Samsung Galaxy Note FE (Fan Edition) Review
The Samsung Galaxy Note Fan Edition needs no introduction. In fact, no device we can think of has garnered more visibility while its actual release was so limited in size and scope. The Galaxy Note FE could arguably be tagged as a simple reincarnation of the Note 7, and that is certainly a valid observation.
Samsung chose to refurbish a large selection of returned devices. Using salvageable components from the beleaguered Note 7 series, Samsung was able to reduce gross waste, and even extract materials that could be put to use in other products.
During the time that was taken to tear-down, reclaim, and recycle all the returned stock, Samsung continued to make progress with its other smartphone products, particularly with its flagship Galaxy S-series. The end-result, by making only two significant changes, Samsung made something that is actually a little more, and a little less, than what the Note 7 was.
Still elegant in 2017
The Note FE has the exact dimensions and physical design of its predecessor, making it a two-handed device. The only visual cues that this is a different model are the lack of the Samsung logo under the earpiece, and the name of the device on the back.
Outside of that, even though it is “last year’s” design, the Note FE feels great in the hand, and the symmetrical motif with the sharp curves in the display and rear glass back plate blend nicely into a subtly noticeable metal frame. In all, the design fits nicely into what we have seen so far in 2017. The color options for the Note FE are the same as was available last year, black, silver, gold, and coral blue, with the latter still among our favorite color schemes, the light blue touch contrasts perfectly with the copper metal frame.
Design features are otherwise unchanged from last year, due to the remanufactured nature of the Note FE. That is not a bad thing, the materials are all top notch, Gorilla Glass 5 protects the display and backplate, and water resistance is still present, with the Note FE packing an IP68 water and dust resistance rating, allowing the device to survive up to 30 minutes in as deep as 5 feet of water.
Bright and bold, the Note FE’s AMOLED panel will not disappoint
With 2K resolution, the Note FE carries on with Samsung’s penchant for making vivid AMOLED displays. Though, the 16:9 ratio is arguably an outlier among flagships this year, the arrangement makes sense for a device with a suite of functionality baked-in to utilize the S-Pen. Even with momentum of big-ticket video media making the push to a narrower aspect ratio, like 2:1, the 5.7-inch has plenty of room to let you take it all in.
With the new Samsung Experience UI, the resolution is set to FHD by default. In addition to kicking the pixels into high gear at 1440 x 2560, you can also opt for the more battery and processor friendly HD of 720 x 1280. That noted, users will be able to discern subtle differences in UI fluidity when changing resolution settings, but after the initial switch, you still have to look closely to really see the difference overall.
In addition to being able to swap through resolution settings, Samsung lets you switch between different screen modes that adjust the color characteristics of the display. The default setting is “Adaptive display,” which tends to bring you all the color, indeed, saturation is pretty high, maybe too high for some users. “AMODEL cinema” places the display in a mode suitable to playing HDR10 video. “AMOLED photo” puts settings in the Adobe RGB color space, and “Basic” places colors in the standard sRGB scheme, which is arguably the best option, but beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. On this unit, the “Adaptive display” pumps up all the color to “11,” while “AMOLED photo” seems to deliver the best all-around balance.