Samsung has been busy these last few years shooting out amazing smartphone after amazing smartphone. With the Note line Samsung took a different approach and decided that yes, people do want a bigger smartphone. After the original Note came out it seemed like the only thing Samsung could do was keep making the phones bigger and adding new software features. Well that was until the Note Edge was released with its slightly curved display and added software to take advantage of it. Now we stand at crossroads as to which device is better, The Note 4 or the Note Edge. The two latest iterations of the Note line.
The designs of the Note 4 and Note Edge can be better described as modern, sleek and business like. Both phones have the speaker grill centered on the top of the screen with the Samsung brand right below it. Moving to the right you get the light sensor, LED indicator and front facing camera. On the bottom you are greeted with the capacitive recent apps and return keys and the physical home button right in between them. The only real difference between the phones is the curved edged that the Note Edge has on the right side of the screen. The Note Edge and Note 4 are both surrounded by a metallic ring on the sides that makes them true premium phones and a pleasure to hold.
The backsides of the two titan phones are both covered in Samsung’s faux leather material. This made the Note Edge and Note 4 easy to hold use. Both their cameras, which we will address in more detail later on, are centered on the upper hand corner of the phones with the LED flash right beneath it. Right below that you get the carrier branding which in my case are the AT&T logo for the note Edge and the Verizon Wireless logo on the Note 4. The speakers are located on the bottom left hand corner and I found that both phones provided clear and pleasurable sound. You won’t be using them as your go to music setup but if are alone somewhere and just need to hear your class notes you recorded, these speakers will get the job done.
Both the Note 4 and Note Edge have a 2.7 GHz quad-core processor, have 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage. If you feel like 32 GB is a measly amount then fortunately for you both phones offer microsd card support up to 128 GB of additional storage. The Note 4 does have a slight upper hand depending on your country and carrier as it also has a 1.9 octa core processor model. Both phones are monsters when it comes down to internal hardware. With so much power it was a slight surprise to see a minimal amount of lag but that can be attributed to the TouchWiz skinned launcher that comes on both phones. That was quickly fixed though by going into the developer setting and lowering the animation speeds to .5.
Moving on to what makes Samsung’s Note line so interesting, the S Pen. Both phones have the iconic stylus pen sheathed on the bottom right of the phone where it is safely secured so you don’t accidentally lose it. Taking out the S Pen requires a small amount of effort which just reinforced the fact that the stylus is secured in place with no intentions of coming out when you go for a run or are talking on the phone. Both pens are almost identical except for the color. The Note 4 sticks with a dark grey color scheme and the Note Edge a white color scheme.
The Note 4 and Note Edge differ only slightly where the display is concerned. The Note 4 comes with a 5.7 QHD Super AMOLED display while the Note Edge has a 5.6 QHD Super AMOLED screen. As you can see the only difference is that the Note 4 has a .1 bigger screen size compared to that of the Note Edge. Both phones utilize Samsung’s famous Super AMOLED display technology which made the displays stunning to look at. Colors were vibrant and blacks were rich and deep. Stepping outside I was able to keep using my phone with the sun shining down without having to turn up the brightness all the way up. This is a great plus for me as I tend to run around a lot and having to mess around with the brightness settings is always a hassle.
Now lets take a look at the frame of the display itself. Samsung took a very different approach when it came to designing the screen of the Note Edge. Instead of keeping with the flat square look of modern smartphones they opted instead to form a slight curve on the right side of the screen. I was a bit surprised when it was announced and now having used it I can say that it is, different. Not bad per say, but neither good. During my review period I found that it was basically a place to place the bottom dock. So now instead of all your icons being on the bottom they are on the curved side. I must say that I did not care for it in the beginning but I began to warm up to it as time went on. It really is one of those things that you are either going to like or hate.
The Note 4 has a 3220 mAh battery while the Note Edge has a slightly smaller 3000 mAh battery. Both phones are going to last you through the day with moderate usage but I was able to get some more life out of the Note Edge by an hour or so. The difference is not enough to really be enough to sway you one way or the other but still worth noting..
Camera wise, both smartphones performed as a smartphone camera should. For the rear shooter you are given a 16 MP camera with OIS on both phones and on the front a 3.7 MP camera. The Note 4 and Note Edge were both able to take some great stills both indoors and out. Video came out clear and crisp with just a bit of grain noticeable when taking videos on darker settings. As the old adage goes, the best camera is the one you have on you. Both cameras took great stills and videos are going to be able to satisfy all but the most hardcore photographers.
The Note Edge and Note 4 run Android 4.4 Kitkat with the TouchWiz interface on top. Samsung is known for the various amounts of software that it includes with its smartphones and most of it is quite nice. Starting off with the most noticeable apps you are given S Health, S Voice and S Note. S Health is for all of you health junkies out there that like to keep all of your health goals under one app. Here you will find the ability to track your steps, running speed and health rate among other things. The S Note is of course for use with the S Pen. I really like the fact that you can bring up the S Note app to make quick memos by pulling out the Pen and pressing the button on the side. That way you are always able to take quick notes when inspiration hits or you need to jot down your grocery list really fast. The S Note app has many other little abilities that are there to help you stay organized though I can’t really say you are likely to use them all. It is nice to have options though. Then you have the S Voice app. It is basically a voice activated assistant that can take various voice commands to complete simple tasks. You can bring up apps, play music, send a text message and make phone calls. Basically Google voice, with a Samsung twist to it.
You also have the multi-window ability that became one of the staples of owning a Samsung Android smartphone. That way you can watch that funny YouTube video everyone is talking about while at the same time letting everyone know you are watching it so you remain in the loop and cool. Motion Gestures are still present and allow you to answer your phone, silence it and other neat things just by moving the device.
As you probably have noticed by now, the Note Edge and Note 4 are basically the same device with a different name and some very minute differences. The only real thing that differentiates the phones are the slightly bigger screen and battery on the Note 4 and the curved display on the Note Edge. Neither phone is better than the other one as they were both made to be similar but with different users in mind. So it really is going to be a matter of preference rather that which is faster or better.