Samsung’s Note Edge isn’t like anything you’ve seen in mobile. Devices like the Galaxy Round and G Flex have come close. But rather than having a slight curve that serves no real purpose, Samsung’s phone tries to add some utility in a more interesting way. It’s an idea that seems like it was plucked right out of a Hollywood movie, and we’re still not sure what to make of it.
If you’ve already used the Note 4, the Note Edge will immediately feel familiar; you get the same specs, the same strong build, S Pen support, and chamfered edges that glisten under bright light. But obviously it’s that second screen that makes the Note Edge so different. The entire right side gently slopes down to meet the back of the device, introducing an entirely new element to the experience. It’s something that will attract a lot of curious bystanders.
Despite sharing a lot of the Note 4’s DNA, however, the Edge is slightly smaller, featuring a 5.6-inch screen rather than a 5.7-inch display; the extra curved panel adds an extra 160 pixels of width, though that space is generally used for second screen information. For example, when you’re in an application (like YouTube), that extra 160 pixel space will be a dedicated space that allows you to quickly access app shortcuts, settings, sports scores and more.
The appeal is that the second screen feeds you information without obstructing what’s on the main screen. So I can be browsing the Web or watching Netflix while sports scores (or stocks, weather, music controls and more) scroll across the Edge display. Almost the way your smartwatch is designed to continuously feed you notifications and other important information, that’s essentially the purpose the second screen serves (so far).
The implementation is great, and it all seems to work well in our early testing. But I’d rather have a more feature-rich widget living on my screen instead. (Isn’t that what widgets are for?)
Although the design is unique and weird, the Edge is a little awkward to hold and use. First off, it’s a bummer that the power button is now on the top of the device. We’ve gotten so used to having it on the side where your thumb naturally rests, but compromises had to be made in order to accommodate the curved display. It also feels strange in the hand—not bad strange, just strange. The pronounced curve doesn’t allow you to grip the device as securely as you would the Note 4. Not a particularly troubling flaw, but something worth noting.
We haven’t spent nearly enough time with the Note Edge to give you a final opinion, but these are just some initial thoughts on the device. We give credit to Samsung for trying something new and different, even if there doesn’t seem like any immediate use for the edge screen. One of the best uses we can see for it is Samsung’s Night clock, which essentially acts as a bedside alarm clock so you can quickly glance at the time. You can also manage the many different panels, and you can download more, though there aren’t a ton at the moment.
Because the Note Edge is so new and odd, it requires you to form new smartphone habits that accomodate the second display. Sure, you can use the device as you would a Note 4, and that’s a perfectly acceptable way to go about it. But ultimately there needs to be some justification for that second display to exist outside of just a cool factor. We’ll be figuring out whether the Note Edge is actually useful as we use it more for our full review.
Samsung knows how to make an entrance. Although the company’s Note 4 will be the talk of the town this holiday season, folks are buzzing about the Note Edge, which comes with a screen that curves likes a David Beckham…
Samsung’s Galaxy Note Edge shares a fair bit of DNA with the Note 4, both internally and externally. But the Edge differs in one very obvious way: the right side of the screen gracefully slopes down, giving the device some…