Life on the edge: Samsung’s Galaxy Note Edge reviewed


Samsung isn’t making the decision of a new phone easy this year.

We’ve seen some real stunners, and last month’s Galaxy Note 4 already grabbed attention with its high-end very bright screen, super speedy performance, and pen abilities.

But Samsung isn’t done with big phones, and if the idea of the Note 4 grabbed you but you’re after something a little more unique, there’s an answer, and it’s one most people probably won’t be looking at.

It’s called the Galaxy Note Edge and it’s like a Galaxy Note 4 but with a curved screen that wraps around on one side at the right-hand side of the screen.

We’ll get to the importance of that in a moment, but everything else about the phone is more or less identical with what you can find in the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 because the two share a very similar template.

Pick it up and there’s a metal frame surrounding a body of plastic, with glass on the front and that typical Gorilla Glass 3 coating, a part that will hopefully protect your phone from the odd drop and the occasional scratch.

The back is still a plastic textured to feel like leather, and this provides a texture that is easy to grip, though we’re not too fond of the power button placement, now up top thanks to the curved screen making it hard to put a button on the right side of the phone, while volume retains the same left edge.

Buttons for home, back, and multitask are still at the bottom, and they’re easy enough to grip, but it’s worth noting that the Edge is also a little thicker than the Note 4, though we didn’t find it made gripping the phone any more difficult.

The screen is a little different, of course — being bent around the edge will do that to a handset — but you’ll find near similar output with just a little more resolution.

Technically, this is a fraction smaller than the Galaxy Note 4, dropping from the 5.7 inch display of the Note 4 to a 5.6 inch screen on the Note Edge, but it’s a minor drop, and one that with a slightly better resolution works out better for our eyes.

A jump to 2560×1600 means you’ll find a pixel clarity of 539 pixels per inch, though the difference is so small that it’s hard to pick up, and really at this level, we’re just pushing pixels to a level most eyes won’t be able to spot discrepancies between. The long and short of this is the screen in the Galaxy Edge is excellent, and when you take it into sunlight, pulls from a reservoir of power that makes it possible to see your phone outside, which is especially handy.

Performance of the Note Edge is spot on what it was with the Galaxy Note 4, and that should come as no surprise since the phones are practically the same.

Glance through the spec sheet and you can see that the phones are more or less identical, with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 clocked at 2.7GHz, Adreno 420 graphics chip, 3GB RAM, and 32GB storage, with that microSD card to bring the storage higher if you need it to be.

With identical specs comes identical performance, so there’s only a hint of lag exerting itself when you hit the multi-task button, but solid stability and speed of performance almost all other times, telling you there’s very little to worry about for the next year or two with this phone.

Phone calls are also possible here with HD audio quality, though the person on the other end of the phone will need the technology, too, but we found pretty much general use of the phone was excellent across the board.

Use of the phone is spot on, too, with Android 4.4 and Samsung’s TouchWiz taking centre stage with the typical assortment of home screens, menus, dropdown notification bar, and a lock screen with a basic unlock mechanism and a camera shortcut.

We’ll get to what the edge screen does for using the phone shortly, but for now, what you really need to know is the Note Edge runs such a similar version of the operating system that it is just as easy to use, and even offers an “easy” home screen option for people struggling with anything in the menu that can be regarded as complex.