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Galaxy Note 7 alternatives: 5 big gaming phones that (probably) won't explode

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Galaxy Note 7 alternatives: 5 big gaming phones that (probably) won't explode
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There are a number of factors we look for in a new gaming-capable phone, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 so very nearly ticked all the boxes.

Large, beautiful, class-leading screen? Check. Super-fast processor? Check. Top notch camera? Check. VR-ready? Check.

Doesn't explode? Ah.

Yes, Samsung has dropped a bit of a boo-boo in rushing its latest flagship phone to market. Note 7 handsets are literally catching fire and exploding thanks to a faulty design. As a result, one of the most dependably great year-end smartphone contenders has literally been removed from the market.

Fortunately, there's an fine selection of large-screen alternatives out there. Here are a few of them.

Google Pixel XL

Samsung's loss is Google's gain. That might sound like a strange thing to say given that Samsung is the biggest hardware supplier for Google's Android OS. In previous years, this would indeed have been bad news for the big G.

But you see, as luck would have it, Google has just announced its very first premium smartphones. No, the Nexus phones don't count - Google has actually designed the Google Pixel phones itself, and actually seems to want to sell more than ten.

They won't be hitting the market until the end of the month, but the Google Pixel XL (the larger of the two) is already looking set to become the new champion Android phone. It's got an attractive metal-and-glass build (which looks a bit like an iPhone), the fastest CPU this side of Apple's latest, a 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED display, and a camera that could well be the best of 2016.

It also runs on a bang-up-to-date version of Android that has been fully optimised for the hardware, and Google's associated Daydream View looks likely to be the best mobile VR platform yet.

iPhone 7 Plus

We can't really talk about Samsung Galaxy Note 7 alternatives without mentioning Apple's latest super-sizer. The iPhone 7 Plus lacks a few things compared to the Note 7 - its screen is slightly smaller (5.5-inches) and less sharp (1080p), it's not as attractive, and it doesn't have a stylus or a headphone jack.

But it also has a lot going for it. For one thing, the A10 Fusion CPU in the iPhone 7 Plus blows everything else on the market out of the water. As a gaming smartphone, it's the top performer, and it also has Apple's App Store feeding it the latest games.

You're also getting a novel twin-lens camera that acts as an effective optical zoom system, while the quality of those shots will give the Note 7 a run for its money.

Plus, even if it did blow up, you could just walk into an Apple Store and walk out with a replacement.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

So your heart's been broken by the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. You loved its design, super-vibrant screen, camera, and power. You even quite liked its custom UI (weirdo). If only it was less blowy-uppy.

What you want is a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Released earlier in the year, it's got a very similar design to the Galaxy Note 7, complete with the same curvy screen. It's also got exactly the same processor, camera, and UI.

The screen is just 0.2 of an inch smaller, and it's just as drop-dead-gorgeous. All you're really giving up - unless you count that iris-scanner as an essential feature (it's not) - is that S Pen stylus.

And to top it all off, you can get it for significantly less money than the Note 7.

OnePlus 3

You may not have heard of OnePlus, but this Chinese manufacturer is worth taking notice of. It builds really good phones, but charges much less than you might expect by selling them direct from its website and not paying for regular marketing.

The latest example is the OnePlus 3, and it's a cracker. It's got an all-metal build, a fine 5.5-inch AMOLED display (it's only 1080p, but that's fine), and a fast CPU with buckets of RAM.

Best of all? It'll set you back about half the money it took to buy the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

Motorola Moto Z

One of the most appealing things about the Galaxy Note 7 is its striking design. Only the Galaxy S7 Edge can really touch it on this list.

But the Moto Z is certainly the most novel design here. Motorola has gone with a ridiculously thin 5.2mm body. That's crazy, but it serves a purpose.

The Moto Z is a modular phone, which means you can extend its abilities by adding plates that snap to the back. These 'MotoMods' can add things like a pico projector, better battery life, an improved speaker, and more.

Even without this gimmick you're getting a very well built phone with a sharp 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED display and a fast Snapdragon 820 CPU. Its camera, while not as good as Samsung's best, is pretty decent too.

Like the iPhone 7 Plus you don't get a headphone jack, but we'd take Motorola's near-stock-Android UI over Samsung's efforts any day.