Samsung has never been one to shy away from a challenge or a new design. We’ve seen them experiment with risky designs in the past, but we’ve never seen them go all in like they did in 2014 with the Galaxy Note Edge. This phone brought a brand new concept to phone design that both looks and feels weird, but is this a phone worth buying?
- 5.6” Inch SuperAMOLED 2560×1440 Display
- 2.7GHz Snapdragon 805 Processor
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB Internal Storage (microSD up to 128GB)
- 16MP Rear Camera w/ OIS
- 3.7MP Front Camera
- 3,000 mAh Battery (removable)
- Android 4.4 KitKat
We’ll save talking about the Edge for a little bit, and instead talk about the hardware on the Note Edge first. From the back, this phone looks nearly identical to the Galaxy Note 4. From the metal chassis to the plastic back to the protruding camera. The hardware feels great in the hand just like the Note 4 did. The only thing that I absolutely hate about the hardware on this phone is the placement of the power button. It’s on the top. The top. Of a phablet. Now I understand putting the power button on the side would have made no sense due to the Edge display, but couldn’t Samsung have just placed it on the same side as the volume rocker? Oh well, too late to change.
The Note Edge is rocking a 5.6” inch SuperAMOLED display at a resolution of 2560×1440. Like the Note 4, this is one of the best displays you can get on a smartphone today. Colors are vibrant, text is sharp, and everything just looks absolutely stunning.
When it comes to software, I’m not going to go too in depth with this segment. If you want to know what the software on the Note Edge entails, read my full Note 4 review linked here. The software is identical with only one difference, the Edge screen.
As far as specs, screen, and features, Samsung played it safe on this phone, that is until you get to the Edge. The Note Edge has a curved screen on the right side of the display that angles down from the display about halfway down the right edge of the device. This screen brings some interesting new features, and some weird new issues. So which one do you want first? The good news, or the bad news?
Let’s do good news first. The edge screen on the Note Edge has lots of fun new features that brings a lot of potential to the phone. First of all, there’s your favorite apps. When on the home screen or after your first swipe, the Note Edge will show a list of your favorite apps, determined by you of course. This list can contain up to 20 differents apps, but you can also add folders to add a few more apps. Flipping through the edge a little more reveals more panels including those for music control, a glance at important notifications and the weather, news headlines, sports scores, trending hashtags on Twitter, favorite contacts, and much more. There are also some third party panels you can download from Samsung, but only about half are actually useful. The edge’s useful features continue with personal messages when the edge isn’t in use. My favorite feature however was the night clock. This clock shows up only on the edge screen at a set time of day (up to 12 hours) for when you’re sleeping. Instead of turning on your phone and blinding yourself, the clock will just be visible alongside the date and current weather conditions. Another great feature is that incoming phone calls and notifications appear on this screen. So whether you’re watching a movie on Netflix or playing a game, you won’t be interrupted by an incoming notification.
So, what’s the bad news? First, let’s talk about what the edge does to handling the phone. This phone is not only much harder to pick up, but it’s harder to hold and perform hand gymnastics with. Adjusting the phone in my hand always made me feel like I was about to drop it and the fact that the edge was there in the first place eliminated me being able to use it with two hands while typing. Next, let’s talk about apps. Most apps play just fine with the edge screen, but some try to take advantage of it when they really shouldn’t. A prime example of this is the camera app. It moves all the buttons to the edge. No matter the orientation, this can be very annoying. In landscape it’s not bad, but in portrait I always feel like I’m going to drop the phone just by snapping a picture. I feel that this feature should stick around, but it needs to be optional. Last but not least let’s just talk about how the edge affects the software in general. If you’re not physically using the edge, the software behaves normally with only a very small portion curving off to the right side of the screen. If you are using it, then the panels on the edge tend to take up a small portion of what’s on screen. Now it’s not really enough for you not to get this phone. Don’t think that. However if you have a very low tolerance for bugs, or if you’re just OCD like me, then this might be a bit annoying for you.
The Note Edge is rocking a 16MP camera on the back with OIS just like the Galaxy Note 4. The camera optics aren’t any different, but I have attached a few photos taken with the Note Edge below for your viewing pleasure.
With the edge screen, Samsung had to remove quite a lot of things, and one I was really sad to hear about was a portion of the battery. The Note 4 has a 3,220 mAh battery which gives some pretty stellar battery life, but the Note Edge cuts down on the battery size to only 3,000 mAh. That’s still a great number, but battery life isn’t as good. It’ll get me through a day of moderate use, but I’ll only have about 15% left when I head to sleep.
For me the edge screen is the deciding factor on this phone. You’re either going to absolutely love it, or you’ll absolutely hate it. At first I really, really, hated it, but now not so much. Personally, this is not the phone for me, for a handful of reasons. First of all, the edge causes me to have less grip on the phone, it makes using the phone a little harder as accidental presses are almost constant, and really the features don’t earn the price. Depending on your carrier, the Note Edge will run you between $800 and $949 outright or $399 on a contract. If you ask me, there are very few phones that could ask for that much money, and the Note Edge isn’t one of them.