Samsung Galaxy Note EDGE Review and Specification: Price In UK £650.00

Like the Galaxy Note 4, the Galaxy Note EDGE packs something of a punch. But is the curved OLED display useful or just more gimmickry?


Typical Price: 
AWESOME display; Great Design; High-end specs; Great battery life; S-Pen is just fantastic in its fourth iteration; Plenty of storage; Unique curved OLED panel
Not ideal for southpaws; Curved OLED aspect is limited to Samsung apps; Handset's a bit on the pricy side
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 was awesome and the Galaxy Note EDGE is essentially the same deal, just with a funky new display. We LOVE this phone, although given its price a lot of people might be better off with its less-eccentric launch partner...
Samsung likes to be first to market with EVERYTHING. It was first with a phablet, first with asmartphone and stylus combo, first with a smartwatch and now it is one of the first to release a phone with a beautiful HD curved OLED panel. A lot of Samsung’s 2013/14 offerings have been, well, a bit meh. But the latter part of the year saw the company return to form with the release of a couple of rather exceptional handsets in the form of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.
But anybody that watched the launch of the Galaxy Note 4 will know there is another Note handset in the mix, one with a curved OLED display that goes by the name of the Samsung Galaxy Note EDGE. And we’ve been putting it through the paces for the past week or so in order to find out if it actually is worth more money than the already excellent Samsung Galaxy Note 4? 
The Samsung Galaxy Note EDGE is a proof of concept, a means for Samsung to be able to say, “Hey, look what we’ve done!” And that’s great –– we need more conceptual stuff in tech. But here’s the thing: the handset itself is bloody brilliant, bringing nearly everything that made the Note 4 great and adding in a few extra bits for good measure.

Samsung Galaxy Note EDGE Review: Design 

Samsung is enjoying something of a renaissance of late, with pretty much back-to-back solid releases for the latter part of 2014. First came the Galaxy Alpha, a solid handset that, for all intents and purposes, is the handset the Galaxy S5 should have been all along. Then came the Galaxy Note 4, yet another HUGE step forwards for the company’s indomitable Note brand. And last but by no means least is the Galaxy Note EDGE, essentially the Galaxy Note 4 with a twist (or an edge, if you prefer puns).
Launched alongside the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the EDGE has been surrounded in mystery ever since with many assuming it’d only see the light of day in Korean markets, as has been the case with other releases from the phone maker. A lot of the reasons for this were to do with its OLED panel and the production constraints associated with building it… this is why the handset, despite being widely available in the UK, is still considered a limited edition unit. 
Moving forwards, Samsung seems keen to impress on all that it can now build these types of displays in larger quantities, which is good news for consumers and even better news for Samsung's additional business dealings a display-maker for hire. 

Like the Galaxy Note 4, the Note EDGE is a very well put together handset. It’s slightly smaller than the Note 4, although not by much, and feels similarly robust and well weighted in the hand. Samsung knows how to do phablets, and both the Note 4 and, by proxy, the Note EDGE show just how far the company has come in the past couple of years. EVERYTHING has been refined and the end result is one of the best big smartphone experiences money can buy. 

The EDGE features metallic edging just like the Alpha and measures at a respectable 151.3 x 82.4 x 8.3 mm. It feels premium in the hand and, because of its careful design attributes, is also pretty easy to use one handed. Next to Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus (my daily driver), the Galaxy Note EDGE feels A LOT more manageable. For instance, I felt perfectly comfortable whipping it out my pocket while on the move and using it with one-hand* (and this is definitely not the case with Apple’s phablet, as noted in our iPhone 6 Plus Review).
*That's what she said!

In the grand scheme of things, the Note EDGE is basically the Galaxy Note 4, just with a fancy new curved OLED display. The specs, hardware and overall design are pretty much identical. The only USP here is that curved OLED, which, I might add, is done beautifully aboard this handset. The EDGE is coming to the UK, but it will be a limited edition unit, meaning not everybody will be able to get their hands on one –– and even those that do will likely pay quite a premium for the pleasure compared to the cost of the Galaxy Note 4. 
Now that’s out the way, lets get down to business and talk about this device’s BIG USP –– the display. 

Samsung Galaxy Note EDGE Review: Display 

And what a display it is –– nothing else I’ve seen this year comes close. The blacks are void-like, the colours vivid, and the contrast and viewing angles are excellent. And then you have the curved element on the right hand side, which slopes down to create a secondary display for additional screen options like folders, app controls, personalised messages, and ticker-style notifications. I’ll be the first to admit the EDGE looks like a gimmick phone, but after using it for a while a strange thing happened; I started to “get it” –– and that never happens with Samsung’s usual gimmicks (hello, EVERYTHING that shipped inside the Galaxy S4). 

What’s even more interesting about this curved OLED display, however, is that Samsung is rumoured to be packing one on the front (and sides) of next year’s Galaxy S6; only that handset will apparently have two curved edges instead one. Either way, the EDGE is here and it really is an excellent conduit for showing off just how good Samsung is at displays. Whether or not curved OLED panels become a mainstream thing in mobile (we think they will) is sort of beside the point, because even without the EDGE, the display by itself is still bloody spectacular.  
As noted earlier, the EDGE’s panel is slightly smaller than the Galaxy Note 4’s 5.6in setup, but the extra curved bit on the right hand side does add in an extra 160 vertical pixels, which translates into a 16:10 aspect ratio at 2550 x 1600 pixels. With the pixel density you’re looking at a pant-soiling 524ppi, making the EDGE’s display setup one of the most advanced panels currently in existence in the mobile space. 
So, What Can You Do With The EDGE?
At the moment, not that much… but lets not forget this is a limited edition handset. As of right now, the edge on the EDGE is limited to core Samsung applications –– things like the Messages and the Camera app, for instance. It could, of course, be opened to third-party developers in the future but even then it’d be unlikely many would actually bother updating their applications for such a niche product –– regardless of whether it is widely available or not.

On the home screen, you can assign applications, shortcuts and folders to the EDGE. In the case of Folders, as you can see below, these are easily viewable on the display despite its bent nature. And when you tap the Folder it goes into full screen mode on the main portion of the display. Ditto for shortcuts and widgets and whatever else you have stashed in there. It also does notifications too, although you do have to read them sideways.
The EDGE becomes handy when you’re inside other applications, however, because you can quickly bring up the shortcuts to other applications installed on your phone and switch between the two. In certain applications, say, the camera app, for instance, the EDGE houses software keys for things like the shutter. Alternatively, if you open up a music playback application the play, pause and skip keys are stored within the bent portion of the panel, giving you quick and easy access to controls. 
The curved OLED has a few additional neat tricks –– it can pull in what’s trending on Twitter, for instance –– that might come in useful to some people, but for the most part it is only Samsung’s core applications (stuff like S-Health) which truly take advantage of the curved portion of the display. Samsung has opened an official EDGE application store, but there’s literally sweet FA in there, so for the time being you’re stuck with core TouchWiz stuff like S-Health and S-Calendar.  

And because this is a Note device, you also get a stylus –– or, an S-Pen, if you want to get technical. As on the Note 4, Samsung’s fourth-generation S-Pen is fantastically well executed, and is about as close to scribbling on paper as you’re likely to get on a mobile device. The S-Pen also takes advantage of the EDGE by moving all the usual editing and highlight options over to the curved bit of the display, giving you more screen real-estate to work with. 
And if that wasn’t enough, Samsung has also built a ruler, flashlight, timer and voice recorder directly into the curved aspect of the EDGE (these are accessed by swiping down from the top of the EDGE’s column). Plop it on your bedside table at night and the EDGE component doubles as an alarm clock while the main portion of the display sleeps. 

Galaxy Note 4 Android 5.0 Lollipop Showcased

It's not strictly Note Edge news per se, but as the Note Edge is essentially a Note 4 with a funky curved edging it doesn't seem unreasonable to assume they'll be getting similar software builds. Indeed, so far we've seen leaked Lollipop software using Samsung's new TouchWiz UI for the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, and Galaxy Note 3, and so far there have been a lot of similarities not just with each other, but with the existing TouchWiz UI found on current KitKat devices - it's not a massive changeover.
We do know, at least, that the new interface will see the introduction of Google's card-like features, such as the notifications panel and multitasking overlay. Anyway, point is, a video has now leaked showcasing the Lollipop software on a Galaxy Note 4, and it gives us a glimpse of what we can probably expect for the Galaxy Note Edge. Check out the video from SamMobile below:

Samsung Galaxy Note EDGE Review: Specs, CPU And Connectivity 

The EDGE is based on the Galaxy Note 4 and is therefore largely the same with regards to specs. You still get that uber-powerful Snapdragon 805 quad-core CPU clocked at 2.7GHz, 3GB of RAM, and a 16MP camera with OIS, as well as microSD support up to 128GB alongside either 16GB or 32GB of internal storage.
There are a couple of caveats, however: the display is slightly smaller on the EDGE and the battery isn’t quite as large at 3000mAh. With connectivity, you have all the usual bells and whistles –– Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, DLNA, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac –– as well as support for ultra-fast LTE-A 4G speeds, which will soon become the norm in the UK thanks to EE’s expanding rollout of its LTE-A services. 
Generally speaking though, like the Galaxy Note 4, the Galaxy Note EDGE is a supremely powerful handset that ships with an excellent camera and plenty of additional features besides. I really do like Samsung’s S-Health, for instance, as it presents certain metrics (steps and calories) in a very simple manner, unlike Apple’s Health app, which I tend to find slightly hard work.
In addition to this you get 50GB of Dropbox storage when you first sign-in, as well as Android KitKat 4.4.4 (although an update to Android Lollipop is planned before the close of the year), and other useful things like MHL and active noise cancelation inside the microphone for better call quality.  

Samsung Galaxy Note EDGE Review: Camera

I tested the EDGE’s camera pretty extensively, building up a repertoire of different types of images captured in a variety of settings. As usual, I was more than impressed by the Samsung’s imaging prowess. However, I sent the bloody phone back without getting the image samples off it –– something I’ve literally NEVER done in the past. So, yeah, I’m feeling slightly stupid now.
Nevertheless, I can at least fill you in on some of my findings about the Galaxy Note EDGE’s imaging capabilities. Like a lot of the device, the camera is exactly the same setup aboard the Galaxy Note 4, meaning you have a Sony-built 16MP rear shooter with OIS and a 3.5MP unit on the front for selfies. Image quality is excellent with zero noise and rapid focus. Images captured with little to no effort have a satisfying vibrancy and high level of detail. The resulting shots also look AMAZING on the EDGE’s awesome OLED panel.
As per usual, you get Samsung’s excellent camera application, which is fast becoming one of our favourite on market, a variety of different shooting modes, including HDR and Panorama as well as a multitude of filters and editing options for putting the final touches to your shots. The EDGE’s shooter is great at macro shots and can produce some outstanding results in gloomy, low-light thanks to the increased exposure time born from its latent OIS capabilities. Like the Galaxy Note 4, the EDGE can also shoot 4K video. 
I’m just gutted I don’t have any photo samples to share with you. However, for a basic idea of the type of performance you’ll get do check out the camera section in our Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review. Fingers crossed I can source another review unit for picture samples! 

Samsung Galaxy Note EDGE Review: Battery

Despite being smaller, the EDGE’s battery performed more or less the same as its bigger brother’s. It managed a full day of heavy use with plenty of juice left in the tank. In our Django Test, the EDGE scored an impressive 76% (the Galaxy Note 4 only did marginally better with 78%), meaning you’re not likely to notice much of a difference with respect to battery performance in your day-to-day.

Samsung Galaxy Note EDGE Review: Verdict 

I loved the Galaxy Note 4 and the Galaxy Note EDGE is basically the Galaxy Note 4 with a funky display. For me this is just an added bonus, like getting a bowl of ice cream and then crushing a KitKat chunky on top of it, the EDGE is a nice addition to an already very attractive package. And while many may view the addition of a curved OLED panel as superfluous, it does add in a few neat tricks that, after using the phone for a couple of weeks, I actually became rather fond of –– but, again, that’s just me. The more cynical amongst us might find it completely useless. 
Either way, the EDGE is a superb handset (just like its stable mate) so whichever one you go for you’re guaranteed to be satisfied with the combination of features, next-level performance and gorgeous display technology that’s on offer inside either device. Lets just hope Samsung continues this run of form into 2015 for the update to 2014’s Samsung Galaxy S5. 

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Available On Vodafone Contracts

Vodafone has just revealed its contract deals for Samsung’s quirky Galaxy Note Edge handset.
The phablet device, which features a unique curved edge display along one side, can be had as part of Vodafone’s Red XL plan for an up-front cost of £49 and £58.50 per month, this includes unlimited minutes and texts, plus 10GB of mobile data AND a choice of bundled-in subscription package to either Now TV, Sky Sports, or Spotify for the duration of the contract.
A limited-time offer will also allow buyers to opt in to a 3-month Now TV Sky Movies Pass as part of a Red 4G plan and the Vodafone Ultimate Entertainment Pacakge.
The handset features 32GB of onboard storage, expandable with microSD up to 64GB, a 2.7GHz Qualcomm quad-core processor, NFC and Bluetooth, 4G capability, and a 16MP camera.
Vodafone’s cheapest pay monthly plan for the phone costs £43.50 per month but the up-font price goes up to £199, and you get 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of 4G data per month.

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