Samsung Galaxy Note Edge hands-on


To the surprise of many, Samsung unveiled not one, but two new models that will reinforce the company's critically-acclaimed Note series -- the Note 4, and the far more interesting Note Edge. Quite frankly, the Edge is a Note 4 with a twist -- an additional screen on the side (or edge) of the device -- but what a twist it is! 

Indeed, this is the first time anybody has ever done this, and it seems like the millions Samsung poured in developing innovative display solutions are finally paying off. Of course, the ultimate test lies in capturing the hearts of consumers, as this won't be the first time seemingly good, novel ideas flop. We had the chance to spend some one-on-one time with the Note Edge, brief as it was, at IFA 2014, and we sought to try and answer that very question. Read on to find out our first impression.

Design


Design is a fitting place to start, for the Note Edge is both very much alike to what you would expect from Samsung's high-end phablet line, and, at the same time, completely, bewilderingly, different.

Indeed, the Note Edge is basically a copy of the Note 4, and features the same rectangular body with rounded corners, along with a very similar metal frame that hugs the body from all sides. At the back, we've got the same faux-leather texture, though that one shouldn't be confused with what the the Note 3 has going on -- there are no stitches here, and the pattern is different. We found that we like this one better.

Where it gets interesting is on the right side of the Edge, which is where the short, but wide display is located. It honestly looks cool, but mostly in a geeky kind of way. And while that may be a concern for some, we were actually more bothered by the challenges it presents to the normal operation of the phone. To be more specific, the Edge is just weird to hold (as you could imagine), especially if you're not a leftie. What's worse, we kept accidentally clicking on the keys on the side screen as there's very little room for our hand to rest. All said, while our initial impression was a mixed bag in terms of handling and ergonomics, we'd like to spend more time with the Edge and see if we won't get used to it.

Display


Alright, let's forget the side screen for a moment, and focus on the main one. We've got a 5.6-inch (yes, it's smaller than the Note 4's) AMOLED display with a Quad HD (1440 x 2560) resolution, good for the whopping 525 pixels per inch. We'll obviously have to wait until we can tell if Samsung did a good job calibrating the panel.

Turning to the screen on the edge of the phone, all we know for sure right now is that it makes do with 160 pixels. As for its size, our guess would be 1 inch. 

The really cool thing about the tiny screen on the edge is that it seamlessly continues the phone's wallpaper, and is obviously capable of displaying various types of information at all times. For example, you can customize it so that it holds specific app shortcuts, but the space will also be automatically filled with settings when you fire up the camera, or media controls when you have the music player on. It'll also show you your missed notifications.

Interface


There's nothing fancy going on in terms of the software powering the Galaxy Note Edge, aside, of course, from the fact that Samsung has obviously reworked some of the main apps so they can make use of the screen on the edge, and will allow third-party developers access to the same.

The Edge is powered by Android 4.4 KitKat with Samsung's proprietary TouchWiz skin on top of it. As many of you will know, the layout is extremely feature-rich, though quite a few of the extras are far from very useful. One example is the hardware heart rate monitor that is embedded next to the LED flash at the rear, though the list goes on. That said, perks like Smart Stay (screen stays on for as long as you're looking at it) and the many features that the S-Pen stylus unlocks are quite handy, so the software definitely has its strengths.

Processor and memory


The Note Edge, along with the Note 4, is on path to becoming one of the very first devices with Qualcomm's latest and greatest Snapdragon 805 chipset. The new silicon is specifically-crafted for use with ultra high-definition screens such as the one the Edge has, and handles UHD video content well. 

If you dissect the Snapdragon 805, you'll find four Krait 450 cores inside, running at 2.7 GHz, along with an Adreno 420 GPU. That last one should ensure the smooth operation of the device, despite the many, many pixels it needs to push.

As for memory, Samsung has equipped the Note Edge with the generous 3GB of LPDDR3 RAM.

Camera


Samsung has outfitted the Note Edge with the same 16-megapixel camera found on the Note 4, complete with what it calls Smart OIS. The moniker essentially indicates that the device combines the efforts of a physical Optical Image Stabilization gizmo and a software digital stabilization to produce shake-free video without any degradation in speed of delivery. OIS is also helpful in low-light environments, where even small tremors can introduce blur due to the longer exposure times needed to capture enough light.

Looking at the front, we've got a 3.7-megapixel camera that should prove more than good enough for all your selfie needs. In fact, Samsung has added a special feature that allows you to shoot selfie panoramas.

Expectations


We still don't know how Samsung will price the Note Edge, but we'd expect nothing less than having to pay top dollar for this intriguing device.

We certainly like the concept of the Edge, though we'll need more alone time with it before we can conclude if a screen on the side is actually practical, especially when it comes to ergonomics.

The Note Edge is expected to reach consumers starting this October, and we know that the four big US carriers, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint, will all carry it. As for destinations outside of the States, so far, it has been suggested that at least folks in South Korea will have access to it, and it looks like they won't be alone at all. Apparently, this thing won't be as exclusive as, say, the Galaxy Round, and that's just great.

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)

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81 Comments

1. sid8911

Posts: 54; Member since: May 29, 2010

5.6 inch*

4. CoastCity

Posts: 257; Member since: Mar 07, 2014

But but we saw that curved thing 2 years agohttp://goo.gl/0uEEW I think they sold it in Korea only

7. spin9

Posts: 310; Member since: May 31, 2014

No buts please

34. sgodsell

Posts: 7514; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

I think its really 5.7", but its curved. So you only end up with 5.6" instead.

27. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

It have A CURVED SCREEN man.

80. Immolate

Posts: 310; Member since: Jun 17, 2011

Skyrim!

13. Chris.P

Posts: 567; Member since: Jun 27, 2013

Oops.

23. turk_az

Posts: 75; Member since: May 11, 2012

dose it have power button?

32. Rishin17

Posts: 24; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Power button is at the top

47. ManusImperceptus

Posts: 724; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

On top = fail. Even Apple has moved it down now...

84. jamvin

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 09, 2014

Ever heard of double tap to wake? How about swipe to unlock? And other features.... Apple moved it down because they don't support this. :*

21. marcofluff

Posts: 4; Member since: Feb 05, 2012

What happens if you drop it how are u going to put a case on that. Im just naive thats all

22. AnTuTu

Posts: 1621; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

Sammy just killed it with all their devices today :)

39. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

Lowered expectations? You get excited by a Note 3S, a Note 3 with a wonky edge on one side that screws up apps on both the side and the main screen, a ginormous Tizen wristband, and a VR headset for an OS that has no good games to take advantage of it (No OS really has them, BTW)?

44. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

I'm glad I'm not the only one that feels that way. Why not just add the extra screen space, put the icons on the side, and not bend the screen? I don't see any added functionality to the curve whatsoever. You just have yourself one ugly looking phone. Damnit, at least make the curve bilateral! The star of the show is 50% charging in 30 minutes. This edge crap is just samsung's latest gimmick.

46. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

I agree. The addition of an "edge" display doesn't really solve a problem. One can make up problems, i.e. notifications, but any case with a preview window can provide the same limited view as an "edge". The "clock" view is interesting, but again can be solved by using a dock for the phone to make the front visible. Overall, though, I am glad Samsung went ahead and made a phone with an "edge" display. If nothing else, it will help everyone think about vertical UI which will be beneficial for the entire Android community. This is what leadership is all about.

53. Cicero

Posts: 1144; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

And the grapes are sour.

60. iushnt

Posts: 3138; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

As if your beloved Apple has made exceptional upgrades in every new generation..

64. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

I've owned every generation of the Note, all of them in multiples, as we as every generation of the Galaxy S, and most of those in multiples, so don't even try to paint me with some "either or" brush. The Note 4 is "meh," with one decent upgrade (Not Samsung's doing), and the Edge is an ergonomic nightmare that poses a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. They will both flop, and hard. The Gear S? You might as well buy a Belkin armband and strap a smartphone to your wrist. When people see the size of the thing, they will laugh. It looks redonkulous on a man's wrist, let alone a woman's. This thing is "The Edsel of Wearable Tech."

81. Immolate

Posts: 310; Member since: Jun 17, 2011

When you have a winner like the Note 3, upgrades necessarily become more subtle as time goes by. Sometimes you have to take risks to stay ahead of the competition. That said, the Note 4 has some welcome upgrades and will sell like Cracker Jacks. The Edge will attract a segment. I'm not sure if that segment will be merely significant or seriously big, but it won't be small. I'll be picking one up from Verizon when they come out, and handing my Note 3 down to the wife. We'll see which of us is right.

76. chocolaking

Posts: 495; Member since: May 22, 2012

way to go sammy, make it curve! and that's probably impossible to hold it while lying on the bed.

2. T.Law

Posts: 423; Member since: May 10, 2014

"We've got a 4.6-inch (yes, it's smaller than the Note 4's) AMOLED display" Typo eh?

3. shy2papa

Posts: 336; Member since: Jan 23, 2010

PA correction "We've got a 4.6-inch (yes, it's smaller than the Note 4's) AMOLED display with a Quad HD (1440 x 2560) resolution, good for the whopping 525 pixels per inch." 5.6 not 4.6.

5. JDeus01

Posts: 48; Member since: May 07, 2013

ugly.

68. dimas

Posts: 3394; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

And hard for gripping. Hold the right side and you'll get accidental touches.Sammy's got deep pockets investing on failed gadgets.

6. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Question: how to hold a phone????

9. hellonerds

Posts: 334; Member since: Aug 27, 2013

Left hand use mostly

45. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

Do you think they'll release one in right-handed?

83. AlikMalix unregistered

Your post is funny E.N.

12. spin9

Posts: 310; Member since: May 31, 2014

magician, prestidigitator + yogi diploma needed

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