Seven reasons to pay double for Samsung's Galaxy Note 7

There are some fantastic Android smartphones available for $400 or less, so why did Matthew Miller pay double for Samsung's latest and greatest?
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributor writer on
Image: T-Mobile

Samsung announced last week the Galaxy Note 7, and then on Saturday, I dumped three phones on Swappa and placed my own preorder for a T-Mobile Galaxy Note 7 in black.

Given all of ZDNet's recent coverage of affordable Chinese smartphones and the impact they are having on flagship smartphones, you may be questioning my judgement here.

I readily admit that there are indeed excellent affordable Android smartphones such as the OnePlus 3 and ZTE Axon 7, and for many people, these phones are wonderful. I just recommended the OnePlus 3 to a friend, but I want more.

My smartphone is an essential tool for my work here on ZDNet and in my day job as a professional engineer. It's easy for me to spend five hours a day just on a smartphone, so I am willing to pay a premium price for a tool that can easily be justified as essential for my needs.

Thus, here are seven reasons I paid T-Mobile $930 for a black onyx Samsung Galaxy Note 7:

  1. Display: Samsung continues to set the bar for smartphone displays, and when you spend several hours a day interacting with the screen, it is nice to have the absolute best available in hand.
  2. Design: I love what Samsung did with the S6 and what it continues to iterate on with the glass and metal Samsung designs. You get a ton of display in a manageable form factor, especially in width, that just oozes beauty and quality.
  3. S Pen: As an engineer and someone in my upper 40s, I still like to write things down and cannot wait to embrace the S Pen again and find out all it can do.
  4. Monthly security update: I honestly never thought I would list this for a Samsung phone, but Samsung has done a fantastic job at getting the monthly Android security patches out to its phones. My Galaxy S7 Edge was always updated within a few days of the start of the month, and I look forward to having a secure phone in hand.
  5. Water resistance: My phones go with me on runs, bike trips, fishing trips, and outside in the rain. While I don't take them swimming, I do appreciate the peace of mind in knowing that splashes won't kill my phone.
  6. Battery life and charging options: My S7 Edge always took me through a full busy day of work, so I expect the Note 7 to offer similar battery life. The ability to charge quickly via USB Type-C is great, but the convenience of charging at my desk and on my nightstand via wireless just can't be beat.
  7. Amazing camera: The camera quality and ability to launch it with a double press on the home button rock. I was never disappointed on the S7 Edge, and I won't be with the Note 7.

I look forward to trying out the new iris scanner technology, but I am more than happy with the front fingerprint scanner as it is currently designed.

BTW, I sold my Nexbit Robin, OnePlus 3, and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge in order to upgrade to the Note 7 for no cost. All three of these are solid smartphones, but I can't keep them all and stay sane.

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