UPDATE: Given the debacle of the Note 7 recall, we can no longer in good conscience recommend you purchase the Note 7. Also, you can't. Samsung has halted production of the device and all four major U.S. carriers are no longer selling it. Thus, the Note 7 is dead.
Our opinion of the phone hasn't changed. The experience of using it was still one of the best I had with a smartphone all year and this review was written with, as most of my reviews are, optimism. Optimism that the recall would be handled swiftly and effectively by Samsung; it wasn't. It was a complete disaster, and the result tarnished one of the best phones ever made. But we move on: let's see if the Pixel phones can help us get over the loss.
It's a shame the conversation surrounding the Note 7 is now centered on Samsung's unprecedented recall of all 2.5 million devices its sold since the initial release, because it is undoubtedly one of the best phones of the year, and one of the best of all-time.
The Note 7 offers everything a user could want from a smartphone, and most of its faults are mere nitpicks that won't bother the hordes of people that already bought or will buy this phone. It's the result of years of refinement by Samsung, and the quality is apparent the first second you hold the phone.
Incredible hardware, solid software, great performance and a best-in-class camera. Any phone that follows the Galaxy Note 7 is going to have to bring its A game to beat it, and even that might not be enough.