Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

Earlier this year at its Unpacked event, Samsung previewed its Galaxy Note Edge phablet with a special, curved part of the display that wraps around the right side. We’ve already given you our early hands-on and first impressions of the latest Samsung Galaxy Note variant, and today the reviews are starting to surface. So what’s the verdict on this unique take on a phablet? Check out our roundup below: The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge’s screen is obviously what differentiates it from the rest of the Galaxy lineup, not to mention the competition.

Yahoo Tech wrote that the Edge doubling as a notification panel could actually be redundant with the primary standard notification panel which diminishes its utility, and developers needing to design features for their apps that take advantage of the curved section of the display means the number of compatible apps will likely remain limited.

The Note 4 is the best big-screen smartphone on the market, and the idea that it could be even better is intriguing, but I just can’t bring myself to say that the Note Edge is a superior device.

Yes, it does make jumping between apps easier, and being able to take photos without half the screen being covered by the camera controls is great. Being able to control my music from the Edge Screen is pretty convenient, too.

But in the end, the Edge’s price is simply too high to recommend over the Note 4. The benefits just don’t outweigh the $100 premium the Edge has over the Note 4.

Gizmodo took a similar tune with recommending the regular Galaxy Note 4 over the Galaxy Note Edge considering the $100 premium for the curved edge and lack of compatibility with Samsung’s Gear VR device as well as a little less battery life.

If the Note Edge was the only new Note phone, this might be a tougher call, but since it’s not, the decision is easy. The Galaxy Note Edge is not a total disaster by any means, but you should definitely just get the Galaxy Note 4 instead, and maybe use some of the money you save to buy a bedside alarm clock and a book of conversation starters.

While intrigued with the modified form factor, The Wall Street Journal also dubbed the curved right side of the Note Edge as maybe not exactly necessary and potentially distracting. The WSJ wrote that holding the Note Edge is “more comfortable than you might think” and added that accidental taps are usually ignored by the display. The review also mentioned that left-handed users could flip the phone upside down to use the Edge on the other side, but that just sounds wrong in every way.

Giving 110% can sometimes be too much.

The Note Edge may appeal to Android lovers who enjoy customizing their phones. With the side screen, you get 160 precious new rows of pixels to add a launchpad for apps or a Times Square-like news ticker. Some people may find creative uses for the space, for instance by personalizing it with a pencil-thin animated picture. The unusual design certainly attracts attention.

But to me, the Note Edge ends up being yet another distraction in the arms race for our attention. I’m glad Samsung is experimenting with new designs, but the Edge just tacks on new territory to an already cluttered phone landscape.

Mashable was more enthusiastic about the Galaxy Note Edge’s place as a niche-but-useful device in a world of phablets, and mentioned that the curved display is reliable despite being different.

The edge panel itself is a well-thought-out piece of technology. It’s not buggy in the slightest, and it was an expert at responding to my finger taps — it hardly ever confused a edge tap with one on the main screen, and there were virtually no “false positives” from my palm, even though it appears to rest dangerously close to the panel as you hold it.

Certainly, the Note Edge won’t force a wholesale rethink of smartphone design. But I could see it becoming the defining feature of a sub-brand of Galaxy phones. Given its size and price premium, it should be considered Samsung’s dreadnought class.

CNET also mentioned how left-handed users could use the right-hand optimized Galaxy Note Edge, but it doesn’t sound like a great experience.

The Edge is a phone made for righties and adapted for the southpaws among us. A setting to flip the icons 180 degrees lets lefties turn the phone upside down so they can swipe and tap on the Edge display with their dominant hands. Since that orientation now puts the home button and navigation keys along the top (and well out of reach), you can swipe up to surface some on-screen navigation controls. It’s a workaround that seems to do the trick.

And yet again, a generally positive review came down to the $100 premium for the extra pixels on the side.

With a product as daring as the Note Edge, a lot could have gone wrong. In this case, most of the technical stuff went right. The problem is justifying the high price and swooshing body shape compared to the more straightforward phones out there.

BGR also found the premium price over the Note 4 to be a negative factor while mentioning the unlikeliness that developers will take advantage of the special display.

But would I buy one myself? Definitely not.

$400 is too steep an asking price for this phone. Period. The Edge panel doesn’t currently add $100 of value in my opinion, and I simply don’t have confidence that this is something third-party developers will be quick to embrace so they can add additional value to the Edge panel.

Finally, TechCrunch found the Note Edge side screen intriguing calling it “a step forward” toward future smartphones to come, but ultimately decided it’s “nice-to-have, not a need-to-have.”

As far as gimmicks go, however, I’m fine with this one and consider it a step forward. It’s a beautiful phone, well built, and usable enough to rival any other phablet. It’s not going to win any hearts and minds over less exotic devices (it’s $400 with contract on AT&T and about $840 unlocked, which could turn some off) but it does have a definite edge and it’s the shape of things to come.

So while the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 may be the best phablet on the market as we noted in our review, the curved edge variant sounds like it may not justify the $100 premium in its current form despite being useful and different.

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