The curved Samsung Galaxy Note 4 variant known as the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is one of the most expensive smartphones on the market. It’s also one of the most intriguing. With that in mind, this early Samsung Galaxy Note Edge review will touch on some of the most important things we’ve discovered in the first 24 hours with the phone.
Back in September, Samsung took the stage in Berlin, Germany to show off a handful of new products including a brand new Galaxy Note 4. The company also debuted a higher-end version of the Galaxy Note 4 called Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, a device that utilizes the company’s curved display technology. The Galaxy Note Edge wasn’t the focal point of the show but it definitely caught my eye.
Companies have been experimenting with curved displays for some time now and we’re finally starting to see the technology get close to the mainstream. LG’s G G Flex 2, a device that it announced at CES 2015, is set to hit several major carriers in the United States. And the Galaxy S6, rumored for launch at MWC 2015, is said to be coming with a bent display. These devices might be concepts but they serve as foreshadows of what could be the next big thing in mobile technology.
The Galaxy Note Edge is a concept but it’s one that’s sold at all five major U.S. carriers including AT&T and Verizon. It’s a device I’ve been interested in for quite sometime.
I haven’t had enough time with the device to offer a full length review but I have learned quite a bit in my first day or so with the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge. I use an iPhone 6 and Nexus 5 on a daily basis so you’ll get a bit of a comparison in here as well.
This Phone is Massive
The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is an absolutely massive smartphone. It’s similar in size to the Galaxy Note 4 and comparable to the iPhone 6 Plus. After spending a day with the phone, I have no desire to make a phone of this size my daily driver but I can understand why people might opt for a smartphone of this size.
It’s been great for activities like gaming, reading, web browsing, and watching video. I think it’s especially nice for those that may not own a tablet to pair with a smartphone. Many of the people I’ve talked to that bought the iPhone 6 Plus are not tablet owners and this sort of hybrid phone-tablet is the perfect middle ground.
For me though, the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is cumbersome. I can’t imagine lugging this phone around with me on a daily basis, especially when wearing jeans. I’ve also had a terrible time holding it with one hand and I have very large hands. This is a problem that I’ve always had with the Galaxy Note series and it’s precisely why I passed on the iPhone 6 Plus.
In my opinion, the Nexus 5 is the perfect size for a smartphone. It’s large enough for games and reading and it’s small enough that you don’t feel awkward holding it up to your ear with one hand. It feels awkward holding the Galaxy Note Edge with one hand. Maybe the feeling will dissipate after I spend more time with it but I can already tell it’s going to be a struggle.
If you haven’t seen a Quad HD display in action, you’re missing out. As we noted in our Galaxy Note 4 review, the Quad HD panel that Samsung applied to the Galaxy Note series is absolutely stunning. Everything looks absolutely amazing and as an iPhone 6 owner and a Nexus 5 owner, it certainly makes me jealous. Both of those screens can’t compete.
The nice thing about the Galaxy Note Edge display is that the software makes use of that display. It comes with a souped up version of Multi-Window View, a feature that allow you to run multiple apps on screen at the same time. It also comes with another feature called Pop Up Video that allows you to drag a video anywhere on the screen while you’re doing something else. These are things that I wish iOS had.
So far, it has been a bit of a Catch-22. I absolutely love the high quality display and the real estate that it provides but on the other hand, I absolutely loathe the overall size of the device.
Curved Screen Is…Interesting
The most unique feature on the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is the bent display. Instead of the flat panel found on the Galaxy Note 4, the Galaxy Note Edge’s display runs off the right side of the phone, providing a new way to access applications, important files, weather, and more. It’s extremely interesting and dare I say useful but it’s certainly not going to be for everyone, at least not yet.
Next to the size, the bent display is most intimidating feature found on the Galaxy Note Edge but it’s actually fairly easy to use. Simple gestures allow you to easily navigate through important files and content and it comes in handy when shooting photos. The device puts the capture button in a strategic spot on the bent display which allows you to see more of your subject on the larger part of the screen. Its little things like that that I have come to enjoy.
It’s still very much a work in progress and it’s not a feature I can see myself using every time I pick up the phone but the foundation is here and it will be interesting to see where Samsung, and developers take the technology.
Tons of Horsepower
Believe it or not, there are other specifications on board and all of them are, for the most part, outstanding. Gaming is excellent thanks to the display and the quad-core chip inside. I’ve been using this phone like a madman for the past day and my battery’s only dropped about 50%, you can definitely get more than a full day out of this phone.
Multitasking, as I mentioned, is glorious on a phone of this size. This is true multitasking, not the stuff that Apple passes off as “multitasking” in iOS 8. The camera is also solid and Samsung’s camera app, per usual, is top notch and loaded with features.
I still don’t think I’d ever use the S Pen stylus that comes holstered at the bottom of the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge but I will say that the improvements Samsung’s made over the years make it a route worth considering. I’ve used the S Pen a few times without even thinking about it and that’s a small victory for Samsung.
This is one of the more powerful smartphones on the market on paper and fortunately, it translate into real world use. You can’t ask for much more than that.
Galaxy Note 4 is Better, At This Point, For Most People
The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is one of the most expensive phones on the market, $100 more than the Galaxy Note 4 which is also one of the most expensive smartphones on the market. If you’re at all interested in this phone, the question you need to ask yourself is: “Is the curved display worth the extra cash?”
My answer, for right now, is probably not. The bent display is nice but the experience doesn’t have enough meat on it. It’s not a gimmick but the technology isn’t mature enough to warrant the extra cash. Not when the Galaxy Note 4 is $100 or so bucks cheaper with the same specifications. The Galaxy Note 4 is the Galaxy Note for the vast majority of people and I would definitely look at it before taking the plunge with the Galaxy Note Edge.
It’s an excellent starting point for Samsung and its curved technology but it’s still very much a work in progress and most of you probably don’t want to shell out $400 or more to be Samsung’s guinea pig.