Note 7 was never the best Android phone by far
I bought the original Note the minute it got out: The size was just right for my eyes and fingers.
I also bought the Note 3 the minute it got out, because the Note 1 had issues with performance and battery life that were hard to ignore when you put an SIII or pretty much everything else at the time next to it.
The Note 3 still is pretty much a perfect phone and I continue to use it (actually the Note 1 ist also still active) and thanks to new batteries, Mumbi silicon sleeves and glass covers they all look pristine and perform at their respective optimums.
Thanks also to a large community of ROM developers both run Marshmallow with current security fixes.
Of course they are rooted, because these are miniature PCs, which happen to have a phone built in. Can't have anyone mess around with my PC, in fact that's illegal where I live, quite independent of who produced or sold the device: You modify software or data on a computer without the owner's permission you go to jail around here (Germany).
So what's wrong with the newer Notes?
You can't root them any more, which means you can't take control of a computer you bought. That means you can't trust it any more as somebody else has more control than you. Could be Samsung, could be Gooble (spelling intentional) could be anyone with sufficient criminal energy, but evidently not you, the owner. Doesn't get any more wrong that that, honestly.
You can't store the data outside the mPC itself any more (somewhat fixed on the 7 actually), because SDcards were first banned then allowed back with limited functionality. So if your phone decides to die or break on you, there is no way to get the data off. Primary storage of data on SDcards mean that you can simply take the card to another mobile or your desktop PC and get things off.
You can't properly protect your mobile computer from breaking, because they went with design over function. The metal body has absolutely no functional advantage over the previous plastic and once the device is in a proper silicon cover, which protects the backside, all edges and even the front via raised silicon edges, the body material is invisible anyway. The only thing that matters on an mPC is the screen anyway and that needs protection via a changeable hard glass cover that goes right under the raised edge of the silicon cover.
At least that's how it was until Samsung lost their sense and started this edge nonsense, which mostly means that both the edges and the front of the device can no longer be properly protected with a silicon sleeve and a glass cover.
I don't make it a sport throwing my phone around like others do, but it does get dropped from time to time. It drops in rain, it drops on tiled floors and even on rocks from time to time, because those are often around when you run to catch a plane, a bus, a metro or just need to open a door while managing kids and groceries at the same time. I don't expect engineers to create a device that doesn't scratch nor spinter, I just want them to allow me to compensate in a way that suits me.
I got Notes, because I have large hands and bad eyes and I don't need nor care for a fashion accessory. I'd much rather have a docking station with USB 3 or better to hook up Ethernet, at least one external Monitor, keyboard and mice to turn the mPC into a better desktop replacement: By now it certainly has enough computing power and storage capacity (via SDcard or USB) to do that.
Samsung's Note series started as a mobile PC Android device oriented towards professional users. And at one point they took one wrong term after the other, until they ruined it completely.
In my eyes they completely deserved what they got, but because they designed a mPC which was wrong in just about every way. But I'm afraid they won't understand the message just as evidently the author of this article didn't.
There is a gadget or design accessory mobile phone already out there. It's called the S7 or S7 Plus, or Edge: I don't remember nor do I care. There is a market for these devices and Samsung should serve it as best they can.
But why on earth did they have to turn the professional device into such a disaster?
Got myself a LeEco Le Max 2 a couple of weeks ago.
Qualcom 820, 6GB RAM, 64GB UFS, 5.7" 2560x1440 display.
Yes it has a metal body, but it came with a silicon case and a glass screen cover.
I ordered 2 extra sets, just because they might be more difficult to get later.
Can't swap the battery, can't get extra external storage, which I find sad.
But it's easy to root, it now runs Canogemod 13, neither bloat nor spyware.
And at €350 it was so cheap I could afford to buy the slightly "smaller" version (4GB RAM/32GB UFS) @ €230 on top without reaching the price of a single Samsung pocket warmer.
The only problem that I have is that a weakened Samsung allows Google to pursue their gApple strategy with even less opposition.
May both get what they deserve!
Asking for big money without delivering significant value to the customer tends to annoy them.