Today Samsung announced two brand new smartphones that will be coming to the US market in the near future. One being the highly rumored and hotly anticipated Galaxy Note 4, but along with it came a brand new device called the Samsung Galaxy Edge. This is essentially the Galaxy Note 4 with a curved display on the side. Here we take a look at what it has to offer, and what makes it unique.
If you’ve used a Samsung Galaxy device in the past, especially a Galaxy Note, you’ll be right at home with the new Samsung Galaxy Edge, only it offers a few fun features and unique functions you won’t find elsewhere. Now that the device is official, consumers will want to know all the details, and below is a quick rundown of the hardware, a few new software features, and our thoughts on the curved 5.7-inch phablet.
With the Galaxy Note 4 release date confirmed, users will now want to learn more details about this interesting new Galaxy Note Edge. Does the curved display get in the way, how well does it work, and will it be useful? They’re all great questions, and we can’t answer them all from our limited time with it, but read on for more details, pictures, and hands-on video.
What is the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge? It’s essentially a large 5.7-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 4 that has traded in some of the new aluminum edges in favor of actually having a display on the edge. The screen is curved around one side only (sadly) that will give users tons of additional information at a glance, make checking sports scores or text message notifications easier, and even snapping photos will be a breeze all thanks to the curved display with the Note Edge.
The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge offers everything users love from the Note series, the same awesome hardware and fingerprint features found on the Galaxy S5, and incorporates a few of its own new features you’ll want to see on video.
The Galaxy Note Edge actually has a slightly smaller screen than the Note 4, although you’d never notice. The screen is technically 5.6-inches, vs 5.7-inches, but sports the same 2560 x 1440 Quad-HD resolution. That means pixels are tiny and images become extremely clear and crisp. Viewing video was nice too, as the device differentiates the sides from the rest of the screen to keep everything looking normal.
Samsung has spent a lot of time working on curved displays, and this will be the first mass-market device with a curved display from the manufacturer. The curved side, called the Samsung Edge, offers information at a glance like never before. You won’t disrupt the rest of your screen when alerts come in, if you don’t want to, making it quite a powerful device for multi-tasking. Add in all the other multi-window and S-Pen features, and this phone is fully loaded.
The screen is still a Samsung AMOLED, one that’s quad-hd, so videos and photos are gorgeous. Colors are bright and vibrant, and blanks still have an inky black color. Overall we we’re quite pleased with the screen, even if part if it is separated for the “edge”.
While we’d argue having both sides curved would be better, you’ll want one area you will be able to freely hold without fear of tapping an icon and accidentally launching an app, opening the camera, or doing something else. I accidentally launched the camera more than once, but then again I’m a lefty and hold phones different than most. To each his own, but the one-sided curve idea seems to make the most sense. Who knows, we could see a Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 2 next year with all four sides curved, the possibilities are endless if users adopt this new design approach.
See the Galaxy Note Edge in action yourself below. Everything from regular apps, dedicated tickers for sports alerts and scores, and much much more.
There’s also an SDK developers can use to access this, which we expect will really make the possibilities endless, and features worthwhile.
It’s an odd looking device, that’s for sure. However, the same stunning design hues from the Note 4 are present. Right down to the faux leather look on the rear. A design which, is similar, but better than the fake leather plastics from the Note 3 a year ago.
The new Note 4 and Note Edge fake leather looks great, especially in black or gold. There’s also white, bronze, and a pink model was floating around too. You can clearly see they’re going for a more traditional leather look here, vs the stitched design from last year.
The sides of the device are wrapped in a lightweight and durable aluminum frame, except that edge with a screen of course. This isn’t a aluminum looking plastic like the Galaxy S5, but a real aluminum edge on the Note 4, Note Edge, and Galaxy Alpha.
This marks a major shift in Samsung’s approach to design materials, something many consumers hope will make the devices feel more premium, be more durable, and be integrated into the Galaxy S6 next year. We’ll need more time with it to come up with a conclusion on the design, but so far we like it. The only negative is the slightly smaller battery in the Note Edge over the Note 4, which brings us to our next topic.
Our only complaint with the design is the curved screen required Samsung move the power/wake button to the top of the device. Usually this wouldn’t be a concern, but with a large 5.7-inch screen users will have to adapt to swiveling the device in their hand in order to reach the top without dropping the phone. It isn’t my favorite, and would prefer that power button on back like the LG G3, but users will manage just fine.
The Galaxy Note Edge is extremely similar to the Note 4 we mentioned earlier today, and have been seeing reports and rumors on for months. The same internals are present here, for the most part, and the main and only big difference is of course that curved screen on the side. Here’s the rundown though, for those interested in the cold hard numbers.
Galaxy Note Edge Specs
- 5.6-inch 2560 x 1440 Quad-HD AMOLED Display
- 2.7 GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 805 with 3GB of RAM
- 32 or 64GB storage options, with micro-SD support
- Android 4.4.4 KitKat with Samsung TouchWiz
- 16 Megapixel Rear camera with Optical Image Stabilization
- 3.7 front camera for wide-angle selfies, and panoramic front photos
- 3,000 mAh battery
- Curved display on right side for notifications and more
- 151.3 x 82.4 x 8.3mm, 174 grams
As you can see this is no slouch. The phone has stunning specs, and the device was a breeze to use live from Samsung’s announcement. While we found TouchWiz to be somewhat faster than the Galaxy S5 or Note 3, it’s hard to tell with all the continued changes to the overall look and feel of the operating system.
Both the Note 4 and Edge are powered by the absolute latest Snapdragon 805 processor with 3GB of RAM, and are amongst the most powerful smartphones on the market. Expect excellent performance for multi-tasking, multi-window mode, and everything else these phones have to offer.
If the little curved edge of the screen reminds you of anything, it may be the old Samsung Continuum that launched on Verizon a few years ago. Offering an additional display under the top screen for notifications. A “ticker” if you will, just like Samsung’s new Edge. However, this is a much better design approach, Android has more to offer, and the Note series could use more screen space for notifications and alerts while owners are drawing away with that stylus. We’re not sure if it’ll work this time around, as the Samsung Continuum was a flop, but we’ll have to wait and see.
On the software side nothing is new here, really, aside from the options for the curved edge of the screen. This is the same Android 4.4.4 KitKat, and the same Samsung TouchWiz experience. However, as you saw from the video above they’ve made a few changes specifically for the Note Edge. The camera controls are all on that curved side, for easy access, and there’s even a ruler option built in to measure things with your phone. It’s pretty neat, but practical uses are few and far between.
Without getting too much into the software, we must mention palm-rejection. This first came with the Note series since you’re writing on the display with the Stylus, and sometimes a users palm rests on the screen. Palm-rejection on the Note Edge works wonders, and I rarely accidentally launched an app. Only time this didn’t work is while fondling the phone and flipping it over and over for photos. Meaning regular users shouldn’t be concerned with the curved side being a sensitive area where you’ll butt-dial, or accidentally launch apps.
Above is a quick look at the few options available for the “edge” right now, but more are coming. Yahoo Sportstacular news alerts and sports scores was awesome (way to go Welker, get suspended) and being able to customize it with Twitter, Calendar and weather alerts, as well as regular phone, people, and browser icons is a nice touch. Add or remove as many as you’d like, then just thumb through them as shown in our video above.
You’ll need to see it to fully understand, so hopefully all those carriers who announced it’s coming to the US will have the Note Edge in stores soon enough.
The Edge can serve as a quick-launch tray for the flashlight, a ruler, stopwatch, or even an alarm clock for easy snoozing, so the options are pretty broad. Hopefully the SDK allows developers to add more incredible features once this device arrives.
The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge will reportedly come to all major US carriers sometime this fall, but we’re hearing October for most of the four major carriers. Charcoal Black or Frost White are the main options, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Gold or other colors don’t arrive as exclusives or in holiday bundles.
In closing, I like it. Maybe it’s the quick notifications for sports scores, the small area to ignore an incoming call, or the ruler tool, but there’s something about the curved edge that just opens more possibilities, and will allow for more features and usage scenarios. There’s something about it I like, but at the same time am concerned with real-world usage, not to mention durability from drops.
The asymmetrical design makes it look odd, but also unique. However, it adds to the problem of lefties vs righties when using a phone, and this left-handed user would like that curve on the left side, not the right.
Is this a failed effort to offer something unique by Samsung, or a truly unique experience that app developers and users both will enjoy? It’s hard to say. All said and done we enjoyed our limited time with it, and I could see myself using it on a daily basis. The smartphone has a lot to offer, and consumers will be surprised once they give it a try in the near future. Stay tuned for more details, pictures, and comparisons to the Note 3 and more.