause for concern and to shy away from it.
Thankfully, it appears that the episode may not have resulted from a fatal design flaw. The photos of the incident show that the man was likely using a black third-party microUSB charger rather than the standard white Samsung-issued hardware, which may have contributed to the eruption, BGR reports. However, Samsung is not completely off the hook yet. As The Inquirer reports, the USB-C adaptor inserted at the end of the burned phone resembles the ones issued by Samsung.
Phone manufacturers have long warned against using third-party cables, adaptors, and chargers, as cheaper versions of them lack the capacity to support newer phones that consume large amounts of power. While this issue is sorted out, smartphone users should remember to use the standard charging equipment provided by the original manufacturers.