Samsung Galaxy Note Edge vs Samsung Galaxy S5: first look


Come on, is there anybody whose jaw didn't drop as Samsung revealed not one, but two Galaxy Note phablets at IFA, and one of them looked unlike anything else on the wide open market. The Galaxy Note Edge presents a special and strange treat – its curved QHD screen puts your thumb at the cutting edge of technology, all while providing the familiar and notable Galaxy Note experience. To illustrate how far Samsung has leaped just six months after unleashing the Galaxy S5, we put the two together for a comparison. Enjoy!

Design

The Galaxy Note Edge is uncanny but classy; the Galaxy S5 functional, but dull.

The Galaxy Note Edge and Galaxy S5 come from different galaxies. Obviously, the first one has that uncanny curved right edge - it looks like a Galaxy Note 4 prototype that escaped out of an laboratory, while the Galaxy S5 is a regular, functional Samsung smartphone. Even though they have the same parents, the Note Edge represents a refined design, decorated with an aluminum frame and finished with a conservative faux leather back without dimples or fake stitching. The Galaxy S5's all-plastic build is quite dull in comparison. It was the lukewarm reaction it got from critics and consumers that forced Samsung to discover metal.

Being a larger-screen phone, the Galaxy Note Edge's dimensions of 5.96 x 3.24 x 0.33 inches (151.3 x 82.4 x 8.3 mm), 6.14 oz (174 g) are, understandably, more hand-straining than the Galaxy S5's manageable 5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches (142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm), 5.11 oz (145 g). Yet, Samsung gave the Galaxy Note Edge slim bezels... or should we say, a slim bezel. But this phone is about the edge, and said edge is placed so your thumb reaches comfortably to interact with it. Perhaps curved displays will eliminate bezels altogether in the non-distant future, making them a functional part of the smartphone. What if they break, though? We'll see.

Display

Both smartphones present the pinnacles of Samsung's display engineering.

The Galaxy Note Edge's 5.6-inch curved QHD screen is the pinnacle of Samsung's display efforts. In fact, we believe the main reason Samsung put the Note Edge for sale is to showcase its ability to produce and market such a forward-looking, oddball device. That's quite the statement of power. Curvature aside, the Note Edge has one of the very best QHD displays available on the market, with is brightness, saturation, color accuracy and viewing angles surpassing competing solutions such as LG and Oppo's. As for the Galaxy S5, its 5.1-inch screen is one of the most highly regarded 1080p displays of 2014, performing great across all major fields and having the very welcome option to tweak the colors if you find them overblown.

Interface

The Galaxy Note Edge bends TouchWiz to its will.

Seeing that both smartphones run Samsung's TouchWiz interface, the room for comparison is close to zero... or is it? Remember the curved screen? Samsung tweaked the interface to support the Galaxy Note Edge by literally putting shortcuts, control buttons, and other essential, but distracting elements away from the content in the center screen. Thus, your eyes remain focused on the experience, without your thumb getting in the way... or at least not as much as it used to in the flat-screened past. Another key differentiator is the S-Pen functionality, which is the Galaxy Note series's bread and butter. Otherwise, TouchWiz is mostly identical between the Galaxy Note Edge and the Galaxy S5 - it's styled in pretty blue, it has more apps and features than a child math prodigy can count, and lets one lose themselves in its menus. TouchWiz might be overwhelming and visually inconsistent, but riding on it never fails to give that thrill of discovery.

Here's a gallery of photos showing what's going on where the Note Edge's right bezel could have resided:

Processor and memory

There's nothing that can stop theяе phone in their tracks at the moment.

The edgy new Galaxy Note's Western market edition runs on the latest and greatest in 32-bit mobile processing, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 2.7GHz processor. Paired with its fast Adreno 420 graphics unit and a hearty 3GB of RAM, it's safe to say there's nothing that can stop the phone in its tracks at the moment, and for the foreseeable future. Comparatively, the Galaxy S5 runs on the slightly older Snapdragon 801 CPU with its Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. It still remains an excellent performer, though, as it's not tasked with pushing as much pixels as the edgy Note. And seeing that both smartphones are very well spec'd out considering their usage scenarios, not under-or-overpowered in any way, we expect both to deliver the satisfactory battery life Samsung's flagship devices have.

Camera

Both phones are high-end cameraphones. But you can control one of them from its screen's edge!

The Galaxy Note Edge and Galaxy Note S5 sport identical 16-megapixel main cameras, with the former sporting a 3.7MP front cam, and the latter having a 2MP one. Both phones are high-end cameraphones that take excellent photos and are rich in extras. They are capable of recording videos in up to a 4K resolution, and are very fast to focus and take photos. A significant difference, however, is the inclusion of optical image stabilization in the Galaxy Note Edge, which is superior to the Galaxy S5's digital stabilization in every way. And, of course, the Note Edge offers the novel experience of controlling the camera interface from its curved screen edge.

Expectations

We wouldn't expect current happy owners of the Galaxy S5 to go rushing towards the novelty.

We wouldn't expect current happy owners of the Galaxy S5 to go rushing towards the novelty that is the Galaxy Note Edge, but who knows? Facing tougher competition and harder times impressing its audience with its products, Samsung is looking to innovate and re-invent its safe approach to smartphones by throwing in new design paradigms along with cutting-edge technologies. Thus, the Galaxy Note Edge is a very capable device that will certainly find its niche if Samsung markets it properly. As for the Galaxy S5, it won't be very long before it becomes to the Galaxy S6 what the Galaxy S4 is now to the S5.


Related phones

Galaxy Note Edge
  • Display 5.6 inches 2560 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP (Single camera) 3.7 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 3GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh
  • OS Android 5.1 Lollipop
Galaxy S5
  • Display 5.1 inches 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP (Single camera) 2.1 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 2800 mAh
  • OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow Samsung TouchWiz UI

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