Why it matters to you
The Galaxy S7 was among the best selling phones of 2016. Consumers need to be aware of any potential issues.
Dozens of Samsung Galaxy S7 owners have reported shattered camera lenses on their phones without any actual impact occurring, potentially indicating a weird flaw in the device. But Samsung tells Digital Trends that the incidents are few and far between, and the company stands behind the quality of the very popular smartphone.
As for why the weird incident is happening, nobody knows — and a law firm says it is investigating the issue.
Consumerist reported on one such incident on December 28, but a search on Google returns several results as far back as March (see here and here), shortly after the device launched. Samsung’s own user forums have several posts from affected customers as well. The result in most cases is the same, according to user reports: The company claims that the lens can only break under physical stress, and charges the customer for the repair, a $70 fix.
“We stand behind the quality of the millions of Samsung phones in the U.S. The reported incidents are extremely rare and isolated among the very large number of devices currently in the market,” a spokesman told Digital Trends. “That said, Samsung takes customer satisfaction seriously. We encourage anyone with any product question to contact us directly at 1-800-SAMSUNG.”
That may not be good enough for Seattle-based law firm Keller Rohrbach, which said in December 2016 that it was investigating complaints of the issue happening across the S7, S7 Edge, and S7 Active devices, but stopped short of saying it planned to sue. A statement asked affected users to contact the firm to discuss “potential legal claims.”
“Despite receiving numerous customer complaints about this apparent defect, Samsung has consistently denied any responsibility, instead blaming its customers and refusing to repair or refund the devices even while still under warranty,” the company wrote on its website. Digital Trends has reached out to the firm for an update on its investigation.
A legal case may have some merit, if the company were refusing legitimate warranty claims, as the law firm wrote. Worse yet, the lens has shattered again after the repair, according to some posted accounts. What’s causing this to happen still doesn’t have a clear explanation — it may be as simple as user negligence, or it may indicate a larger problem.
One possible explanation could be some kind of external stress on the glass. The glass typically breaks as if it was shot through by a bullet. While completely anecdotal, many of the breakage incidents occur while the phone is in a protective case.
Could the tight fit of the case be putting some type of additional stress on the chassis, which in turn is being transmitted to the glass (perhaps the glass is placed a bit too snug in the chassis itself)? Since we don’t have much to go on, it’s all speculation at this point.
Updated 4/12/2017 by Jeremy Kaplan: Added a statement from Samsung.