With a Galaxy Note Edge release confirmed for later this year, many consumers are looking at Samsung’s unique smartphone. Some of those prospective buyers are Samsung Galaxy S4 owners who are thinking about taking an upgrade. This Galaxy Note Edge vs Galaxy S4 comparison addresses the most important differences, and similarities, that buyers need to know.
On September 3rd, Samsung arrived in Berlin, Germany to announce several new products for the fall. First, we saw another intro for the Samsung Gear S, an Apple Watch competitor and a device that appears to be a solid alternative to current Android smartwatches. We also saw the Gear VR virtual reality headset make its first appearance.
The stars of the show though were the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 successor and the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge. The Galaxy Note Edge is a high-end alternative to the Galaxy Note 4 and it’s a device that many consumers have their eyes on as we head deeper into the fall, closer to Black Friday and the holidays.
Many of those consumers are Galaxy S4 users who are weighing their options after a year and a half with Samsung’s former flagship. With some carriers offering early upgrades, some Galaxy S4 users are thinking about making a switch. While the Galaxy Note 4, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are both worth looking at, the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is another flagship that Galaxy S4 users familiar with TouchWiz will want to consider.
While we can’t tell you what to do, we can push you in the right direction. Ahead of the Galaxy Note Edge release, we take a look at the five most important things buyers need to know about the Galaxy Note Edge vs Galaxy S4. Keep in mind, this is aimed at Galaxy S4 upgraders though it will apply to those looking at buying either the Galaxy Note Edge or Galaxy S4.
Galaxy Note Edge Release Date
While Samsung’s new Galaxy Note is official, the Galaxy Note Edge release date is still unclear. Samsung confirmed it for later this year though it hasn’t made any official announcements since it took the stage earlier this month. We have seen the Galaxy Note Edge release date make some progress behind the scenes though.
Earlier this week, a Samsung official revealed plans to release the Galaxy Note Edge in Korea in late October. That date isn’t official and perhaps serves as a target date for Samsung’s Next Big Thing. Korea and the U.S. seem to the be the focus for Samsung with a U.S. release confirmed for several carriers sometime in the fall.
Other counties though are likely going to have to wait. The UK apparently won’t be getting it at launch and Canada won’t get the Galaxy Note Edge until sometime in 2015.
What this means is that you probably won’t be able to physically compare the two for at least a month, maybe longer. As we’ve pointed out many times, we highly recommend absorbing this advice and then checking the phones out for yourself. Picking a smartphone is an extremely personal decision and it requires some hands on time.
Galaxy Note Edge Size vs. Galaxy S4 Size
Both Samsung Galaxy Note Edge and Galaxy S4 are large phones though the Galaxy Note Edge is noticeably larger. This isn’t surprising given its screen size and given that it’s a Galaxy Note. Galaxy Note models are always larger than Galaxy S models.
While we can’t compare the two physically just yet, the photo below will give you an idea about the Galaxy Note Edge’s size. Even for you Galaxy S4 users, the Galaxy Note Edge’s size will likely require a period of adjustment.
Here’s how that breaks down:
- Galaxy Note Edge – 151.3 x 82.4 x 8.3 mm – 174 grams
- Galaxy S4 – 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm – 130 grams
The Galaxy Note Edge is taller, wider, thicker, and heavier than the Galaxy S4. What this means is that the Galaxy Note Edge is going to be a little harder to use with one hand and it’s also going to be less pocketable. Those of you who are accustomed to storing your phone in your skinny jeans might have some trouble fitting the Galaxy Note Edge. It’s a big phone.
Galaxy Note Edge Specs vs. Galaxy S4 Specs
Not all of you will want or need to compare specs, especially given the Galaxy S4’s age, but if you do, you’re going to find that the Galaxy Note Edge comes with a spec list that puts the Galaxy S4 to shame. We’ll point out some of the key differences that you should be aware of in the build up to the Galaxy Note Edge release later this year.
Galaxy Note Edge Specs
- 5.6-inch Quad HD display with bent side
- Snapdragon 805 processor (U.S.)
- 3GB RAM
- 16MP camera with Optical Image Stabilization
- 3.7MP front-facing camera
- 32GB / 64GB storage with support for 128GB microSD cards
- Android 4.4.4 KitKat
- Fingerprint sensor
- UV sensor
- Heart rate sensor
- Fast charging
- 3000 mah battery
- S Pen
Galaxy S4 Specs
- Snapdragon 600 processor
- Android 4.4 KitKat
- 5-inch Full HD display – 1920 x 1080 – 441 pixels per inch
- 16GB / 32GB storage (select carriers) with support for 128GB microSD cards
- 2MP front-facing camera
- 13MP camera
- 802.11ac WiFi
- 2600 mAh battery
DisplayMate, one of the leading voices on display technology, calls the Galaxy Note 4 display the best they’ve ever seen. Earlier this year, the publication claimed that the Galaxy S5 display, a display that has now been trumped by the Galaxy Note 4, was better than the iPhone 5s’ Retina Display. In other words, the Galaxy Note 4 display is going to produce better looking content than the Galaxy S4’s. So what does this have to do with the Galaxy Note Edge? A lot.
The Galaxy Note Edge shares screen resolution with the Galaxy Note 4. So, it’s almost certainly going to outperform the Galaxy S4’s full HD 1080p display. There’s another big difference though.
The Galaxy Note Edge comes with a screen that curves down over the edge of the device. Thus the name. The Galaxy Note Edge and its screen can be seen in the video below.
The Galaxy Note Edge comes with a bent, curved display that comes with some distinct advantages. The bent part of the Galaxy Note Edge’s display not only offers better viewing angles for content, it also provides users with an extremely quick way to access their most used applications, settings and more. All it takes is the swipe of a thumb.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note Edge bent display can also display notifications on the side without pausing or interrupting content that’s running on the main screen. So if you’re watching a movie and you get a text or an email, it will appear on the side as opposed to on the main screen. This is only the beginning as Samsung will deliver a Galaxy Note Edge SDK that will allow developers to take full advantage of the new display type.
There are some other key differences as well. The Galaxy Note Edge will feature Optical Image Stabilization with its camera, technology that minimizes shakiness to deliver better looking photos and video. The Galaxy S4’s 13MP rear camera does not come with Optical Image Stabilization. It also doesn’t come with the same camera app that Samsung’s upgraded inside the Galaxy Note Edge’s software.
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 comes in two sizes (16GB and 32GB for AT&T and Verizon), the Galaxy Note Edge comes in two as well though we expect only one model to arrive in the United States. Both come with expandable storage and both come with removable back plates.
Galaxy Note Edge Features vs. Galaxy S4 Features
Samsung’s new smartphones always come with brand new features and the Galaxy Note Edge is no different. Samsung has loaded it up with powerful features that will make it an attractive alternative to the aging Galaxy S4. Here are some of the key features that prospective Galaxy Note Edge buyers will want to pay attention to.
- UV Sensor – Allows you to measure UV radiation with your phone. This is something that could help to prevent health issues and it’s something that isn’t found on the Galaxy S4.
- S Pen – The Galaxy Note Edge will come with a brand new S Pen that can take advantage of unique apps. It’s improved over the Galaxy Note 3’s and it’s going to be one of the biggest differences between it and the Galaxy S4. Make sure you need the S Pen before jumping into an upgrade.
- Heart rate sensor – This Galaxy Note Edge feature will allow you to measure your pulse. It ties into the S Health 3.5 app that Samsung is releasing alongside the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge. The Galaxy S4 does not have one.
- Fast charging – The Galaxy Note Edge comes with fast charging capabilities that will allow users to charge at a much faster rate than usual. The company says a full charge will take approximately 30 minutes or so.
- Fingerprint sensor – The Galaxy S4 doesn’t come with one, the Galaxy Note Edge does.
Galaxy S4 vs. Galaxy Note Edge Software & Upgrades
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 currently runs Android 4.4 KitKat as its base operating system. And while these two devices both run Samsung’s TouchWiz UI, they aren’t anything alike.
The Galaxy Note Edge runs Google’s Android 4.4.4 KitKat operating system as a base though the software has been modified with a new version of TouchWiz that’s designed for the S Pen and mulitasking in mind.
Samsung’s made some significant improvements to this year’s S Pen including increased sensitivity on the Note Edge screen to make the note taking experience on the Galaxy Note Edge feel more like writing on paper. More sensitivity also leads to better looking text from handwriting. Samsung’s also made some significant improvements to the S Pen’s applications including, Air Command, S Note and Voice Memo, and more.
More importantly, the company has improved the Galaxy Note Edge’s multitasking, multitasking that the Galaxy S4, for the moment, cannot match. One of the reasons is a feature called Multi-Window View. It can be seen in action on the Galaxy Note 4 in the video below.
Multi-Window View allows users to run multiple applications on screen at the same time. With the Galaxy Note Edge, Samsung has made some admirable changes including the ability to access applications in full, split or pop-up screens. Galaxy Note Edge users will now also be able to reposition apps on the screen with just one swipe.
We could see some of the new features, Multi-Window View for instance, arrive for the Galaxy S4 down the road though that’s far from guaranteed. Samsung likes to outfit its old devices with new software features but it never releases the whole feature set.
One last thing we should point out. Samsung devices typically get two years of software support. The Galaxy S4 is approaching its second year of life which means that its window is closing pretty quickly. The Galaxy Note Edge on the other hand should get updated for the foreseeable future. Keep that in mind before buying the cheap Galaxy S4.
For more information about the Galaxy S4, have a look at our most recent review.