Unique? It indeed is. But not wholly as a package, as the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is unique with only the curved right edge that hosts a display extending from the front. Otherwise, it is the Galaxy Note 4 with almost everything being the same, from the Quad HD display, to the S Pen. The Galaxy Note Edge isn’t for everyone, but for geeks who love to do more than just the standard usage.
The curved side display comes with loads of options, and the panel can be changed with combinations of app shortcuts, settings or even can show the time and notifications when the phone is idle. A perfect one because you don’t really have to wake the entire screen for checking the time, or to go through the notifications. But, lets just talk about the device on initial use.
Design wise, except for the curved edge on the right, the Note Edge is exactly similar to the Note 4, with faux leather back, plastic front and the metallic side frame with the brushed look. The S Pen is there as well, with that being embedded in the bottom back. The metallic frame continues just behind the curved edge, and that is where it gets a smooth roundish edge, to give a good grip. With no space on the right, the power button is pushed to the top, quite appropriate for the reason that it is easier to press a button on the top when the size of the device is huge.
The volume rocker button stays on the left, and both these buttons are good at feel with tactile response on pressing. On the top, there is a headset jack, an IR blaster and a secondary mic. The bottom frame has dual microphones and the MicroUSB port, and the back comes with a similar combination to what you see on the Note 4 – a 16-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and a heart rate sensor. Obvious that the entire device cannot be made thicker to match the thickness of the camera sensor, thus you see a protruded camera on the back. The speaker grill is located towards the bottom, and the S Pen pocket is in the bottom, with enough space to place your fingernail and pull the S Pen out.
The front comes with the sensors, front camera and earpiece on the top and standard home button with finger scanner in the bottom, on the either side of which there are touch-based navigation buttons. The remaining space on the front above and below the display is all filled up by thin lines, just like they were in the Galaxy Note 4.
What is the most interesting here, is the curved edge. But it’s too early to conclude about its functionality and issues. There is obviously an issue that we notice, with the side display being touched unintentionally when the screen is active and you are trying to lift the device. But there are many functions and interface tweaks that Samsung has made to make the user experience better. The edge has 160 pixels for itself, and that is enough space to touch any of the shortcuts or settings easily. The touch response is great, and it feels too smooth on the curvy edge while pulling down the strip of quick settings from the top.
TouchWiz won’t impress much, but it is getting better and better, and we did see tons of changes in the Galaxy S5, from the previous flagship models. Samsung is continuing with this new design structure, but you still might not feel well adjusted to it, if you are a geek looking for intuitive features and options. But if you are looking for a simple one, TouchWiz has never been confusing.
Samsung calls the curved display as “Edge screen”, and there are several panels one can set and choose to show up in the edge screen. For example, you can choose to have the S Health stats, Favorite websites, Notifications with weather info, Emergency alerts and more. Samsung even offers the user to download more panels, if these aren’t enough. Good thing that it isn’t limited, and I’m sure once the developers get a hold of this, exciting stuff will be seen ahead.
The phone is swift in performance on initial use, and the display is bright and good, as it has been the case with AMOLED displays on Samsung smartphones. The camera as well doesn’t disappoint, and we’d be doing a camera review very soon. The availability of the Galaxy Note Edge still remains limited, and we are testing the one available in Japan, through NTT Docomo.
So far, the Galaxy Note Edge is a classic device, and one of its kind. The curved edge has a lot to say, and everything else in the Edge is high-end and you already know how powerful the Galaxy Note 4 is, the Note Edge is no different.