The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fiasco was an unfortunate one: the latest Note device was one of the best Android smartphones money can buy. Alas, it was not meant to be. However, if you’re still in the market to fill the void of what could have been Samsung’s best device yet, here are five alternatives to the Galaxy Note 7.
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
If you’re looking for the closest possible alternative to the Galaxy Note 7, the Galaxy S7 edge is by far the best option. The S7 edge shares a few winning qualities with the Note 7: a dual-curved display (albeit with slightly more pronounced curves), the same Samsung Exynos 8890 processor and impressive 12MP dual-pixel camera, IP68 rating, as well as a similar glass and metal construction.
On top of that, if you’re a fan of TouchWiz on the Note 7, you should be right at home with the S7 edge; the latter also has a slightly bigger 3,600mAh battery than the Note 7’s 3,500mAh cell, which should translate to better battery life.
Of course, there are a few key differences between the Galaxy Note 7 and the S7 edge. The S7 edge does not have the very useful – and much improved – S Pen of the Note 7, there’s no iris scanner on the S7 edge, and it also has a slightly smaller display (5.5-inch vs. the 5.7-inch display), not to mention half the storage size at 32GB.
However, it’s worth noting that while the Galaxy S7 edge’s official retail price remains at RM3,099, the market price for it has dropped considerably over the months: it can now be purchased for as low as RM2,499. That’s a huge discount from when it was launched in Malaysia back in March. Given the few differences between the two devices, the S7 edge is an excellent alternative.
Google Pixel XL
While not officially available in Malaysia yet (it hasn’t even started shipping worldwide), Google’s brand new Pixel XL is another great alternative to the Note 7. The Pixel XL has a more modern Snapdragon 821 processor, supposedly better camera performance (if we were to go by DxOMark’s rating), as well as the purest Android experience on a smartphone. Let’s not forget the fact that the latest versions of Android will always be available on the Pixel smartphones first as well.
But, there are a few hardware aspects that the Pixel XL lack behind the Note 7; some by quite a margin as well. For one (and it’s an important feature for many consumers), the Pixel XL does not have expandable storage. On top of that, the Pixel XL is also not water-resistant, unlike the Note 7. Other neat hardware like the iris scanner, S Pen, and the dual-curved display of the Note 7 are also missing from the Pixel XL.
iPhone 7 Plus
If the Galaxy Note 7 is the best Android device to date, then it’s worth considering the other side of the coin as well: the iPhone 7 Plus. Yes, it’s not an Android device, but the iPhone 7 Plus is Apple’s best offering yet: it’s packed with the Cupertino company’s very impressive A10 Fusion chip, a new dual-camera system, as well as an IP67 rating for water and dust resistance.
Then again, as it has always been the case, the Galaxy Note 7 has the edge in the hardware department in comparison to the iPhone 7 Plus. It has a bigger – and sharper – 5.7-inch 2560 x 1440 Super AMOLED display, an iris scanner, expandable storage, more RAM, and of course, the useful S Pen.
On the other hand, the iPhone 7 Plus has its own strengths as well. It has a pressure-sensitive display, a set of very loud stereo speakers, and on top of that, iOS’ optimisation is arguably better than Android’s. Of course, some folks may not like Apple’s closed ecosystem, which many view as a huge downside in comparison to Android devices.
Although it’s not a direct competitor to the Galaxy Note 7 in terms of retail price, the OnePlus 3 is arguably one of the best Android devices in the market right now due to its sheer value for money. It has a capable Snapdragon 820 processor, even more RAM than the Note 7 at 6GB, a more lightweight software experience in the form of OxygenOS, and the Dash Charge feature of the OnePlus 3 is one of the fastest – if not the fastest – fast charging technologies we have ever seen.
Naturally, those who are moving to the OnePlus 3 from the Galaxy Note 7 will have to sacrifice a great number of useful features. In comparison to the Note 7, the OnePlus 3 has a less capable camera, a lower resolution display, as well as the lack of an iris scanner and S Pen.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
If you cannot live without the S Pen, then the Galaxy Note 5 is a great alternative. Of course, as it is last year’s flagship, it lacks quite a bit in the hardware department: it features a slower Exynos 7420 processor, there’s no form of water resistance or expandable storage, and the camera – while still very capable – isn’t as good as the Note 7’s dual-pixel shooter.
On the flip side, the Galaxy Note 5 is also more affordable than its successor, which is a given. Originally retailing at RM2,699, some online retailers are selling the Note 5 for RM2,370; that’s the price before any form of discount voucher has been applied as well. Plus, we’ve seen it go as low as RM2,000 during the recent #MYCYBERSALE 2016 promotions.
Suffice to say, there is no perfect replacement to the Samsung Galaxy Note 7: this was, in our opinion, the best Android smartphone we’ve ever seen. That being said, the Note 7 is now history, and if you’re in the market for a premium smartphone right now, the alternatives listed here are some of the best around.