Living with the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, week 3: Beauty takes time

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.

Hello, hello, and welcome to week 3 of our long-term review for Samsung's edgy phablet. Now, we already had week 1, when we were getting a feel for the device, and week 2 when we took a very detailed look at how the Edge Screen handles and functions. So, the Note Edge is still a Note, and this week, let's focus on its "regular" feats and functionality – most of which it even shares with its sibling – the Galaxy Note 4.

So, without further ado...

Week 3: Praises and gripes

I've been using the Note Edge for 3 weeks now and gotten used to its interface – addicted to some of its functions, while resenting others – you know how it is with TouchWiz. Still, thanks to the phone in my hands, I haven't used my tablet for a while, and my home PC is used strictly when serious work needs to be done, as the Note Edge seems to successfully cover all my lightweight needs. So yes – I am glad to be using it as a daily driver, though, there are just a few things about the device that rub me the wrong way.

The Super AMOLED screen is finally Super

So, something that was a big deal a few months ago was that Samsung managed to equip its Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and Galaxy Tab S 10.5 with Super AMOLED panel that, for once, exhibited fairly accurate color reproduction. This is rather uncommon in AMOLED screens, as they happen to oversaturate and overblow colors, giving off a very punchy, vivid, and bright image that you may either like or resent.

So, Sammy obviously made strides in “normalizing” the picture of its Super AMOLED tech and, after it was praised for the Galaxy Tab S series, it naturally went ahead and made the Note 4 and Note Edge's panels to be even more color-accurate.

How does that transfer into real-world experience? Well, I've been using the Note Edge, set in Basic (color setting) mode, for the past three weeks and I can say – quite good! To be perfectly honest – I still cannot get used to the whites of the display. Apparently, there may be some truth to what Sony said about consumer devices around us having predominantly bluish displays, as I can truly say that my eye “expects” the Note Edge to have a bit more blue in its white screen than it does. Instead, it looks, to me, like a “dirty”, yellow-ish white.

Still, if I neglect the rare instances when I am faced with a fully whited-out page, I've got nothing but praise for the display's colors. Tame, mature, and mellow – the glow from the Note Edge's panel is nothing but inviting, and working on a 5.6” display with such easy colors and a 525 PPI density is nothing short of a pleasing experience.

TouchWiz, are you out of breath again?

In week 1, I noted that Sammy has slightly lightened the load of TouchWiz, maybe even optimized it better, allowing the software to at least not stutter when scrolling through home screens / the app drawer. This still holds true, however, now that I've installed all my apps, synced all my accounts, and generally “filled up” the phone (9.8 GB free), the good old lagmonster reared its unsightly head.

It presents itself at random times, usually at app launch, but can also prevent an app from instantly minimizing / closing at rare occasions, freezing it for a short(ish) duration. I wouldn't even have as much of a beef with it if it didn't slow down the Action Memo launch as much as it does – the S Pen's signature “mini”-app which is supposed to allow you to take quick notes by just pulling the stylus out and tapping on the screen sometimes takes 2-3 seconds to load up, which can get annoying. Browsing through your list of S Note notebooks can sometimes test your nerves as well.

It's not a gamebreaker, but I definitely feel envious when I get my hands on one of the more snappier phones in the office. Samsung is rumored to have recently said that 2015's TouchWiz will be almost vanilla Android-like in terms amount of features crammed in there, so here is hoping that's true.

I've also encountered the need to restart the phone on a couple of occasions thus far. The first time, home screen scrolling got very choppy, despite the fact that I closed all background apps. At this point, the phone had ran for maybe 2 weeks without a reboot, so a simple off-and-on fixed it. The second time, Chrome was refusing to load up webpages, but that could have been either TouchWiz (a wacky mixture of processes resulting in a buggy performance) or Chrome's fault – a reboot still fixed it.

Bells and whistles

There are a lot of bells and whistles attached to Sammy's interface, some of them useful, others – not as much. Some are very specific and you may find out they exist only on certain occasions – for example, if you take an Action Memo while in a call, once you end the conversation, TouchWiz will give you a little list of “notes taken during call”. Pretty nifty, though one would argue – unneeded, as the user would probably remember that they made a note during the call – this function just acts as a shortcut to it.

While on the subject of doing stuff during calls – you can “minimize” the conversation by pressing the home button. The portrait of the other caller will be pinned at the top-left of the screen, acting as a shortcut to the in-call menu, leaving you to operate your smartphone at will. On the Note Edge specifically – the call can be minimized to the Edge Screen – something I described in detail last week.

Gestures are still here, still hidden in different parts of the settings menu, and still have questionable uses. For example – Air wake up tends to wake up the phone whenever any random object comes near it, which forced me to disable it, due to battery drainage concerns. Smart stay is back – the feature that forces the screen to stay on if the phone detects that the user is still looking at it. I found it to be next to useless in medium-to-low lighting, as the phone's camera couldn't “see” my eyes properly and would turn the display off as I am reading. Muting the device by placing my palm on it also didn't look like a must-have option – if my palm is already there, I can just decline the call; same goes for flipping the phone around. Basically – I do not find gesture recognition to be among the most useful features of this phone and would generally suggest to any owner to turn them off, unless a very specific situation dictates that they need any of them.

And as long as we are in the “bells and whistles” section – let's give the fingerprint scanner a brief mention. Unfortunately, nothing about it has changed since the Galaxy S5; ergo – it is terrible. Sammy's fingerprint scanner needs the user to slide their finger across the home button, instead of placing it statically. The finger needs to slide right through the center of the pad, at an angle, similar to the angle it was registered at, not too slow, nor too fast, and a band of elven jazz musicians need to be playing in the background, in order for the scanner to unlock your device from the first try. Otherwise – it takes three attempts on average. “Please, swipe entire pad”, “Please, swipe faster”, “Please, swipe slower”, “Please, clean up sensor and try again” (when you happen to be touching the device with hot and / or slightly moisty hands) are the messages that will greet your attempts to unlock your phone. Basically, if security is that important to you – better use the good old PIN or Pattern locks.

All that said – the Galaxy Note Edge's productivity is exceptional. No, you will not be writing novels on the phone, but many light, web-related tasks can be effortlessly performed on the phablet. The split-screen and floating app features make for a slightly PC(ish) experience and I often use the phone with full confidence, when something must be done on the fly. Be it paying bills by using a local retailer's heavy and half-baked website, buying video games, which includes entering credit card information and often calculating currencies / discounts, making and sharing lists on different projects, or even making small edits to my PhoneArena articles – the Note Edge's powerful hardware, the S Pen, and the Multi Window features are its extreme strength and are capable of making one forget a few hiccups and stutters from the TouchWiz interface. Check out this article for a few ways that we found multitasking to be effective and helpful.

The fact that Samsung has partnered up with Evernote and syncs all your S Note files and Action Memos automatically to your Evernote account encourages you to just jot and write whatever comes to mind, and do so in confidence that your scribbles will be immediately available in your cloud. It may sound like a simple thing, yet, you will be surprised how many drafts per day you may end up taking, once the process has been streamlined as it is on a Galaxy Note 4 / Edge.

Almost there

Speaking of the S Pen – we will be taking a look of it next week, together with S Voice, and a treat that I've been saving for last – the Note Edge's camera. Stay tuned for week 4 and a full long-term review article after.

Related phones

Galaxy Note Edge
  • Display 5.6" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 3.7 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 805, Quad-core, 2700 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(18h 3G talk time)



1. GalaxyS5

Posts: 430; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

well, you're lucky you have it in your hand ...

3. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

I could too, but I am choosing the Google Nexus 6 over the Note Edge!

4. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

Why out of curiosity?

7. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

If there were a Developer Edition Galaxy Note Edge I would have DEFINITELY bought that, but since there isn't the Google Nexus 6 is the only way to go. ESPECIALLY for us who root & install custom ROMs.

11. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

True that.

13. Silent_Patriot

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 16, 2015

There is: Can't post URL since I just registered, but Google SM-N915VMKEVZW and you'll find it! Coming soon!

25. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Dude I love you man! Thanks! +1

10. boosook

Posts: 1442; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

Just try stock lollipop and you'll understand!

6. GalaxyS5

Posts: 430; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

what the h*ll man? :|

8. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

The Note Edge is an EXTREMELY sexy & super awesome phone. I have held it and used it, but I need a phone that I can root & install custom ROMs. The Nexus 6 with custom Lollipop builds are out of this world. The developers that make these custom Lollipop ROMs make the phone run better than Google any day of the week!

2. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

Great review! I'm still glad I went with the Note 4. The Edge has too much bezel at the top for me.

5. maherk

Posts: 6965; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Please show us this lag on a video. I ve had my Note 4 for more than 2 months now, and i am yet to encounter any lag. To say that you need to restart your phone every now just shows the hate on the Edge in this article. And don't get me started about your lame attempts to criticize the Note's screen when it is a fact proved by many experts there that it is the most accurate panel on the market. Guess no matter what, the accuracy of your beloved iPhones will never be matched

9. alias3800

Posts: 62; Member since: Jul 09, 2014

Stop.. just stop. Look up, on youtube, "Galaxy Note 4 - Jitter, stutter lag..." That'll give you a good idea of what you probably haven't been able to notice (which is a good thing).

14. lalalaman

Posts: 638; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

Mayb u are not a power user,or u are using ram cleaner apps which the writer is not using.i know there is very little but no lag in the phone,and as described,3rd,party apps are to blame most of the time. Also have used note 4 and I agree about the yellowish feel on the screen,not much noticeable if ur not geeky,or mayb we can say it feels Yellowish because most of the screens we encounter are bluish

21. Ashoaib

Posts: 3298; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

well I have nothing not to believe Paul K. about lags. My note 4 doesnt lag at all but its just new. I havent encounter any phone yet which doesnt lag. Before I used to think that only iphone 4 & 4s were laggy. But every phone I have used so far, starts lagging after 6 months or so. I just need to install plethura of apps and fill the storage upto 70% or 80% and here we go, every phone starts lagging. I dont know why people criticize touch wiz. I found nexus 5 laggy as well under my hands. My mediapad x1 also lags a lot. Whenever someone comment how buttery smooth stock android is, I feel amazed that which android they are talking about? Same for iOS users, I get amazed when any izombie praise the smoothness of iOs

12. wilsong17 unregistered

Agree I have the note 4 I'm yet to find lag.. which I really don't care as long my device work.. only chrome sometime have hiccups

15. BobbyBuster

Posts: 854; Member since: Jan 13, 2015

In one line: it sucks.

16. paul.k

Posts: 297; Member since: Jul 17, 2014

Au contraire, dear sir. There certainly is a set of annoyances one needs to live with, but they are easily overlooked when you get acquainted with the display, S Pen, multitasking, and camera.

19. tedkord

Posts: 17417; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

You'll have to yell louder. He's got his fingers in his ears and is screaming, "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" over and over.

17. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

I have the same problem on my Lumia 810. It has amoled screen and after comparing to my M8, it looks like an old newspaper, the whites. The whites may have a bluish tint on my M8, but the yellows were much more prominent. Another reason why I prefer LCD to Oled

18. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

That's just an issue with the display of the Lumia 810. Color temperature has nothing to do with OLED or LCD...

20. tedkord

Posts: 17417; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

The Note 4 AMOLED had some of the most accurate white on the market.

23. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

Well the author is saying that he also has the yellowish whites. That's why I brought it up.

22. Cyagocaliz unregistered

Living with the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge week 4: Throwing Away!

24. spacewasp

Posts: 2; Member since: Jan 17, 2015

I find the fingerprint scanner very effective.. if used properly.. there are 3 different prints u can register... but if u use 2 for the finger u use the most it s more accurate and if u register them swiping quickly u don't have to swipe slowly to unlock.. then divide another 2 fingers between the final one u have left to register..... u can actually swipe 60 different prints if u divide them up even further... but my way is much more accurate and u can access your phone almost as quickly as the iphone for Touch Wiz id rather have all the features Samsung adds and put up with a little lag anyday... infact i no longer have a PC or tablet as i can do everything on my Note Edge.

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