2016 Phone of The Year: Samsung Galaxy Note 7

I walked into a Media Markt store in Budapest a few months back, not really looking for any item in particular, but just looking around to see what’s interesting, so I could put on a wish list. It was the usual array of over-priced items, but I still enjoy being around technology. So, here I am, walking around and I get to the Phones section, hoping to catch a glimpse of some of the newest android phones, and my eyes settle on one particular device, still tethered to the shelf by a security cord. My first impression was, what device is that? My second thought was, that is a beautiful device. I want.

I walked to it, and I picked it up. I didn’t immediately realize that it was a Samsung product, but even when I did, I wondered which of Samsung’s myriad device models this one was. Then I saw the stylus, and it finally dawned on me that this was the Galaxy Note 7 that was officially unveiled a couple of weeks before. I then looked at the name card, and in some tiny print, the name of the phone was printed, along with a date when sales of the phone would begin.

I did not turn on the phone (or I did, but it didn’t come on, I don’t remember), but that helped me to just admire the external hardware of the phone, and I made a few observations. First of all, once you hold this phone, even if you didn’t know the word before, the first one that comes to your mind is premium. It felt very well built, cool to the touch and not cheap or taken for granted in any form of its production. Second thing I noticed was that this phone had almost no sharp edges at all. Very well rounded edges, but not as slippery as the Note 5 felt. With its lovely black finish, this looks in every way like a man’s phone, and I could imagine that if there was a rose gold (pink) or gold colored version, it would make any woman proud to pull it out of her hand bag. Or Arsenal FC fan. My last observation was that this phone was going to be expensive, like use-your-house-rent-for-2-to-3-months-to-buy-the-phone type of expensive. But isn’t this why our friends have houses?

Previous to this occasion, I had already seen and read of the specs and technical details of the phone from other tech reviewers, but holding it in my hands, albeit for a short period of time, I felt really privileged, and especially since it was a Samsung device. My last personal Samsung experience was a Galaxy S4, and after it I worried that Samsung phones had no intimacy. It felt like I was being forced to buy into an experience, which informed my switch to the Oneplus One (hey boo), and with this phone, even though Samsung are cleaning up their software act, I still expect a bit of the same lack of intimacy, but seeing as the Note series are aimed at the productive, power user, the hardware experience will be rivaled by very few.

This was the first and last time I got to interact with the Galaxy Note 7, especially when battery malfunction issues became rampant, and Samsung were forced to recall the phones, and subsequently cease production. That was painful, to be honest, because anyone would have picked up this phone and seen the beast and gentleman in it. It is the kind of phone that would have been future proof, one that any owner would have been proud to own for 2 to 3 years (especially at that price), without thinking you were missing out on much else.

A lot of great phones were released this year, including the Oneplus 3T, Google Pixel, LG V20, and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, but my best phone of the year would clearly be the Note 7. I am not really looking forward to the Note 8, because I think Samsung will try and overcompensate, but I am grateful I got to personally interact with this device. This is my homage.

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