Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Hands-On: One Weird-Looking Smartphone

The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Is One Weird-Looking Smartphone

At Unpacked, Samsung's annual Note-centric launch event, the Korean-based technology giant offered a two-for-one special. The major highlight was the Galaxy Note 4, the next phablet phone in a prestigious line of stylus devices, and then there was this quirky little guy: The Galaxy Note Edge.

The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Is One Weird-Looking Smartphone

Samsung has been known to do head-scratching smartphone projects before, like last year's Galaxy Round. But where that strange device had no North American destination plans, the Edge definitely does. Positioned as a "premium" option to the Note 4, the Note Edge copies everything from the new flagship. It comes with a 16-megapixel camera, the S-Pen, the Snapdragon 805 processor, the gorgeous QHD AMOLED display, and the 3200mAh battery. The only difference is that along the right side, the screen slightly dips, completely eliminating the bezel, and bringing a really weird addition to the Note family.

This dip actually shrinks the main screen size to 5.6 inches to make room for the crazy new edge, but the phone's overall size is the same, and Samsung moved the power button from the right side to the top of the device to compensate. The main reason for the Note Edge to exist is to make information more glance-able and available whenever you want it. It acts like a stock ticker. Swiping left cycles through custom ticker options, such as trending tweets, sports scores, news headlines, and of course, stock prices, to name just a few. The ticker bar also acts as an app tray for easy access to your favourite apps.

The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Is One Weird-Looking Smartphone

For some apps, like the camera or S-Note, the Edge moves editing tools and other UI keys off the screen and shoves them up into the ticker bar so you an unimpeded view of your photography. When surfing the web on Chrome, the bar recedes into the background, giving you more screen real estate to work with.

In standby mode, the ticker also has a low power "Night Clock" mode, displaying time and notifications on its angled screen. We suppose that's a helpful tool if you can't seem to summon the strength to lift your head a few inches. Also, if you're an unlucky lefty, you can switch the phone upside down and the edge screen will flip to match, but this brings in another mess of issues with the (now unfortunately placed) home button, volume rocker, etc. I'm sorry lefties, the world is an unjust place.

During my brief hands-on time with the Note Edge, I actively tried to launch apps with accidental touches, which you'd think would be plentiful on a screen that dips directly into your palm, but overall it responded well. The only real worry about is that the Edge's additional ticker screen comes with its own SDK, meaning app developers need to build for it specifically. Samsung says it isn't incredibly hard, but a unique SDK means adoption will be a slow-going process, so don't expect functionality for all your favourite apps anytime soon…or ever.

The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Is One Weird-Looking Smartphone
The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Is One Weird-Looking Smartphone

When is the Note Edge coming and for how much? We don't know yet, but we do know that it will cost more than the Note 4 since Samsung is marketing it as a "premium" option. After using both, I couldn't imagine opting for the Edge, let alone paying more for it, but if you're a collector of the weird, quirky, or truly unique, maybe the few extra bucks are worth it.

More Samsung News From IFA

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    they couldnt think of how to improve the note3 design...
    so they brought this out for people like me who have to have a new looking gadget to upgrade to.

    Seems like you'd be better off with a google wear watch for notifications than this ticker which needs custom support.

      Yeah, I find having the ticker up the side of the phone like that kinda defeats the purpose of a "quick glance" feature, since you are going to need to pull it out, and turn it around so it's horizontal.

      My galaxy gear is great for quick glance type things, looks cool too :P

        Maybe if it's in your pocket but it is perfect when you are at your desk - just leave the phone sitting where you can see it. I think this is a much better idea than some stupid wearable - I want less krap to cart around, not more.

          Unless you want notifications for a key app you use and oh, they can't be bothered making an API for ONE Samsung phone...

    If you're gonna have such a massive phone go all out and give it a massive battery, cause the kind of people that would buy this clearly aren't too fussed by weight and more so by functionality. Go on Samsung, make it thicker, heavier but damn good.

      ZeroLemon have humongous batteries you can use. I've had one for a year, no problems

      Don't these have removable batteries? They've giving you choice.

    Another gimmick from Samsung? Surprising...

      That's all the phone companies can do nowadays cause every phone is almost the same. Same processors, same screens, same storage everything is the same bar the name on it. Even apple is getting in on the act with their bigger screen. The same the same, were all the same.

        Just like the new apple that will be more perfectly sized, more premium feeled, and perfectly smoother than last year's perfectly smooth.

    I like the concept, but I am not very sure how practical it is.

    I'm going with my immediate gut instincts on this one - A silly gimmick, not really practical.

    You'd be better off putting small dedicated mini screens either side of the earpiece for dedicated launch buttons / ticker tape screens IMO. The amount of times I've though there should be a dedicated spot you can see the time of day, all of the time, somewhere on a phone and trying to figure out how best to do it.

      Love my Nokia glance screen, which is exactly what you're looking for :)

        not quite... I mean a screen where you can 'always' see the time.

        If you're playing a game or in an app you can't see the time without either switching out of the app or calling up the time. I'd like to have the time visible no matter what I'm doing on the phone.

    Funnily enough - I love the concept not for its intended use (i.e. notifications) but because it brings the screen so close to becoming "bezel-less"! Bring on a completely bezel-less phone and I'm in.

      Who cares about bezels? It's not something I even notice when I look at phones unless it is insanely huge (like an iPhone or HTC One).

      I'd rather not have touch sensitive screen around the edges where I'll bump things.

    I love it! I also read the stock ticket bar feature as "tickle bar" and think that actually suits quite nicely!

    OH No!!! I just dropped my BRAND NEW SAMSUNG Bendy Screen phone! "That will be $700 to replace the screen sir". Uhhh... WTF?

    Surely it will cost a mint to replace a screen on this thing, which is something that needs to be taken into account. I guess, also, all the cases get redesgned and there is a reinvigorated market there too? I dont know, just thinking out loud...

      Why? I've never damaged the screen on any phone (or other device) I've owned. Ever.

    that's what happens when you engineer a problem for a solution not the other way around.

    Last edited 04/09/14 1:27 pm

    A touch screen scroll bar, volume rocker, camera zoom? Definitely overkill for those kind of functions but it would at least keep your fingers off the main display

    I wonder what it would look like when it's dropped on concrete?

    You're such pessimists. I think it looks cool.

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