If you have a Samsung Galaxy Note 7, you need to stop using it now. Back up all your data to Google and Samsung accounts, factory reset the phone, and return your phone to where you purchased it for a full refund or exchange. There’s no new unit coming. The Note 7 is done.
But now what? It’s not like you can work without a phone.
It’s a slightly awkward time to switch out the Note 7 because two of our top potential choices aren’t on the market yet. LG’s V20 is another big Android phone, this one with a removable battery. It’s coming out on Oct. 28, and we expect to have a full review around that date. Google’s Pixel reportedly lands on Oct. 20, and we expect to have a full review of that one around that date, too. Both phones definitely look like they could be worth waiting for.
That said, you probably can’t go wrong with one of these choices this week:
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge $789.99 at T-Mobile
The absolute closest thing to a Note 7 out there—minus the spontaneous combustion—is the Galaxy S7 Edge. It’s made by the same people and has many of the same components—same processor, same modem, same cameras. The screen is only slightly smaller. We’ve loved it for months. All you really lose is the S Pen.
Apple iPhone 7 Plus$769.99 at T-Mobile
Is it time to go to the other side? Depends on how much you have invested in Android. The 7 Plus has a lower screen resolution than the Note 7, but looks like it has great cameras, a terrific array of apps, and a CPU that just can’t be beaten.
LG V10$430.00 at Amazon
LG’s V20 is about to hit the market, but if you can’t wait (or you can negotiate a swap), LG V devices are the leading large phones with removable batteries. That can really contribute to peace of mind if you’re scared of batteries now. The V10 is still an excellent phone, with a big quad-HD screen and dual selfie cameras (a year before Apple decided to add dual cameras). Mostly what you’re losing by not waiting is that the V10 packs last year’s processor and lacks the V20’s high-end audio hardware.
Moto Z Force Droid$720.00 at Verizon Wireless
If you’re a Verizon user, the Force is a real treat. Unlike the Note 7, the Force has a nearly unbreakable screen, eliminating one major worry about your phone. It also has a terrific processor and can be expanded with magnetic accessories including a larger battery, projector, and high-quality zoom camera.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5$504.97 at Amazon
There is no other phone on the market with the Samsung Galaxy Note line’s stylus capabilities. While some LG phones sell with a stylus, they’re essentially red herrings. The styli are standard capacitive units that can work with any smartphone. Only the Galaxy Note line has had the S Pen’s pressure-sensitive technology.
So if you’re addicted to the S Pen and don’t want to mess around with a third-party Bluetooth stylus like the Adonit Snap, that leaves you with the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. This is last year’s phone, and it hasn’t had the habit of exploding. Compared to the Galaxy Note 7, you’re left with a smaller battery, no MicroSD card slot and no waterproofing on a slightly larger phone. But if the S Pen is your killer app, this is what you go with.
ZTE Axon 7$483.39 at Amazon
If you want to save some dough, the ZTE Axon 7 is an Editors’ Choice for providing nearly Galaxy S7-like performance at a price $250 less than Samsung charges for the Galaxy S7. The Axon 7 has a 5.5-inch screen, all metal body, MicroSD card slot and Snapdragon 820 processor, and it’ll let you save a good chunk of your Note 7 refund for cases, accessories, and service fees.