For the past few years, since the Galaxy Note 4, Samsung has built special versions of its flagship phones with an ‘Edge’ screen. Initially, with the Galaxy Note Edge, the single, large curved secondary display was mostly there to show off what Samsung could build rather than being particularly useful. It was also huge.

Since then, the Korean tech giant has been working on developing it in to a useful feature. Now, thanks to third party support and an actual a decent implementation as far as functionality goes, the Edge screen on the Galaxy S7 Edge can be genuinely useful at times. Here’s how to use it…

Launching it

Launching the Edge panel is pretty simple. By default, you should notice a small semi-transparent tab (or handle as Samsung calls it) on the right Edge screen of your Galaxy S7 Edge. Simply drag this towards the middle and you launch the bespoke Edge Panel user interface.

What’s cool about the Edge Panel is that some of the features work without needing to unlock the phone. For instance, if you want to launch the straight edge ruler, or quickly glance at the weather or even check your schedule quickly, you can do so.

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Edge Panel customization

edge-panels

Of course, with the Edge screen, you’re not just stuck with the default panels. When one of your Edge panels is active and on-screen, you’ll notice a settings cog in the bottom left corner, next to the dots denoting which of the panels is being used. Tap the settings cog and you’ll get to the Edge panels customization screen.

Most of the screen is taken up with the selection of panels being used (or available to use). Whether that’s the People Edge (where your favorite contacts are displayed), Quick Tools (compass/ruler/flashlight), Weather or the Apps Edge.

On top of each panel shown you’ll notice a blue check mark, or an empty box. As you’d expect, the former shows which panels are being used and which aren’t. Check the box to activate any panels you would like to use.

edge-panel-customization

You’ll notice that some of them – the People edge for example – have a blue pencil at the bottom too. These are ones you can customise. Tap the pencil, and you’re taken off to a screen for customizing that particular panel.

Sticking with the People edge, you can add or rearrange the contacts to which you want quick access, and also change the colors assigned to each of them. Sadly, there are only 6 color options available, but the process is pretty painless and user-friendly.

people-edge

With other panels, like the Apps panel, the user-interface for customizing is slightly different, but the principle remains the same. You can add and re-organize the apps that appear on the Apps panel.

While the phone comes with several Edge panel options baked in, you’re not just limited to those. Head back to the main Edge panel settings screen, hit ‘download’ on the top toolbar and you’re whisked off to a special part of the Galaxy Apps store to download third party Edge panels. Some are paid (normally around $1.50), others are free – and there are a plethora of them. Whether you want a more detailed notification panel, to-do list, file manager, real-time RAM consumption visualizer, CNN feed or media controls, there is no shortage of options.

Going back to the main Edge panel settings screen and hitting ‘More’ gives you the option to re-order panels and uninstall ones you never use.

Customize the Edge panel handle

As we’ve already stated, you launch the Edge panel by dragging the handle across from the right edge. If you’re left handed, you’ll be pleased to know that you can switch it to the left side of your phone too. Simply hit the ‘Edge panel handle settings’ option at the bottom of the main Edge panel settings screen.

edge-panel-handle

Here you can change the size, position and transparency of the handle using the easy controls on display. Of course, you can have Edge panels switched off by hitting the toggle on the main Edge panel settings screen, if you want to.

Edge feeds, Edge lighting and Quick Reply

While the Edge Panel is the most obvious feature of Samsung’s Edge screen-optimized software, the curved secondary screens do have other useful features.

edge-feed

Edge feeds essentially show various information on the curved screen when the phone is locked. Simply rub along the edge and back again quickly, then you can see notifications, an S-Health step counter or a Twitter feed.

edge-feeds-settings

To customize, head to the main settings menu then hit ‘Edge screen’ and select ‘Edge feeds’. You can toggle the feature on or off, select from three default feeds or choose to download others.

In this same settings menu you can switch on ‘Edge lighting’. This means that if you receive a phone call when your phone is face down, the Edge screen lights up and pulses to attract your attention.

edge lighting quick reply

What’s more, Quick reply lets you reject a call and send a preset Quick reply message by placing your finger on the heart-rate monitor.

galaxy-s7-edge-light-up

Night Clock

One more feature is Night Clock, which isn’t in either the Edge Panel or Edge Screen settings menus at all. Instead, head over to Settings>Display and select ‘Night clock’. Choose a start and end time, and you’re done.

night-clock-settings

Essentially, it turns off your always-on lock screen clock, and displays a clock, battery level and upcoming alarm on the Edge screen during the time you’ve set instead. It’s really dim, so it won’t keep you up or disturb you while you sleep. It’s a really useful feature, particularly if you wake up in the night and just need to see what time it is.

night clock

If you’re undecided on your next phone and looking for a top-of-the-range handset, the Galaxy S7 Edge is easily one of the best phones out there, as we discovered in our review. If you already have one, and are still hunting for a case, be sure to check our list of the best cases available right now.

Let us know how, and if, you use your Edge panel and what you think the most useful feature is in the comments section below.

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