The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 was not a lone ranger during its debut. It has a weird brother launched along with it. As the title suggests, Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is basically a Note 4 with its display wrapped around its right edge. The new display is called a Quad HD+ bent display. The ‘+’ refers to the curved part of the display. It is called as the Edge Screen by Samsung and it is 160 pixel wide. More importantly (maybe to Samsung), it is first of its kind available to the public. It certainly looks cool enough, but what can it actually do?
To make the most out of the curved display, Samsung has tweaked its software a little bit. It works as a sidebar and you can swipe across it for different ‘bars’. You can also have a row of shortcuts to your favourite applications. In fact the row of applications icons at the bottom of the homescreen is gone due to the presence of the shortcut at the Edge Screen. You also can have bars for weather, notifications, clock, news and even mini games.
Pulling down at the curved portion of the display will unveil tools such as a timer, stopwatch, flashlight and ruler. As the display is at the edge, the ruler tool here is the best in all smartphones, although I doubt anyone will use that often. Swiping up, on the other hand, will show you the settings icons. The Edge Screen will change according to applications too. For example, while using the camera, the shutter will be shown on the top so it would be easier to snap a photo as the shutter position is the same like a normal camera. Samsung will provide SDKs to developers so we shall see what the developer community is capable of.
Aside from the display and the software tweaks that comes along, the Note Edge is very, very similar to the Note 4. The S Pen, fingerprint sensors and heart rate monitor all make the cut. The internals are basically the same except that the battery capacity is just a little bit smaller than its “ordinary” sibling. It has a 3000mAh battery instead of the 3220mAh battery found in the Note 4. Naturally, the metal edge is absent and the power button is moved to the top to give way to the Edge Screen.
The Note Edge will come in either black or white. In case you are interested is there any ‘left’ edition of the phone for left handers, the answer is no. Samsung says you can turn around the phone so that the curve side would be on the left. However, the position of the home button, camera and speaker would be strange. The other part which is unfriendly ergonomically is the width of the device. To fit in the curved display, the device has to grow sideways. Given that the Note is already big enough, the additional width might make it hard to hold.
Speaking of the price, this device is going to be priced higher than the Galaxy Note 4, which already has the highest price tag in the market. So is the wrapped around display able to justify the price? I am afraid not. While most people will feel that this is cool, most people would go with the normal Note 4. It will be start selling in selected markets later in the fall but I have no idea whether Malaysia is in the list or not.
[Update] The Note Edge is available in Malaysia with the recommended retail price of RM2,999. It cost RM500 more than the Note 4.
Nevertheless, it is still good to see new innovations in the form factor of phones whose development has been stagnant for years. In my opinion, this phone is for Samsung to brag about their technology and to mark “I’m First!” in wrapped around display, I still appreciate the new form factor brought by Samsung. I would like to see it and use it in person. You can learn more about Samsung Galaxy Note Edge here!