Hands on with the Note Edge

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge.

The Galaxy Note Edge by Samsung might give some the initial impression that it's gimmicky, but after holding it and using it for a while, perhaps that thought needs to be reassessed.

Its curved screen is amazingly intuitive, because it really creates another dimension to your smartphone.

The price is definitely edgy at approximately B$1,200 (S$1,200), the most expensive Android device to date, implying that Samsung is yet again breaching iPhone territory with the Note 4 and Note Edge.

However, the curved edge could definitely be a pull factor and the Note Edge has made its way to Brunei sooner than I expected.

If you haven't already heard about it, the Note Edge has a curved screen on the right, which acts independently from the main screen. I kid you not; when I say independently, that curved bit of screen is like a completely separate add-on.

Before we get into it, let's take a look at the Note Edge's tech specs.

The Note Edge has the same processing power as the Note 4, which is a quad core Snapdragon 805, Adreno 420 CPU and a 3GB RAM. Basically, in terms of processing power, the Note Edge is a beast, and moves extremely fluid.

Everything else is very similar to the Note 4, with a removable back panel, a microSD card slot, along with the heart rate monitor, and a multiple microphone setup to give call clarity.

Battery life is an impressive 3,000 mAh and the camera features is the same 16-megapixel shooter as the Note 4, which is an extremely good camera.

Meanwhile, the display is a 5.6-inch 2,560x1,600 resolution (Quad HD), a pretty standard Samsung display with clear whites and deep blacks with an LED.

Ahead of the Curve

So what's unique about the Note Edge?

What I immediately noticed is the absence of hotkeys on the bottom of the phone, as those have moved to the curved edge on the right of the phone. From there you can customise your usual buttons to have whatever you like.

Besides that, you start to feel very conscious about those buttons on that curved screen, worried that you will press a hotkey when held on your left hand. Surprisingly, I tried to open an application which was placed on the curve screen when holding the phone in one hand. It didn't work.

I had to use my right hand to specifically click on the icon to launch the application.

Earlier, I say the screen is independent from the phone's main screen. Why? Because the curved edge supplements the main screen. For instance, if you are watching a video and an email or text comes in, it doesn't interrupt the video but the notification appears floating on the curved edge. When you are ready to check the notification, you can swipe it to activate it.

The curved edge, like the main screen, also has multiple pages. The main page is the applications that you put there. By swiping on the curved area, you can access sports scores, weather, data usage, favourite contacts and so on. It's actually a really neat feature.

When you open up the camera application, the screen also turns into a shutter button. With two hands, it's an amazing idea, having the shutter on the curved part, which gives a "real-feel" camera shutter position. With one hand, however, it's a nightmare, and you probably will drop the phone before taking a picture.

In many applications, the curved part also adds controlling buttons for the current application you are in, much like the camera. For example, when viewing pictures in the gallery, your usual buttons are placed on the curved area (when your phone is used in landscape mode).

The curved screen also allows for a stopwatch, a timer, a ruler (which reminds me of the curved ruler during my primary school days) at the indicating bars so it's easier to read, and it also has a torchlight and voice recording button.

When your screen is off, and you only want to see the time and notifications, it appears on the curved area.

Round Up

All-in-all, the Note Edge is a pretty solid smartphone (yes, even with TouchWiz). It's really a fun device to use and has a great camera along with a powerful processor. Basically it's fast and takes good pictures. In other words, everything we could possibly want.

The only problem here is its B$1,200 price tag.

The views expressed by the author are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of The Brunei Times.