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Does the Samsung Galaxy S III have a heat-damage problem?

A woman holds her new Samsung Galaxy S III after it was launched at Westfield in London in this file photo taken May 29, 2012. (OLIVIA HARRIS/REUTERS)

As the Galaxy S III hits shelves in U.S. stores Thursday, a report has surfaced that may give consumers pause about the safety of Samsung’s latest smartphone.

On a Web forum called, a Dublin-based user said he had recently experienced a major problem with the device. (The phone has been available overseas since May 29.)

While driving in his car, the user wrote that “suddenly a white flame, sparks and a bang came out of the phone.”

He provided photos of the phone after the incident, in which a corner of the gadget appears to have been damaged by fire.

Given that this is just one user’s experience, it’s highly possible that it’s an isolated incident caused by a single faulty device or other circumstances.

Still, Samsung acknowledged the report in a blog post Thursday, saying, “There have been recent online posts displaying pictures of a Samsung GALAXY SIII that appears to have heat-related damage at the bottom of the device. Samsung is aware of this issue and will begin investigating as soon as we receive the specific product in question.”

Reviews of the Galaxy S III have been largely positive so far. The Post’s Hayley Tsukayama called it “a worthy contender” to the iPhone and said that customers looking to buy an Android-based phone should make it “a top consideration.”

Samsung’s phone stands out thanks to its relatively large screen, 8 megapixel rear-facing camera, and its sleekness (it’s lighter and thinner than the iPhone 4S.) It also has a feature called S-Voice, an answer to Apple’s voice-activated personal assistant, Siri.

It’s not the first time this year that a gadget’s propensity for overheating has been questioned. In March, there was a brief dustup over the safety of Apple’s new iPad because it rose to higher temperatures during use than did previous iterations of the tablet.

Consumer Reports quickly squelched those concerns when it said it didn’t believe the higher surface temperature presented a risk.

More technology news:

More games on the way for Windows Phone 8

Surface vs. iPad: How do they compare?

Samsung, LG bank on wafer-thin TVs

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economic news.
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