UPDATE: Samsung says that all of its test drive phones were claimed in "a few hours," but that it's working on making the Ultimate Test Drive available to more people. The company's full statement to Re/code:
“The response to our Ultimate Test Drive has been overwhelming and exceeded our expectations,” a Samsung representative told Re/code. “In just a few hours, all of the kits earmarked for this program were reserved by customers looking to try our latest and greatest devices. We’re now working quickly on how to make the Ultimate Test Drive available to even more people.”
ORIGINAL: Samsung’s recent announcement of the Galaxy Note 5 and S6 edge+ came ahead of their typical early September debut, a move that may have been motivated by a desire to give the phones more time in the spotlight before Apple’s new iPhone announcement. Now Samsung is also trying to get its new hardware into iPhone owners hands’ and convince them to switch to Galaxy before Apple shows off its new wares.
Samsung has launched an Ultimate Test Drive promotion aimed at getting iPhone users to become Galaxy users. The promo allows iPhone owners to try out a Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+, or Galaxy Note 5 for 30 days for just $1. All you have to do is visit SamsungPromotions.com from an iPhone web browser and you’ll be prompted to select a carrier, then a GS6 edge, S6 edge+, or Note 5.
As of this writing, it looks like many of the test drive units have already been claimed. For example, selecting the AT&T version of any of the three phones returns a message saying that “that device is not available right now.” I was able to get a Sprint Galaxy S6 edge+ or a Verizon Galaxy S6 edge, though, so it appears that the promo hasn’t been totally cleaned out yet.
Once you select a phone that’s available, you’ll give Samsung your contact info, including a credit card number. The company will charge you $1 for the test drive.
Of course, Samsung isn’t going to just loan out expensive phones without having some fine print in the deal. Failure to return the phone within 30 days — as well as a 5-day grace period — will result in you getting charged $720 or $820 for the full cost of the phone. Samsung will also charge you $100 if you return your device with major damage like a cracked screen, water damage, or major scratches.
This Ultimate Test Drive seems like a pretty smart promo for Samsung. The company can capitalize on the launch hype that’s surrounding the Note 5 and S6 edge+, and with many iPhone users likely getting ready to sell their phone in anticipation of Apple’s new handsets, some folks may sign up for this trial and end up buying a new Galaxy phone instead.