A display that extends over the edge of the housing and allows for a whole new level of user friendliness: with the Galaxy Note Edge, Samsung has once again proved their ability to innovate. However, the phablet has a lot to offer aside from the new screen design. Is it enough to get 1st place?
The times in which Samsung was accused of merely copying the competition are long gone. Today, the Koreans, along with a certain company from Cupertino, are considered innovation leaders and drivers in the smartphone market. However, while Apple is satisfied with one range of products per year, Samsung has something to pull out of its bag of tricks more often. Just in time for the new year, a real technology treat is coming to Germany: the Galaxy Note Edge, a phablet with a unique curved display.
Samsung sent out the limited Premium Edition of the Galaxy Note Edge for testing, which is only available directly from the manufacturer. The attractive packaging that shows off the sweeping nature of the display contains many useful things such as a cleaning cloth, a protective hinged cover called a flip wallet, and a micro SD memory card with a rich 64 GB of capacity. The price, for both the limited and for the normal version, which will not feature these additions, is a hefty 899 euros. Owning something special always costs a bit more, which Apple disciples know only so well.
The pivotal point and the absolute eye-catcher is the display, which is gently rounded to the right side, meaning it can accommodate additional functions and situational icons.
This of course only works because a self-lighting bendable OLED display is used here. The main screen measures 5.6 inches diagonally and has a very fine resolution in Quad-HD with 1440 x 2560 pixels. The expanded display area provides an additional 160 x 2560 pixels, which can be utilized independently. The radiance of the display, however, is lower than in very good TFT displays due to the system, but still amounts to a very good 333 cd/m2.
In terms of image quality, the display of the Galaxy Note Edge is without doubt one of the best that the market currently has to offer. It shows the contents so brilliantly, in such strong colors and with such a rich black level that you almost won’t believe your eyes.
The workmanship, as we would expect from Samsung, is also perfect. A big plus: the battery is replaceable, so it can be easily exchanged by the user – an advantage not to be underestimated in today’s continuous use of smartphones and tablets. Hardcore users will also appreciate the quick charge function of the Galaxy Note Edge, which completely fills up the empty energy tank in about 90 minutes.
The foundation for the Galaxy Note Edge is the Galaxy Note 4, tested and rated as “very good” in the 12/2014 connect, and the newcomer is also equipped with only the best components. This starts with the extremely high-performance APQ8084 Pro platform from Qualcomm, which, with a 2.7 GHz quad-core CPU and rich 3 GB of RAM, can live up to even the most power-hungry applications. So it’s no wonder that in test operation, no noticeable delays clouded the joy of use.
24 GB of free device memory are included for this purpose, which can be filled with apps and multimedia content. If space becomes scarce, it can be easily retrofitted by means of the micro SD slot. In terms of connectivity, the Galaxy Note EDGE also offers state-of-the-art standards such as LTE Cat 6, ac-WLAN, HSPA + and Bluetooth 4.1. A welcome reunion: the outstanding 16 megapixel camera of the Galaxy Note 4 is also found in this newcomer. In addition to excellent picture quality, it features an optical image stabilizer and 4K video recording.
When it comes to the remaining equipment, the Galaxy Note Edge has all that is currently good and expensive. Like the heart rate monitor on the back that can be used with the S health and fitness app. Or the fingerprint sensor in the Home button. The latter can not only be used to unlock the phablet and to protect sensitive files in private mode, but also to authorize payments through PayPal.
In addition, the Galaxy Note Edge masters perfect multitasking. With Multi Window, two functions can be used simultaneously and equally on the screen while the “pop-up window” function arranges additional apps in small windows and leaves them as small icons when not in use. Both functions can be conveniently started from the “Recent apps” view.
The equipment is rounded out with the clever “My places” profile function: this widget works with location detection and adjusts itself automatically to the daily routine of a user. The individual profiles, such as work, home or out and about can be set up and offer settings for WLAN and Bluetooth, audio and power saving mode, and four user-definable functions to choose from. If that’s not enough: the points can be easily extended.
The whole thing can basically be operated easily via the intuitive Touchwiz user interface, but it takes a few hours to get the hang of the full functionality, especially the numerous special functions, – and even then, there is always more to discover with this high-end phablet.
Not new, but having stood the test of time well is the S Pen stylus integrated in the housing. It offers the features familiar from the Galaxy Note 4 such as the Air View preview function, action memo or screenshot note.
The tests in the connect lab show that the excellent display is not exactly energy efficient. The Galaxy Note Edge achieved a working life of only seven hours in realistic mixed operation. The pure talk times, however, are first-class with 21:40 hours in GSM and just under 13 hours in UMTS use. The phablet also showed it strengths with the acoustics and the transmission and reception properties.
The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge therefore got first place in the list of the best with an excellent display, the extensive equipment and also thanks to the generous scope of delivery of the test device with a micro SD card and hinged cover. However, the phablet must share this distinction with the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, which got the same number of points – two smart phones which could not be more different
The Galaxy Note Edge is the first mobile phone to feature a curved screen with real utility.
And Samsung was very clever in creating it: by default, basic functions such as phone, contacts, messages, browser and e-mail can be called up in the side display. Swiping from top to bottom on the narrow outer display causes additional features such as a ruler, timer, stopwatch, voice memo function or lamp to appear. Swiping from bottom to top opens the way to the Settings menu. You can select and deselect the individual panels here, adjust the watch design, set a time-controlled clock or set the flow of information. In addition, more panels can be loaded from the App Store. If the user has selected multiple apps, you can scroll through them easily by swiping. For some functions, such as the camera, the video and music player or Flipboard, the page display is also used as an extended display for control panels. Incoming calls and messages are also displayed. Too bad that the page display is only supported by a few apps up till now – but that can change.