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The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (or should that be Nope 7) is upon us. The new phablet with stylus from Samsung is a high-end device – it's a beauty – so why haven't you ordered one already? Oh, right, because it costs more than an all-inclusive holiday. As it lies out of reach for many of us, we've collected together our favorite, cheaper alternatives.

Firstly, the Note 7 appeals to many for one simple reason: its stylus. If this is what you're after, then there really is little in the way of alternatives. Also, none of the devices we have collected here offer an iris scanner or the advanced software features that Samsung has built into the TouchWiz version specifically designed for the Note 7. However, if you're in the market for a powerful phablet, then you're in luck, because Android has plenty to offer. So without further ado, here are our picks.

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy Note7 event 5181
Lots of Notes here, but you don't need any of them (unless you want a stylus). / © AndroidPIT

OnePlus 3: a powerhouse performance

The OnePlus 3 blew us away from the off. This device costs only $399, half the price of the Note 7. For that money, you get a 5.5-inch display (0.2 inches smaller than the Note 7) and an even more powerful handset. With the Snapdragon 820 and 6 GB of RAM, it is not only better on paper, but it in practice, too. It's currently the fastest Android smartphone in the world. It also feature USB Type-C, getting you a fast charge and quicker data transfer.

The downsides are that the display simply cannot match the Super AMOLED on offer from Samsung. Indeed, no one in the smartphone world can beat that. Sadly, there is also no support for microSD cards with the OnePlus 3, but the 64 GB of internal storage should be sufficient, nonetheless. Then there is the camera: the Note 7, as with all high-end Samsung devices, has a superlative camera. When you're buying budget, this is certainly an area you can expect to suffer losses, and the OnePlus 3's camera simply can't compare with the Note 7's.

AndroidPIT OnePlus3 soft gold 6523
OnePlus is now all grown up, and it's a beautiful thing. / © AndroidPIT
Lowest price: OnePlus 3

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3: budget at a cost

The ultra-budget option comes from the Redmi Note 3, which is aligned in name if not in number with the Note 7. This device goes for around $150 (and that figure is soon to fall further, with the Note 4 around the corner). 

As with the OnePlus 3, we have here a 5.5-inch screen, which, for the money, is surprisingly strong. While there is no iris scanner, there is a fingerprint scanner, a true rarity on a device of this price.

Again, the biggest weakness here, especially when comparing this to the Galaxy Note 7, is the camera. Not all that surprising for a device in this price range, but the camera here is poor. This is a device to avoid if you're a keen taker of smartphone pics.

When it comes to the specs sheet, the Redmi Note 3 falls in line with the Nexus 5X, that is to say, far below the OnePlus 3 and the Galaxy Note 7.

If you're interested in this as an alternative, then, given the low launch price of this line of devices, it might be worth waiting for the Redmi Note 4, which is coming very, very soon.

AndroidPIT xiaomi redmi note 3 0079
A fingerprint scanner makes a surprise appearance on this $150 device. / © AndroidPIT
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3
Mi Store

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge: the supreme

Following the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge in our offices, I wrote that the device had killed the Note line. This upset many, but I stand by it. Unless you really, really want a stylus, I see no reason to choose the Note 7 over the S7 Edge. The Edge is cheaper, has only a slightly (0.2 inches) smaller display, which actually means you get a higher ppi on the S7 Edge (if you're into that).

In terms of performance, the two devices share the exact same hardware, and early comparisons have even put the S7 Edge ahead of the Note 7. The camera setups are also identical. And the S7 Edge has a larger battery (!). They both have curved displays.

In conclusion: can you live without a stylus? If the answer is "yes, I will survive without", then you'd be a fool not to choose the S7 Edge over the Note 7, a fool.

AndroidPIT Samsung galaxy s7 edge 13
The best phone in the world? Quite possibly. / © AndroidPIT
Lowest price: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Huawei Mate 8: an extra .3-inches

When 5.7 inches just doesn't cut it, then you need to consider the Huawei Mate 8. This 6-inch phablet is enormous. It uses an IPS display, which, while not as richly saturated as the Super AMOLED of the Note 7, performs admirably, despite also not having as higher resolution as the Samsung phablet.

The Kirin 950 processor was, for a brief moment, the fastest chip on the market. Today, it lags behind the Exynos 8890 and Snapdragon 820, but it remains up to scratch for the intensive multitasking the Mate 8's 6-inch display calls for.

The main seller for the Mate 8, besides it size, is its battery. This thing is a long-distance runner. A walloping 4,000-mAh juicer resides inside this beast, lasting a day and a half without even breaking a sweat. We bow before this battery, and it laughs in the face of the Note 7's paltry 3,500 mAh.

AndroidPIT huawei mate 8 screen new
The Mate 8 is a blessing for anyone who feels let down by 5.7 inches. / © AndroidPIT
Amazon price for Huawei Mate 8

Samsung Galaxy Note 5: aging gracefully

That's right: just because there was not a Note 6, it does not mean there were no Notes at all prior to the Note 7. The Galaxy Note 5 is the forebear of the Note 7. It is loved by many, and rightly so. It's a wonderful device, powerful and sublime. It marked the moment that Samsung redefined the Note series. Yes, the removable battery went bye-bye, but so much more came in its place. The build quality, design, camera and display are still world-class, even today. 

The crown may have passed on, but plenty of regal magic clings to the Note 5.

With the release of the Note 7, now is the perfect time to pick up a Note 5, which has not seen a significant price drop since its release. Get ready to see those numbers fall now, though.

You might miss out on the microSD card support, but you save money, you barely lose out on camera quality (as you do with all the rest of the devices on this list – significantly so), and you get to hold in your hand an Android classic, a star, an icon, a phablet worthy of that fabulous 'ph'.

You will not be disappointed.

AndroidPIT Galaxy Note 5 Android 6 0 Marshmallow 1
The beautiful Note 5, which runs Marshmallow, just like the Note 7! / © AndroidPIT
Lowest price: Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Got any more devices you'd consider over the Note 7? Let us know down there in those comments.


Write new comment:
  • Ok, someone has to say it because NO ONE HAS. The reason we all love the Note series is the STYLUS! There are no equivalent replacements. The people who keep writing that the Edge S.7 and all the rest off these phones are smoking angel dust. The point is, literally, THE FREAKIN PEN. What don't you reviewers see? Are you in a dark closet with one bar on your phone? I've had Note phablets since the Note 3. We are loyal to a fault, and Samsung has let us down. Not one review on how Samsung should be offering the phone to us for half price instead of the piddly $25.00 they are offering as an compensation of the 'inconvenience' of not having a phone, having communications with business partners with losing thousands of dollars in lost revenue. And, BTW, it takes 2 months to get the $25.00. Apparently, the checks are being sent via a Korean fishing boat, and not a motor powered one, no, this boat has sails on it maity. But again, no mention of the 2 month wait for the lousy, insulting $25.00. No mention in any review about that. But that's the state of the media nowadays. No balls. There is no replacement, no equivalent for the Note 7. Apple, as smart as everyone thinks they are, year after year miss the opportunity to make a phone that would sell like crazy, and of course it will be widely accepted and Apple people will believe they invented the phone with the stylus. Just like Apple heads laughed when Samsung made the larger screen phones, as soon as Apple came out with large screen phones, suddenly it was a great idea and it was like they were the ones who came up with the idea. Un-friken-believable.

    OK, I tell it like it is, if you don't like the truth, then buy one of these ridiculous alternatives mentioned in this article and cast a vote for the Dong.

    LIke the Porsche slogan goes, "There is No Substitute."

  • Now that I have my note7 back in my hands and tweaking and making it miness the way I want to be it's so so beautiful and yes their is nothing I mean nothing tht is out there tht that is better than this note7 by far !

  • Buy any other phone that has a stylus..oh, wait....

  • Please there's nothing out there except the note7 so wht a battery defect it's still the only one out there by far !

  • Emad 1 month ago Link to comment

    i have Note 5 and S7 edge , I'm planning to buy Note 7 after fixing this issue.

    • Just keep your Note 5 why bother with 7 at all?

      • It's better///

      • Because of the IP68 water resistance for phone and S Pen, the slimmer, bezelless profile, the tougher Gorilla Glass 5, the 1050 cd/m² screen brightness, the faster processor and 3D graphics, the inclusion of the Vulkan API, the ability to transfer files via SD card and expand internal storage to 320GB (it actually comes with 320GB since you get a free 256GB SD card with it). Then of course, there is the excellent f/1.7 camera, which is far superior to the Note 5's. The oh-so-very-convenient USB Type C connector. The improved S Pen. The 17% higher capacity battery. The iris scanner, which works just great in the rain, unlike the Note 5's fingerprint scanner. The list goes on. I kept my Note 4 because with my 128GB SD card, the Note 5 would have been a *downgrade* for me. But the excellent Note 7 just had too much to pass up. Why bother with an old, outdated Note 5 when you can get a Note 7?

      • RMDC 1 week ago Link to comment

        The gorilla glass 5 on the Note 7 is not strong. After receiving my replacement note, at a football game it fell off of my knee while sitting and the glass cracked all the way around. Cost me $200 for insurance replacement only to find out they are catching fire again. Samsung lost me for good on this one.

  • I agree the Note 5 is the perfect phone. But im using it now to type this. ALSO have a S7 Edge!

    • If u had the note7 right now u would not even need s7 or the 5 or a iPhone. Note7 are all those and more rap into one package !

  • Brian S 1 month ago Link to comment

    The Moto Z Force literally has the EXACT same processor, battery and RAM as the Note 7 and nearly the same screen. All it lacks is the S-Pen and exploding battery. And has better performance across the board, aside from the camera. It warrants a mention.

    • How's Samsung Pay working on it? Dropped it in any water lately?

      • mjg 1 month ago Link to comment

        I think you're the first person I've actually seen that seems to think SamsungPay is a benefit. As to water resistance, that's certainly nice but I tend to try to avoid dropping devices in water even if they can take it. So far, it's never been an issue for me.

      • G C. 1 month ago Link to comment

        I've been using Samsung Pay for about year now and would hate to be without it. It is convenient and more secure than swiping a credit card.

      • It's a breeze use it when i can where ever I can

    • Nothing even comes close to matching the Note 7's AMOLED screen. Read the DisplayMATE test results. The Moto Z Force screen is far inferior. It's also not water resistant, lacks the iris scanner, doesn't have SD card capability, doesn't have as good a camera, doesn't have the S Pen or equivalent, is a larger phone with a smaller screen, doesn't have the Edge features, doesn't have the convenience of USB C, doesn't have wireless charging (fast or otherwise), etc. The Moto Z Force is just an inferior phone all around. Note that Samsung Pay works anywhere. It does not require NFC, nor any special software support by the vendor. It works just fine with any card reader. Good luck finding *any* local merchants who accept Android Pay. lol

  • in reality there is no alternate for note 7......but we human have a bad habbit of finding alternate in everything.

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