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5 Non-Exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Alternatives

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a big problem with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7: the new flagship phablet explodes. Samsung recalled all Note 7 phones and is currently replacing them. But if you can’t be without a phone, should you trust the Note 7 anyway? Don’t worry. There are plenty of Note 7 alternatives.

No, we aren’t suggesting the newly launched iPhone 7 Plus here. Someone who bought the Note 7 isn’t looking for an iOS or Windows Phone. You want the same 5.7-inch big-screen Android experience!

We set out to find some of the best Samsung Galaxy Note 7 alternatives. An ideal phone needs to:

  • Have a similar screen size and resolution.
  • Offer similar specifications.
  • Look good.
  • Be available for purchase soon.
  • Not explode.

Here’s what we found.

For Those Who Want a Stylus: Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (CA/UK) ($519)

You know what makes the Note unique? That S Pen stylus. No other smartphone comes with a dock or stylus except the Note series. Since the Galaxy Note 3 (our Note 3 review), the S Pen has made the most of the Note’s large screen. Samsung makes special apps for it, like S Note to turn scribbles into digital words or custom photo editing tools. And if you want that stylus, your best bet is to downgrade to the last Note, the Galaxy Note 5. Yes, the Note 7 provides longer battery life, a better processor, and water resistance. But the Note 5 is no slouch either, and you’ll be quite happy with it.

  • Screen — 5.7-inch IPS LCD (2560 x 1440 pixels) with Gorilla Glass 4
  • Processor — Exynos 7420 Octa
  • RAM — 4 GB
  • Storage — 32 GB / 64 GB / 128 GB (no microSD)
  • Camera — 16 megapixel, 4K video recording
  • Front camera — 5 megapixel
  • Connectivity — 4G, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, microUSB
  • Battery — 3,000 mAh
  • OS — Android 6.0 Marshmallow, TouchWiz UI

For Samsung Loyalists: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (CA/UK) ($611)

If you want the closest Samsung experience to the Note 7, then get the Galaxy S7 Edge. Our Android editor thinks it’s the best Android smartphone of the year. It offers almost identical specifications, except the screen is 5.5 inches instead of 5.7. It uses Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 820 chipset instead of Samsung’s own Exynos, but the performance should be just the same. It’s waterproof; it has that sexy curved glass on top; it checks all the right boxes. For Samsung loyalists, there is no other phone to think about.

  • Screen — 5.5-inch IPS LCD (2560 x 1440 pixels) with Gorilla Glass 4
  • Processor — Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
  • RAM — 4 GB
  • Storage — 32 GB / 64 GB (with microSD slot up to 256 GB)
  • Camera — 12 megapixels, 4K video recording
  • Front camera — 5 megapixel
  • Connectivity — 4G, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, microUSB
  • Battery — 3,600 mAh
  • OS — Android 6.0 Marshmallow, TouchWiz UI

The Pure Android Experience: Huawei Google Nexus 6P (CA/UK) ($500)

If you want an Android phone with a large screen, why not go with the pure Android experience of the Google-branded Nexus 6P? It’s a year old now, so the hardware isn’t today’s greatest, but it’s more than capable of holding its own against most flagships. The Snapdragon 810 is still a powerful processor, and it includes one of the better cameras around. On top of that, its dual front-facing speakers are outstanding. But everything is mainly about getting those features while knowing you get the latest Android updates first, including the new Android 7 Nougat. For more details, read our full Nexus 6P review.

  • Screen — 5.7-inch IPS LCD (2560 x 1440 pixels) with Gorilla Glass 4
  • Processor — Qualcomm Snapdragon 810
  • RAM — 3 GB
  • Storage — 32 GB / 64 GB (no microSD slot)
  • Camera — 12 megapixels, 4K video recording
  • Front camera — 8 megapixel
  • Connectivity — 4G, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, USB Type-C
  • Battery — 3,450 mAh
  • OS — Android 7.0 Nougat

The Budget Choice: LG V10 (CA/UK) ($360)

The LG V10 was the company’s flagship model last year. Its price dropped in expectation of the V20’s arrival. And now would be an excellent time to pick this up as a Note 7 alternative. It’s got a stainless steel body with shock protection from being dropped from 4 feet. A double layer of glass also stops it from cracking easily. LG has made a secondary “always-on” screen for notifications and quick access, which won’t drain the battery. And the V10 has one of the best smartphone cameras around, especially for video recording. Once you’re done shooting, that big screen is perfect to edit videos on Android. And yeah, it’ll be upgraded to Android 7 Nougat soon.

  • Screen — 5.7-inch IPS LCD (2560 x 1440 pixels) with Gorilla Glass 4
  • Processor — Qualcomm Snapdragon 808
  • RAM — 4 GB
  • Storage — 32 GB / 64 GB (with microSD slot up to 256 GB)
  • Camera — 16 megapixel, 4K video recording
  • Front camera — 5 megapixels
  • Connectivity — 4G, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, microUSB
  • Battery — 3,200 mAh
  • OS — Android 6 Marshmallow (Upgradable to 7.0 Nougat), LG UX 5.0

Photographer’s Delight: Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe ZS570KL (CA)($530)

Autofocus is the biggest issue with phones. The new Zenfone Deluxe 3 combines the three most important types of autofocus: laser, phase detection, and contrast detection. The result is a fast shutter without blurry photos. Asus has also done something with the Zenfone Deluxe 3 that even Apple couldn’t manage. This is the first phone to feature a full-metal body but come without any gaps or external antenna. It’s as premium as it gets. The handset doesn’t have a QHD screen and instead settles for Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels). But you get more memory with 6GB RAM.

The Zenfone 3 Deluxe made a brief appearance on Amazon and has since been removed from the store. The price was revealed in that glimpse to be $530. Yeah, it breaks our rule of “immediately available to purchase”, but the listing should be back soon and we’ll update the article accordingly.

  • Screen — 5.7-inch IPS LCD (1920 x 1080 pixels) with Gorilla Glass 4
  • Processor — Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
  • RAM — 6 GB
  • Storage — 32 GB / 64 GB (with microSD slot up to 256 GB)
  • Camera — 23 megapixels, 4K video recording
  • Front camera — 8 megapixels
  • Connectivity — 4G, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, USB Type-C
  • Battery — 3,000 mAh
  • OS — Android 6 Marshmallow (Upgradable to 7.0 Nougat), Zen UI 3.0

What to Look Forward To: LG V20 ($830)

The LG V20 matches the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 the closest. It’s the company’s new flagship, and it lives up to the hype. The specifications are top notch, as expected. But right now, LG has gone the extra mile by employing a shock-absorbent, metal-silicon body that can withstand four-foot drops — even on its corners. There’s also the secondary “always-on” screen. The V20 also boasts of one of the best cameras around, and a few tests show that it might be better than the iPhone 7 Plus. And yes, it’s preloaded with the new Android v7 Nougat.

Update: AT&T announced V20 preorders on October 7th, ahead of the October 28th launch day. The unlocked cost should hover around $830. Monthly lease-to-own contracts run $26.67 per month for 30 months or $34.59 for 24 months.

  • Screen — 5.7-inch IPS LCD (2560×1440 pixels) with Gorilla Glass 4
  • Processor — Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
  • RAM — 4 GB
  • Storage — 32 GB / 64 GB (with microSD slot up to 256 GB)
  • Camera — 16 megapixels, 4K video recording
  • Front camera — 5 megapixels
  • Connectivity — 4G, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, USB Type-C
  • Battery — 3,200 mAh
  • OS — Android 7.0 Nougat, LG UX 5.0

Do You Really Need Note 7 Alternatives?

After the exploding battery fiasco and the eventual worldwide recall, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has lost a lot of trust among users. That said, our search for Note 7 alternatives shows that the handset itself is still probably the best in its bracket. Apart from top-of-the-line hardware, you get water-resistance, the wonderful S-Pen stylus, and a range of other features.

So would you still buy a Samsung Galaxy Note 7? If not, why not? If yes, why do you still trust Samsung?

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