Some people are refusing to turn in their Samsung Note 7 phones

Some customers ignore Samsung Note 7 recall
Some customers ignore Samsung Note 7 recall

It's by now well known that Samsung's Note 7 phone could pose a safety risk — but that doesn't mean everyone going to obey Samsung's recall.

Though Samsung is pushing for a 100 percent response rate to its recall of Note 7, it could be a victim of its own successful phone, which has a unique combination of features unlike anything on the market. While most users are flocking to replace their phones, a small hardcore group says they'll keep them.

To be sure, in its original recall, Samsung said it got more than 60 percent of its phones back by September 27, indicating that holdouts will likely be in the minority. Still, holdouts have been vocal about keeping the phone, despite reports that they can overheat, catch fire and explode.

"The problem is there is no other phone that I like," Jo Hyang-won, a 32-year-old office worker in South Korea, told Reuters. Mashable entertainment editor Josh Dickey takes an "over my dead body" stance to giving up his Note 7, writing that "owning this supposed ticking time bomb is still statistically less dangerous than the act of getting in your car."

Romesh Wijewardena told CNBC last week that he doesn't plan on returning his anytime soon, even with the recalls and warnings.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge smartphone
Daniel Leal Olivas | AFP | Getty Images

"I'm loving it," he said. "So far, I haven't had any problems with it ... I'm going to keep it. If I have a problem, then I'm going to think about it, and if not, I'm going to keep it."

Picking out a replacement phone does pose a serious challenge, one that requires consumers to sacrifice either features, like iris-scanning, or specs, like processing or display.

Note 7 users are likely accustomed to a larger-screen phone, since the Note screen runs 5.7 inches. That leaves consumers with either an older Note device, or an LG V20.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 lacks the Note 7's wraparound edges, and has an older processor. The LG V20 has similar specs to the Note 7, with the same processor ram and storage space. But that phone makes several concessions, industry blogs write, including lower water resistance, an LCD display that doesn't wrap around the edges and of course the Note's signature stylus.

The OnePlus 3 also offers similar specs at a lower price than Samsung's phones but is smaller in size.

For users looking for best-in-class performance, there are three obvious options: Samsung's Galaxy S7 Edge, the iPhone 7 Plus and Pixel XL phone, all at just 5.5 inches.

Unfortunately for Samsung customers, those aren't easy to get a hold of amid high demand.

The Pixel XL is listed as out of stock at the Google Store, and doesn't ship until October 20 from Best Buy. Though some lucky customers might score next-day pickup, the iPhone 7 Plus has a 3 to 4 week shipping time directly from Apple, and many colors were listed as unavailable for store pickup at multiple locations across the country.

Several varieties of Samsung's Galaxy S7 Edge are also on back-order on its website.

For those who can't go phone-less for weeks, they may opt to keep their Note 7 despite the risk of an overheating battery, try for a temporary replacement or be forced to downgrade to a smaller, less advanced model.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a serious warning for those who decide to hang on to their phones, urging them to take advantage of refunds and replacements and not to hang on to the phone.

But with so many recalls out there, it can numb consumers to the true consequences of recall warnings, a phenomenon called "recall fatigue," researchers have told USA Today during past recalls.

Forty percent of consumers think that the foods they purchase are less likely to be recalled than those purchased by others, appearing to believe that food recalls just don't apply to them, Rutgers' Food Policy Institute found in a 2009 study. Car manufacturers, too, have struggled to convince consumers to bring in their recalled cars, even in highly publicized recalls.

Indeed, one owner of two recalled Ford vehicles sounded all too similar to a Note 7 owner, when interviewed by The Guardian: "It's not going to happen to me — that's my attitude."

Patty Davis, deputy director at the CPSC, said that the Samsung Note 7 recall is simply too serious to be ignored, because it could put lives at risk. She referred CNBC to Samsung, who did not respond to a request for comment.

"It's too serious of a recall to ignore it," said Davis. " People really need to take it seriously. We don't believe in recall fatigue. There are certainly a lot of recalls announced, but each and every one is important to respond. You don't know when or where the phone could overheat."

— Reporting by CNBC's Antonio José Vielma