The Galaxy Note 7 did not turn out the way Samsung planned. The company’s engineers are still uncertain what went wrong (though the Samsung rumor mill has plenty to offer in the way of theories). But what is certain is that numerous reports of exploding batteries weren’t the plan. Neither was a massive recall, nor the reports of exploding batteries in replacements units. Also not a part of the plan was the ultimate abandonment of the phone that was supposed to be a big hit this holiday season among consumers looking for a high-end Android alternative to Apple’s brand-new iPhone 7.
It probably wasn’t a turn of events that you anticipated either, especially if you were planning to upgrade to a brand-new Samsung phablet in the coming months. Samsung’s wholesale abandonment of the device is, as the New York Times’ Brian X. Chen and Choe Sang-Hun put it, “highly unusual in the technology industry.” It’s also pretty unusual that a major iPhone competitor disappears from the market altogether, particularly when the extremely ambitious, feature-packed device earned praise from reviewers and had been used extensively by hundreds of beta testers in the months before its rollout.
If you already bought the Galaxy Note 7, you should follow Samsung’s instructions and return your phone immediately. But whether you find yourself in the market for a Galaxy Note 7 replacement, or simply a phone that has some of the Note 7’s best features without its liabilities, it’s back to the drawing board (and back to the extensive research that, for many people, precedes the purchase of an expensive device like a smartphone). We have some recommendations on which phones you can buy instead of the Galaxy Note 7. Read on to check out our favorites.
1. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
While Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge is smaller than the Note 7, it’s an obvious choice for Samsung fans and shoppers who just really liked the Note 7. Though the Galaxy S7 Edge doesn’t have the Note 7’s iris scanner and S Pen, it does have some of the other features you were likely excited to try in the Note 7, like the 12MP low-light camera and sharp screen resolution, plus Samsung’s overall design language. It’s also water-resistant and dust-resistant. The Galaxy S7 Edge is another 2016 release, and was Samsung’s best phone before it introduced the Note 7, which makes it an easy replacement choice.
2. OnePlus 3
You can turn the Galaxy Note 7 disaster into a good thing for your wallet by opting for a surprisingly budget-friendly alternative: the OnePlus 3. At only $399, it’s much cheaper than many of its premium competitors. But you wouldn’t know that using the device, which runs on a relatively stock version of Android and comes without the bloatware that most manufacturers add to their devices. Its 5.5-inch screen is slightly smaller than the Note 7’s, but it offers impressive specs (including 6GB of RAM) for such an affordable device.
3. Moto Z Force Droid
The Moto Z Force Droid offers a shatterproof screen, a large battery, and an impressive camera system. The phone also supports swappable modular accessories, called Moto Mods, which connect to the phone via magnets. The Moto Mods can boost the battery life of the phone, enable you to listen to music through a bigger speaker, or even let you use your phone as a mobile projector. If you want a phone that’s big, new, and exciting to experiment with, then this may be the right Galaxy Note 7 replacement for you.
4. Google Pixel XL
If what you’re really after is a device that’s exciting and new, you can’t get much better than Google’s new Pixel XL, a 5.5-inch phone that’s about as new as you can get. It’s a pure Google phone to the Nexus’s traditional pure Android approach, and it boasts a variety of exciting software features like the conversational and contextually aware Google Assistant. It also features top-of-the-line specs and what may be the best smartphone camera on the market. However, because it’s significantly newer than many 2016 releases, cautious consumers may want to wait for reviews to decide whether the device lives up to its promises.
5. LG V20
Another new phone worth considering as a replacement for the Note 7 is the LG V20. Like the Note 7, the V20 is a large phone with impressive specifications, and it promises to offer some of the same advantages in performance and camera quality. While it doesn’t have Note series features like the S Pen, it does have a few unique features of its own, like the thin Second Screen above the main display and a dual-camera system that includes a wide-angle lens. Plus, it’s the first non-Google phone to ship with Android 7.0 Nougat, which is a pretty exciting drawing card for most Android fans.
6. iPhone 7 Plus
If you’ve already decided that you don’t mind making the switch from Android to iOS, or if you’ve simply been craving a change in the software department, you may want to consider the iPhone 7 Plus. It’s the Note 7’s biggest competitor, with the impressively fast A10 Fusion chip, a long-lasting battery, and an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. Its display measures 5.5 inches to the Note 7’s 5.7 inches, which puts it in the right size range for people who were excited about the Note 7’s large form factor.