When we first had our hands on the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, we immediately felt like we had our hands on something innovative that had the potential to change the smartphone market. First impressions can sometimes be misleading, but after using the device for about a week now – while we still absolutely love the device we recognize this is a stepping stone to the future rather than a smartphone that changes everything. The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is a great top end device, so let’s get into the details.
The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge features a 5.6-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display what offers 1440p resolution. The screen is bright and performs exceptionally well in both bright and dark conditions, and everything looks incredibly vibrant. It also features the “Edge”, a 2560×160 pixel vertical screen on the curve that offers a unique interface along with notifications and quick menu. Together, these two work perfectly to create an experience that is fluid, well organized and simple to use. We expected to have to ‘get used to’ the Edge, but it turned out to be far more fluid an experience than we expected.
Naturally, the initial though is whether the Edge is a gimmick or not – and while it may seem so on the surface, after experiencing it, it will be hard to live without it. The Edge is a stepping stone towards a flexible display, perhaps a screen that could ‘roll’ out into tablet size, or be entirely flexible to better fit in your pocket. But for now, the Edge just makes the experience of using the Note much more fluid. The best part about the Edge is how you can leave it on your desk and get every notification without having to turn on your entire phone display, saving both battery and time picking up/unlocking and swiping down to view what’s going on. Unfortunately, for those left handers this device will not play well for you as it is certainly oriented towards right handed users – for now. (See Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge).
The battery is a 3000mAh quick-charging battery, we found that after a full days use which included YouTube, taking pictures and video, browsing, using GPS to travel, and both social media and email updates – a standard day for most active people, we would generally get home with between 20-30% battery remaining. Never felt worried about usage or wondered if we should have a charging cable on us. While a larger battery would certainly be fantastic, it stood up exceptionally well. With the quick charging battery, you can get your battery up to about 50% in half an hour, which is a welcome feature.
The camera on the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is in a word – fantastic. The rear 16MP (and 3.7MP front camera) take some really great snaps without a lot of work to plan out a shot. With Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), your pictures are clear with zero noise. Additionally, with the cameras controls placed on the curved Edge, it gives you more real estate to see the exact picture you’re taking. The auto focus is very quick to respond, pictures shoot very quickly and come out clear. It also has different modes including ‘rear cam selfie’, Selective Focus, Panorama and the ability to download other camera modes that you may want including a fish eye type called Surround, Animated, Sports, Sequence, Sound+Shot, and a mode exclusively for the foodies called ‘Food’. There’s also a ton of other options to get the best clarity, exposure, tones and other elements of your photos. In terms of video, you’ll enjoy the ability to shoot 4K at 60FPS!
Like the Note 4, the Note Edge includes their S-Pen stylus built into the body. The S-Pen allows you to do a ton of things on the Note Edge that you wouldn’t be able to do with just your fingers including the quick ability to use your handwriting, take notes, edit images, take a screencap and immediately let you add your own commentary to it, edit images, draw and much more. At 2048 touch points sensitivity, artists can really add different strokes based on how much pressure they put on the screen. All that said, while some of these features are incredible – the average user probably won’t use them. Not yet anyway. It’s something that may catch on in the future, and like the Edge is a stepping stone to things coming down the line.
When it comes to video or gaming, the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge performs exceptionally well. Video is beautiful and clear, gaming is fast and vibrant – with heavier game there is some minor frame rate drops but it’s barely noticeable. Samsung Gifts offers some fantastic free apps, including 50GB of Dropbox space. Samsung has included KNOX 2.0 built in, which ensures that your device and data are safely and secure on the device, a welcome addition in an increasingly insecure world. Samsung’s Health application is built in which offers the user the ability to check their heart rate via a sensor in the camera flash (placing a finger on it while it reads your heartbeat), check Sp02 levels, and some fitness tracking – mainly pedometer along with connecting to a device like the Samsung Gear. Unfortunately, the Samsung Health doesn’t connect with food trackers like MyFitnessPal, instead relying on their own proprietary tracker. Lastly, the speaker on the Edge is very strong and loud, though we wish it had two speakers like the Galaxy Tab S does, however that’s asking a lot from a smartphone
Network: 3G (HSPA+ 42Mbps) 850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz + 4G (LTE Cat 4 150/50Mbps) OR 4G (LTE Cat 6 300/50Mbps)
Display: 5.6 inch (141.9mm) Quad HD+ Super AMOLED (2560 x 1440 + 160)
OS: Android 4.4.4 (Android 5 could be coming.)
Camera: Rear Facing: 16 Mega pixel Auto Focus camera with Smart OIS AND Front Facing: 3.7 Mega pixel camera with f1.9
Video: H.264, MPEG-4, H.263, VC-1, WMV7, WMV8, Sorenson Spark, MP43, VP8
S-Pen: Air Command: Action Memo, Screen Write, Image Clip, Smart Select, S Note, Photo Note, Direct Pen Input
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1, ANT+, IR LED, USB 2.0, MHL 3.0
Sensors: Gesture, Accelerometer, Geo-magnetic, Gyroscopre, RGB, IR-LED, Proximity, Barometer, Hall Sensor, Finger Scanner, UV, Heart Rate MOnitor, Sp02
Memory: 32GB internal, MicroSD Slot up to 128GB
Battery: 3000mAh Fast Charging Li-ion Battery