Julie’s gadget diary – Now that the Note 7 is toast, which smartphone is the next best choice?

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After almost two months of spontaneously combusting drama, it’s official. Samsung has finally stuck a fork in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 and it’s been declared dead. My guess is that we’ll never see another new Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone model because that name just has too much negativity attached to it.

So, what do you do if you own a Note 7? Well, after you return that defective phone of course. Do you wait for Samsung to release another large screen flagship smartphone or do you take your refund money and go with another brand altogether? If so, which one?

As I write this, there are only a few Android smartphones on the market or soon to be on the market that are at the level of the Note 7 when it comes to screen size, battery capacity, etc. There’s the Motorola Moto Z, the Google Pixel XL, and the LG V20, with the Moto Z as the only Android smartphone that you can get your hands on today. Google’s Pixel XL is out of stock and LG’s V20 won’t be released until the end of the month.

There’s also the option of not only jumping brands, but operating systems, with the iPhone 7 Plus. I tried switching from Android to iOS last month when I bought the iPhone 7. The effort didn’t stick for me though and I ended up returning the phone.  Dave Rees is currently doing that same experiment and from that he’s been telling me so far, he’s happy and fully committed to making the switch.

What would I do if I were in the situation that Note 7 owners are currently in? Although I really liked the Motorola Moto Z when I reviewed it, I’d choose the Google Pixel XL if I wanted to stick with an Android based phone and I’d go with the iPhone 7 Plus if operating systems didn’t matter to me.

Unfortunately, my smartphone’s mobile OS does matter to me (for now) and that’s why I’m currently waiting for my Pixel XL to ship. I wish I preferred iOS to Android because I think the experience with an iPhone is better in a lot of ways compared to Android phones. iPhones get more accessories, more apps and faster updates.

It will be interesting to see how 3rd quarter sales of Motorola, LG, Google and Apple phones will be impacted by Samsung’s misfortune. I think the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 train wreck is going to be a huge gift to Apple.

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19 thoughts on “Julie’s gadget diary – Now that the Note 7 is toast, which smartphone is the next best choice?”

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  2. My Pixel XL (and Pixel for my wife) are on order – November 23 can’t come fast enough. I’m hoping to read some real reviews instead of the ones you see at the table of a launch event…

        1. I’ve had mine since last Friday. You’ll really like it unless you’re upgrading from a Nexus 6P because it’s not hugely different although it’s noticeably faster and the camera is VERY nice. That said, I keep going back and forth about keeping it. I have until 11/5 to send it back.

  3. Well, I still love my Galaxy S7 Edge, which has almost everything the Note 7 did except for the stylus and exploding battery. I just hope that the Note 7 disaster doesn’t permanently damage the Samsung phone brand as a whole.

  4. I am awaiting the LG v20 release. It looks like the most flexible large screen phone though no stylus. I like the replaceable battery (they do wear out before the phone wears out), micro-SD slot and great audio. I can hold out for the 10 days in order to decide. I am also looking at the Nougat ROMs that I can get for my Nexus 5. I may go that route for a while until the Samsung dust really settles.

  5. I was never a big fan of Sammy’s UI but the phablet’s pen is something I’m disappointed other manufacturers haven’t picked up on. For me, I’m going the Nexus/Pixel route assuming you have good things to say about your Pixel XL experience.

  6. Hey Julie,

    Have you tried various models of stylus with large screen phones? Can you achieve similar functionality to the Note 7 though without the storage slot?

    1. There is no stylus that I’ve tried that comes close to the Note styluses. There’s no comparison. Any of the active styluses like the ones from Adonit or Stilo approach the same feel, but on a scale of 1 to 10 with the Note stylus being the best at 10, the active styluses are only about a 6.5 – 7 in my opinion.

  7. The Note 7 (IMHO) is the best phone ever made. I go back as far as the Startac fpr mobile phones and my father had a radio handset in his convertible back in the 60’s.

    If wasn’t for the pending, crippling update and Oculus withdrawing the VR support, I’d keep it. As such, I’m going to wait for the V20. I had the V10 at the end of last year and liked it ( I JOD to the S7 Edge because it was just so damn sexy).

    I’m very interested in the on board DAC and may seek out an appropriate, wired, over ear, closed back, head phone to pair it with. Does anybody know what impedance it supports yet?

  8. I gifted my Note 2 with a custom ROM to a family member that is still happily using it and I agree, the Note stylus was without compare.

    I’m sticking with my Nexus 6 until someone releases a phone that has a 6 inch or larger screen and ticks off my other boxes (water-resistant, Qi, front facing stereo speakers). However, I’m starting to despair that the new maximum screen size seems to be 5.7 inches.

  9. Why did this lithium battery prove so lethal and not others? Why couldn’t they change out to a battery that had a successful track record?

    For me, there is no point in looking beyond the latest iPhone. I want to interact with my Mac and iPad. I frequently use all three at the same time.


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