Forget the Galaxy Note 7 and buy an iPhone 7 Plus

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Galaxy Note 7
R.I.P., Galaxy Note 7.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Still thinking about making the Galaxy Note 7 your next smartphone? Forget about it.

I gave Samsung’s latest flagship a glowing review last month. But amid reports that supposedly “safe” replacement devices are overheating and exploding, there’s no good reason to buy a Galaxy Note 7 anymore.

Do yourself a favor and get the iPhone 7 Plus instead.

I’m one of those strange people with a fondness for both Apple and Samsung, and I regularly use Android devices alongside my iPhone. I ordered a Note 7 as soon as they were available in the United Kingdom, and I swapped it for another model when the original got recalled.

I stand by almost everything I wrote in my review, but I retract the last line: “Hold onto your cash until the Note 7 goes on sale again and get one.”

Samsung blew it with Galaxy Note 7 recall

Samsung had its chance to save the Note 7 — and its own reputation — when it announced the recall in early September. I defended the South Korean company in a recent Friday Night Fight on Cult of Mac because Samsung did the right thing. I was adamant this terrible situation could be turned around.

But Samsung blew it.

Over the past week or so, more reports have revealed that even replacement Note 7 units — which supposedly have safe batteries — are overheating and exploding. There are videos that corroborate the claims, and at least one person has ended up in the hospital.

What’s really worrying is that some of these devices are overheating completely spontaneously — without being connected to a charger. That means even if you’re super-careful and watch your Note 7 like a hawk while it charges, there’s still a chance it’ll blow up later in your pocket.

Samsung moves slowly on Galaxy Note 7 recall

Even more worrisome is that — instead of admitting there’s a problem and fixing it as quickly as possible, like it did first time around — Samsung seems to be trying to keep the latest incidents under wraps while consumers continue to buy the Note 7 wherever it’s available.

The Verge reports that after learning a “safe” Note 7 owned by Michael Klering of Nicholasville, Kentucky, caught fire at night, filling his bedroom with smoke, the company asked for the device to be returned for an investigation.

That was almost a week ago. More replacement Note 7 handsets have exploded since then — one on an airplane and one in the hands of a 13-year-old girl — and Samsung still hasn’t issued a statement warning customers that new Note 7 units may also be unfit for use.

Klering refused to send his Note 7 back, and later received a text from a Samsung representative that was clearly meant for someone else. It read, “I can try and slow him down if we think it will matter, or we just let him do what he keeps threatening to do and see if he does it.”

It’s thought Klering was threatening to tell his story to the press, which he did.

No sign of second Galaxy Note 7 recall

Samsung still insists that customer safety is its “highest priority.” According to today’s reports, the company has halted production of the device. However, there’s no sign of a second mass recall just yet.

That lack of a recall doesn’t mean you should buy a Note 7. It doesn’t matter how wonderful the device is until it explodes; this isn’t a risk you should be taking with a smartphone. There is clearly a significant issue here that Samsung has been unable to fix. And it’s scary.

A number of major U.S. carriers, including AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, have already ceased Note 7 sales, or are at least considering the move. Most will swap your Note 7 for another device (that won’t explode).

Sadly, that’s not the case in all markets. In the United Kingdom, Carphone Warehouse, where I purchased my Note 7, says it hasn’t received any information about a second recall from Samsung, and it won’t replace or refund new Note 7 units until that happens.

Instead of being stuck with a Note 7 that may be recalled again — or worse, may explode — simply avoid it. Sure, it’s a great device, but there are so many other great smartphones out there that are completely safe and won’t have you rushing to the ER with burns or lung damage.

iPhone 7 Plus is the best phablet

I recommend going for the iPhone 7 Plus instead. With the Note 7 all but dead now, Apple’s latest handset is the best phablet money can buy.

It’s water-resistant, and it packs impressive stereo speakers, a stellar camera and Apple’s insane A10 Fusion chip.

I’ve already reviewed the 4.7-inch iPhone 7, and I love it. The iPhone 7 Plus is the same, just bigger and better.