After the halt to global sales and a discontinuation of manufacturing, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has finally come to the end of the road. While flagships from other OEMs don’t offer the S Pen and unique edge display features that set the Note 7 apart, there are a few other Android flagships that are definitely worth looking at if you’re in the market for a super sized handset this year. Without any further delay, here are the best Galaxy Note 7 alternatives.
Perhaps the most logical starting place to find an alternative to the Note 7 is to look within Samsung’s other flagships. The Galaxy S7 Edge boasts a 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED curved display that is just a smidgen smaller than the Note 7’s 5.7-inch panel. Regional variants are powered by the same Exynos 8890 processor or the similarly performing Snapdragon 820, there’s still 4GB of RAM, and impressive 12-megapixel rear camera on board.
The most logical place to look for a Note 7 alternative is with the Galaxy S7 Edge
The Note 7 and S7 edge share virtually identical hardware, right down to the wireless charging capabilities, the fingerprint scanner, and IP68 water resistance. The edge has even received software updates to include some of the Note 7’s helpful UI features. The only trade-off is the lack of the S Pen and the handy note taking features, and the iris scanner. But if that isn’t a deal breaker, the S7 edge is as close to the Note 7 as you can get.
The Galaxy Note 7 is certainly a feature packed smartphone, and perhaps the closest rival in terms of unique innovations is the LG V20. The V20 is a tad larger than the Note 7 and certainly won’t feel the same in the hand without that curved display and glass back.
The LG V20 is a great phone for power users
However, the LG V20 packs in the same sized 5.7-inch QHD LCD display, with a secondary 2.1-inch screen on the top that can display notification information and messages. Photography enthusiasts will find a huge range of competitive shooting options with the V20, thanks to its manual camera mode and dual 16MP / 8MP rear camera combination. For the audio buffs, the V20 boasts a dedicated ES9218 DAC for a top-notch listening experience that goes above and beyond most other flagships.
As for build quality, the V20 doesn’t come with a glass finish or water resistance, but it does boast military-grade shock absorbency and a removable battery. You’ll also get to play with Android 7.0 Nougat and the latest OS features right out of the box, while the Note 7 and other Samsung phones going to be on Marshmallow for a little while longer.
Speaking of the latest features from Google, you can’t get any newer than the Pixel range. The Pixel XL matches the Note 7 for power, with the latest Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB RAM, and up to 128GB of storage, although some customers might miss the lack of a microSD card slot. The 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED display should offer similarly vibrant colors and detail to Samsung’s industry leading display technology as well.
The Pixel XL will receive updates first, straight from Google
When it comes to photography, the Pixel XL performs just slightly better than the already impressive Galaxy Note 7, having topped DxOMark’s benchmark of tests. Fast charging, a fingerprint scanner, and the metal body certainly make the Pixel series feel as premium as any other flagship on the market right now too.
Unfortunately, the Pixel XL has gone quite as all in with the extras as Samsung’s unfortunate flagship. There’s only an IP53 rating rather than IP68 for water resistance, and no wireless charging, S Pen, or iris scanner. Although, the promise of quick Android updates, Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box, and the use of the new Google Assistant gives the Pixel XL a few notable features of its own.
If you require your smartphone to do that little bit more than the average, then the modular nature of the Moto Z Force certainly makes it a stand out choice. While the Galaxy Note 7 was perfecting an existing formula, the Moto Z Force leaps into a new world of possibilities. The Moto Z’s snap on modules are also notably easier to use than the LG G5‘s attachable “Friends”.
While the Galaxy Note 7 was perfecting an existing formula, the Moto Z Force leaps into a new world of possibilities
So far, Motorola has unveiled a range of Style Shells for those who like to keep their look fresh, a JBL Soundboost Speaker for music lovers, and the offGRID Power Pack for heavy users that require extra battery life. There’s also the insta-share Projector for showing off pictures and movies.
As for the standard specifications, you’ll find a compatible level of performance thanks to the Snapdragon 820, 4GB RAM combination. The 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED display will also come close to the Note 7’s viewing performance, and there’s fast charging, a fingerprint scanner, and USB Type-C port included too. Just watch out for that lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack.
If all the talk about combusting handsets has put you off spending a chunk of cash on a smartphone, you might want to look at the ZTE Axon 7. The handset is currently on sale in the US for around $480, yet it still features a 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED display, high performance Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB RAM, and 64GB of internal storage.
Furthermore, the Axon 7 comes with a dedicated DAC for high quality audio playback, Quick Charge 3.0 support, a fingerprint scanner, USB Type-C port, and a microSD card slot. OK, so there’s no S Pen or water resistance, and the camera might not be the very best, but there are a lot of features on offer here for a phone that costs just 55 percent of the Note 7.
Side note: the Huawei Mate 8 was also on my list of lower cost alternatives, depending on regional availability. Customers would have to accept a lower 1080p display resolution, which isn’t quite up to par with the other phones in this list, but it might still be worth a look.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
If you’re really craving a true Galaxy Note experience then there’s always the option of picking up last year’s Note 5. The Galaxy Note 5’s Exynos 7420 may be a little older and the software experience won’t feel quite as responsive as today’s flagships, but the phone is certainly no slouch when it comes to performance.
Outside of the processing package, there’s still an impressive looking QHD AMOLED display, 4GB of RAM, and an excellent 16-megapixel rear camera with OIS on offer here, which keeps up with many of today’s flagships. However, customers will have to accept the lack of a microSD card, probably a long wait for Android Nougat, and no IP water resistance rating as trade-offs for the benefits offered by a phone with a stylus.
The Galaxy Note 5 is still a very serviceable flagship smartphone and you might even be able to pick it up at a discounted price, if you act before everyone else catches on to this article. Unfortunately, the phone was never officially launched in Europe, so it’s not going to be an option for everybody.