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Galaxy Note 4’s #GapGate problem is a ‘manufacturing feature’ (Updated)

Related: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review

Samsung may soon be embroiled in a production-related controversy all of its own, after mercilessly mocking rival Apple over the iPhone 6 Plus and #BendGate. According to reports from Korea, the Galaxy Note 4 may be suffering from quality control issues, where the phone’s large screen doesn’t quite meet the edge of the body. In some photographed cases, the gap is large enough to fit in two pieces of paper, or a business card.

Updated on 10-01-2014 by Andy Boxall: Proof that Samsung knows about the Note 4’s screen gap can be found in the device’s user manual.

Galaxy Note 4 Screen GapWhen news of the gap between screen and body first appeared in a report by ITToday, a Korean website, it was said Samsung was aware of the “gap phenomenon.” This has been confirmed in a slightly unusual way. Under the troubleshooting section of the Note 4’s user manual, the following advice appears:

“A small gap appears around the outside of the device. This gap is a necessary manufacturing feature and some minor rocking or vibration of parts may occur. Over time, friction between parts may cause this gap to expand slightly.”

The gap is meant to be there, then, according to Samsung. Exactly why it’s needed isn’t stated, but we could speculate that it may compensate for heat-related expansion in the new metal frame. Whatever the case, not all owners will be happy to accept the gap, particularly if it’s noticeable so soon after purchase. One Galaxy Note 4 owner, who discussed the problems on a Korean Web forum, said he had taken the device back to a Samsung service center for replacement. It’s not clear whether he was given a new phone.

The Galaxy Note 4 was announced during the Berlin IFA 2014 tech show in early September, and was originally scheduled for release sometime in October. However, Samsung pushed the release forward in certain regions, to ensure it could effectively combat the iPhone 6 Plus. The phone went on sale in Korea this week, and the limited, initial stock of around 30,000 phones has already been sold. A rushed release followed by talk of build quality problems isn’t a recipe for consumer confidence.

Related: How does the Galaxy Note 4 compare to the iPhone 6?

Only time will tell if this continues to frustrate Note 4 owners. Nonetheless, like the iPhone 6 Plus’ problems, that may not stop it becoming a larger public relations issue, should a few more affected phones slip through the cracks. Samsung is pushing the Galaxy Note 4 very hard, and has released a lengthy 4-minute promo video to bring even more attention to the massive device. You can check it out below, but be warned, it’s highly irritating.

In America, the Galaxy Note 4 will be available to buy on October 17, so let’s hope tales of these early problems don’t continue then.

We’ve contacted Samsung to get their comments on this story, and will update when we receive a response.