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Phones

Return the Galaxy Note 7 and get one of these 9 phones instead

The Galaxy Note 7 is no longer for sale, and existing owners are urged to trade theirs in for different model. Here are CNET's top suggestions for alternatives.

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Got a Samsung Galaxy Note 7? You should power it down immediately, and return it to the cellular carrier or retailer from which you purchased it. There, you should be able to exchange it for a new phone -- one that's not the Galaxy Note 7, which Samsung is no longer manufacturing and retailers and carriers are no longer selling. (Read: How to return your Note 7.)

For stylus lovers, no other new phone out there does exactly what the Note 7 could in terms of writing, drawing, annotating and navigating around with its digital S Pen. (But if a stylus is a must-have, check out 2015's Galaxy Note 5, below.) However, if you gravitate toward the Note 7 because of its beautiful, curved-screen design and spacious 5.7-inch screen, there are plenty of other large-screen, high-end handsets that might strike your fancy.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is the Note 7 without the stylus.

James Martin/CNET

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

This is the most similar to the Note 7, since it's essentially a Note 7 without the stylus. The S7 Edge has a beautiful, 5.5-inch dual-curved screen, extra shortcut software on the Edge display, a water-resistant coating and wireless charging. Plus, the 12-megapixel camera takes great shots. (And, to our knowledge, there have been no complaints about battery or safety issues with this model which -- along with the standard Galaxy S7 -- has sold in the millions.)

LG V20

LG's new top-end phone for 2016 will be available for sale on October 28 in the US. We haven't reviewed it yet -- we're waiting for the final hardware -- but the V20 impresses us so far with its dual-camera setup and built-in hardware and software that go the extra mile to boost the audio, video and photo experience. The 5.7-inch display and mostly-metal build so far keep it right in the upper echelons of build quality. It also comes with Google's Android 7.0 Nougat software right out of the box. We have high hopes for this phone, but if you can, hold off for our full, rated review.

Motorola Moto Z

For something totally different, Motorola's Moto Z phone introduces you to modules that magnetically snap on to the phone. While the handset is pretty good in its own right, customizing the look and extending the phone's capabilities (for example, adding an extra battery module) put you on the cutting edge. One drawback? Besides the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, this is the only phone on the market without a standard 3.5mm headphone jack -- you need to use the included USB-C dongle instead.

Motorola Moto Z Play

This stepdown model from the main Moto Z has a lower-res 5.5-inch screen, no guarantee of the "shatterproof" display of the Z Force, and a less robust camera. But it's also considerably cheaper, has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack -- and one of the most prodigious batteries we've tested. Plus, it works with all the same cool snap-on mods that the Moto Z does, too. It's a Verizon exclusive in the US, but you can find unlocked models internationally that should work on GSM networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile.

Sony Xperia XZ

A little smaller than the rest, the Xperia XZ announced earlier this month packs Sony's generally high-quality cameras into a relatively more compact frame with a "smaller" 5.2-inch screen. That makes the Android phone easier to maneuver one-handed. One word of caution: the fingerprint reader (e.g., for security and Android Pay) won't work in the US, so we think it'll be a better choice for everyone else.

iPhone 7 Plus

Apple's latest 5.5-incher challenges Samsung's S7 series in some important ways, including water-resistance and the camera department with the 7 Plus' dual-camera system (but it lacks a headphone jack and wireless charging). It's also an all-around excellent phone that satisfies most phone cravings, so long as you feel good switching from Android to iOS 10.

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Google Pixel XL

Announced just last week, the Pixel XL is the larger, 5.5-inch version of Google's first phone that the company designed from the ground up. Available for preorder now, Pixels are the first phones with built-in compatibility with the "Google Assistant" bot, and the company has made a serious investment in its camera, which it says outshines those of the iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy. How good is it really? Wait for our review, coming later in October.

Last year's phones

Strange as it sounds, you can get the 2015 model of these great phones at a discount.

If you need a Note and need it now, last year's Note 5 will do the trick and cost you less.

Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Yes, Samsung skipped the Note 6, and the Note 5 really is the last-generation model released in late 2015. It doesn't have all of this year's hardware or software enhancements, but it's still a great phone you can buy today.

iPhone 6S Plus

If you're ready to dive into iOS and are looking for a deal, Apple has doubled the storage capacity of last year's iPhone 6S Plus while also trimming a little off the price. The phone won't have the iPhone 7 Plus' dual cameras and promising bokeh effect, nor its water-resistant guarantee, but it does have a headphone jack.

This story was originally posted on September 14, and has since been updated.