Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review
Introduction


The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is a one-of-a-kind, limited-edition device that stands out with a screen that wraps around one of its edges, hence justifying the ‘Edge’ name. We’ve seen curved-screen phones, and other trickery in devices, but it’s the first time that you get such an ‘edge’ that acts as a secondary display that you can control separately from the main screen. You can use it for notifications, quick shortcuts to apps, as well as a quick ticker for information that you care about - stocks, weather, sport scores, and so on.

Apart from this important little detail, though, the Note Edge - introduced alongside the Note 4 - looks very similar to its sibling. It is powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 system chip with 3GB of RAM on board, features an identical 16-megapixel camera with optical stabilization, and plentiful 32GB of internal storage. The Note Edge also comes with the signature S Pen stylus that you can use to jot down notes and make more precise selections.

How does this combination of a wrap-around ticker screen, S Pen functionality, and powerful hardware combine in the Edge? And how big of a change does that little edge make to everyday use? Is the much higher price justified? Read on to find out.

In the box:

  • Wall charger (with fast charge support)
  • microUSB cable
  • Headset
  • S Pen tip ejector tool, reserve S Pen tips
  • User manual

Design

The Note Edge with its curved rim is a bit of a challenge to handle as you have to be careful to not touch something on the edge screen accidentally.

The curved rim is what defines the appearance of the Galaxy Note Edge: it changes the way you hold the phablet, and the way you use it. One simply cannot overlook the added curve: it requires you to pay extra attention to the way you hold the _phone_ and do it in a specific way in order to avoid accidentally pressing something on the curved rim (and while we got used to it after a while, we imagine this could be an issue for many). Also, with the edge screen being on the right side, the power/lock key is now moved to the top of the phone, making it inconveniently hard to reach. Apart from that, physical keys (also including the volume rocker on the left) are clicky and easy to press. In case you’re wondering what happens if you drop the _phone_ on its edge, we should say that there is a metal frame that is slightly more protruded, so it would hit the ground first. This and the fact that Samsung has stressed that it uses a special, strengthened glass for the Note Edge, should be a reassurance.

Save for the bent rim, though, the handset is designed very similar to the Note 4: it has a similar, sturdy metal frame, a faux-leather plastic back cover that you can easily peel off, and a slight camera hump. Up front, you have the large physical home key that houses the fingerprint scanner.

Nestled in the bottom left edge of the Note Edge is the signature S Pen. It’s the same one as in the Note 4, and it is now easier to take it out (it was a bit of a struggle to chop it off on the Note 3, for instance).

 

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Front view | Side view
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
5.96 x 3.24 x 0.33 inches
151.3 x 82.4 x 8.3 mm
6.14 oz (174 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches
153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm
6.21 oz (176 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28 inches
158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm
6.07 oz (172 g)

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Motorola DROID Turbo
Motorola DROID Turbo
5.65 x 2.89 x 0.44 inches
143.5 x 73.3 x 11.2 mm
6.21 oz (176 g)

Motorola DROID Turbo



Display

The Note Edge comes with a vivid, 5.6” Quad HD Super AMOLED display with a 160-pixel wide section for the edge. Switch to Basic screen mode, and you have a pleasingly accurate display.

The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge comes with a 5.6-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels (Quad HD), with an additional 160-pixel wide section for the edge. Technically, this means the Note Edge’s screen is a bit sharper than its sibling Note 4, as pixel density comes in at 525ppi (versus 515ppi on the Note). In reality, both are identically sharp-looking, making even tiny text appear very crisp.

The Note 4 was Samsung's first phone with color-accurate AMOLED screen and the Edge follows in its footsteps. In its Basic mode, the screen is very accurate, though not perfect. Still, we really like what we see. . The color temperature is also pretty natural, just a bit on the cold side at 6800K (above the reference, 6500K value that represents neutral, accurate balance between reds and blues). Gamma, at 2.28, is just slightly above the 2.2 reference spot, more accurate than what we have measured on the Note 4, which adds slight artificial contrast. As other Samsung AMOLEDs, you can select between different screen modes, and the default Adaptive mode still flaunts punchy, but overblown, inaccurate colors, for people who want them.

As with the Note 4, the Note Edge display maximum brightness stands at the very respectable 498 nits. This contributes to very comfortable outdoor viewing and it is actually a little more than the peak brightness of the Note 4. At night, you can also reduce screen brightness all the way down to 1 nit, so that the screen does not tire your eyes with excessive glow.

The Edge: innovation or gimmick?


Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review
The curved, wrap-around section of the Note Edge screen is tiny in comparison with the large, 5.6-inch main display, but this tiny complementary screen packs a lot of interesting and new functionality.

First, we ought to say that the edge itself can act as an independent, secondary screen that you can wake up without turning on the main, 5.6” display. In order to wake the edge screen when the main one is off, swipe left and then right. This is a quick way to check for missed notifications, as well as for other info you have pinned to the edge, and it also comes with energy-saving consequences.

The rest of the time, when the main screen is on, the edge display acts as a complementary screen that can hold up to 7 panels. You can pin the following things to it:

  • Quick shortcuts (customizable, you can pick 7 shortcuts to pin to this panel)
  • Notifications (customizable)
  • Information from apps like Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Finance, Facebook, Twitter, S Health, etc.
  • Small games

 

You can tap on shortcuts to open apps on the main screen, as well as tap on informational panels (like a sports score) to get more info about something in the browser.

Each of these panels comes with two menus: swipe from the top to bring a selection of tools like a ruler, stop clock, countdown timer, flashlight, and sound recorder; and swipe from the bottom to access the settings for the edge display.

In addition to all of this variety, you can also download additional panels from the web to enable things like S Planner, RAM usage information, and so on.

You also have the ‘Express me’ panel, a special panel that is displayed when you have the lockscreen on, and it basically allows you to put your own text and image as a way to personalize the experience.

The edge screen is clearly a gimmick in the sense that it seems designed with the clear intent to showcase the possible futuristic implementations of AMOLED screens and to attract attention, but since this is not merely a concept device (the Note Edge is a limited-edition phone, but it is available to buy on major carriers), it is also a testing bed for such somewhat crazy ideas. Apart from the mere coolness, though, it’s hard to find any substantial improvement in usability that comes with it - having quick shortcuts to apps always at hand is probably the biggest one, as it makes multitasking faster, and quick glances at it to see missed notification and save battery by not turning on the main screen are nice, but using it as a ticker for other apps does not make much sense when you can as well have the full app on the main screen.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 574
(Excellent)
4
(Excellent)
1:1376
(Excellent)
7318
(Good)
2.18
4.38
(Average)
3.82
(Good)
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 496
(Good)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6719
(Excellent)
2.28
4.48
(Average)
3.87
(Good)
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 468
(Good)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6667
(Excellent)
1.97
2.61
(Good)
3.1
(Good)
Motorola DROID Turbo 248
(Poor)
9
(Average)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6594
(Excellent)
1.84
7.32
(Average)
3.86
(Good)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Motorola DROID Turbo 50.8%
55.6%
unmeasurable
0.8%
2.7%
14.8%
26.9%
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 53.2%
0%
unmeasurable
19.4%
1.3%
48.7%
156.8%
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 68.8%
0%
unmeasurable
35.4%
1%
127.6%
231.9%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 84.7%
75%
86.9%
4.3%
13.8%
6.6%
15.7%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review
Introduction


The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is a one-of-a-kind, limited-edition device that stands out with a screen that wraps around one of its edges, hence justifying the ‘Edge’ name. We’ve seen curved-screen phones, and other trickery in devices, but it’s the first time that you get such an ‘edge’ that acts as a secondary display that you can control separately from the main screen. You can use it for notifications, quick shortcuts to apps, as well as a quick ticker for information that you care about - stocks, weather, sport scores, and so on.

Apart from this important little detail, though, the Note Edge - introduced alongside the Note 4 - looks very similar to its sibling. It is powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 system chip with 3GB of RAM on board, features an identical 16-megapixel camera with optical stabilization, and plentiful 32GB of internal storage. The Note Edge also comes with the signature S Pen stylus that you can use to jot down notes and make more precise selections.

How does this combination of a wrap-around ticker screen, S Pen functionality, and powerful hardware combine in the Edge? And how big of a change does that little edge make to everyday use? Is the much higher price justified? Read on to find out.

In the box:

  • Wall charger (with fast charge support)
  • microUSB cable
  • Headset
  • S Pen tip ejector tool, reserve S Pen tips
  • User manual

Design

The Note Edge with its curved rim is a bit of a challenge to handle as you have to be careful to not touch something on the edge screen accidentally.

The curved rim is what defines the appearance of the Galaxy Note Edge: it changes the way you hold the phablet, and the way you use it. One simply cannot overlook the added curve: it requires you to pay extra attention to the way you hold the phone and do it in a specific way in order to avoid accidentally pressing something on the curved rim (and while we got used to it after a while, we imagine this could be an issue for many). Also, with the edge screen being on the right side, the power/lock key is now moved to the top of the phone, making it inconveniently hard to reach. Apart from that, physical keys (also including the volume rocker on the left) are clicky and easy to press. In case you’re wondering what happens if you drop the phone on its edge, we should say that there is a metal frame that is slightly more protruded, so it would hit the ground first. This and the fact that Samsung has stressed that it uses a special, strengthened glass for the Note Edge, should be a reassurance.

Save for the bent rim, though, the handset is designed very similar to the Note 4: it has a similar, sturdy metal frame, a faux-leather plastic back cover that you can easily peel off, and a slight camera hump. Up front, you have the large physical home key that houses the fingerprint scanner.

Nestled in the bottom left edge of the Note Edge is the signature S Pen. It’s the same one as in the Note 4, and it is now easier to take it out (it was a bit of a struggle to chop it off on the Note 3, for instance).


Front view | Side view
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
5.96 x 3.24 x 0.33 inches
151.3 x 82.4 x 8.3 mm
6.14 oz (174 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches
153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm
6.21 oz (176 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28 inches
158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm
6.07 oz (172 g)

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Motorola DROID Turbo
Motorola DROID Turbo
5.65 x 2.89 x 0.44 inches
143.5 x 73.3 x 11.2 mm
6.21 oz (176 g)

Motorola DROID Turbo



Display

The Note Edge comes with a vivid, 5.6” Quad HD Super AMOLED display with a 160-pixel wide section for the edge. Switch to Basic screen mode, and you have a pleasingly accurate display.

The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge comes with a 5.6-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels (Quad HD), with an additional 160-pixel wide section for the edge. Technically, this means the Note Edge’s screen is a bit sharper than its sibling Note 4, as pixel density comes in at 525ppi (versus 515ppi on the Note). In reality, both are identically sharp-looking, making even tiny text appear very crisp.

The Note 4 was Samsung's first phone with color-accurate AMOLED screen and the Edge follows in its footsteps. In its Basic mode, the screen is very accurate, though not perfect. Still, we really like what we see. . The color temperature is also pretty natural, just a bit on the cold side at 6800K (above the reference, 6500K value that represents neutral, accurate balance between reds and blues). Gamma, at 2.28, is just slightly above the 2.2 reference spot, more accurate than what we have measured on the Note 4, which adds slight artificial contrast. As other Samsung AMOLEDs, you can select between different screen modes, and the default Adaptive mode still flaunts punchy, but overblown, inaccurate colors, for people who want them.

As with the Note 4, the Note Edge display maximum brightness stands at the very respectable 498 nits. This contributes to very comfortable outdoor viewing and it is actually a little more than the peak brightness of the Note 4. At night, you can also reduce screen brightness all the way down to 1 nit, so that the screen does not tire your eyes with excessive glow.

The Edge: innovation or gimmick?


Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review
The curved, wrap-around section of the Note Edge screen is tiny in comparison with the large, 5.6-inch main display, but this tiny complementary screen packs a lot of interesting and new functionality.

First, we ought to say that the edge itself can act as an independent, secondary screen that you can wake up without turning on the main, 5.6” display. In order to wake the edge screen when the main one is off, swipe left and then right. This is a quick way to check for missed notifications, as well as for other info you have pinned to the edge, and it also comes with energy-saving consequences.

The rest of the time, when the main screen is on, the edge display acts as a complementary screen that can hold up to 7 panels. You can pin the following things to it:

  • Quick shortcuts (customizable, you can pick 7 shortcuts to pin to this panel)
  • Notifications (customizable)
  • Information from apps like Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Finance, Facebook, Twitter, S Health, etc.
  • Small games

You can tap on shortcuts to open apps on the main screen, as well as tap on informational panels (like a sports score) to get more info about something in the browser.

Each of these panels comes with two menus: swipe from the top to bring a selection of tools like a ruler, stop clock, countdown timer, flashlight, and sound recorder; and swipe from the bottom to access the settings for the edge display.

In addition to all of this variety, you can also download additional panels from the web to enable things like S Planner, RAM usage information, and so on.

You also have the ‘Express me’ panel, a special panel that is displayed when you have the lockscreen on, and it basically allows you to put your own text and image as a way to personalize the experience.

The edge screen is clearly a gimmick in the sense that it seems designed with the clear intent to showcase the possible futuristic implementations of AMOLED screens and to attract attention, but since this is not merely a concept device (the Note Edge is a limited-edition phone, but it is available to buy on major carriers), it is also a testing bed for such somewhat crazy ideas. Apart from the mere coolness, though, it’s hard to find any substantial improvement in usability that comes with it - having quick shortcuts to apps always at hand is probably the biggest one, as it makes multitasking faster, and quick glances at it to see missed notification and save battery by not turning on the main screen are nice, but using it as a ticker for other apps does not make much sense when you can as well have the full app on the main screen.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 574
(Excellent)
4
(Excellent)
1:1376
(Excellent)
7318
(Good)
2.18
4.38
(Average)
3.82
(Good)
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 496
(Good)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6719
(Excellent)
2.28
4.48
(Average)
3.87
(Good)
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 468
(Good)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6667
(Excellent)
1.97
2.61
(Good)
3.1
(Good)
Motorola DROID Turbo 248
(Poor)
9
(Average)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6594
(Excellent)
1.84
7.32
(Average)
3.86
(Good)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Motorola DROID Turbo 50.8%
55.6%
unmeasurable
0.8%
2.7%
14.8%
26.9%
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 53.2%
0%
unmeasurable
19.4%
1.3%
48.7%
156.8%
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 68.8%
0%
unmeasurable
35.4%
1%
127.6%
231.9%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 84.7%
75%
86.9%
4.3%
13.8%
6.6%
15.7%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Interface and Functionality

TouchWiz in the Note Edge is subordinated to the secondary edge screen, but at its core it remains the same one as on the Note 4. The S Pen is also on board.

The Galaxy Note Edge runs on Android 4.4 KitKat with Samsung’s TouchWiz custom user interface on top. We’ve seen TouchWiz evolve to a brighter, less cluttered version in the Note 4, and those looks are retained in the Note Edge, but the whole interface is transformed, subordinated to the secondary edge screen.

All controls for Samsung first party apps have now been moved to the edge: playing and pausing music for instance happens here, and the change is as profound as to have the static row of icons in the home screen removed from the main screen. It makes sense - after all, you have a panel with even more (7, to be exact) shortcuts on the curved rim. Then, the rim is also used to display you all sorts of notifications there rather than in the top bar - the edge screen is much wider and fits a lot more information, so that makes a lot of sense.

Basic functionality - things like calling and messaging - have not been affected by the edge screen, and you have pretty much the same experience in those apps. Typing on the built-in keyboard of the Note Edge is comfortable as you have the convenience of a separate, fifth row for the numbers, and keys - while a bit small - are nicely spaced, making it easier to hit the right key.

Then, you also have the fingerprint scanner on the Note Edge. It requires you to swipe from slightly above the button (actually, starting from the bottom part of the screen itself) and through the key. Accuracy seems to have improved slightly over earlier version of the finger scanner and we find it decent, though, not great.

The S Pen signature feature of the Note series comes with all the improvements we’ve already seen on the Note 4. The new S Pen comes with double the sensitivity: it now detect 2,048 levels of pressure, compared to 1,024 on the Note 3. The big question for most users, however, would really be a very simple one: can I use this to take notes as I usually do on paper? The answer is ‘not quite’. Despite being more accurate, for handwriting the S Pen still draws with an annoying lag.

Finally, you have all the new sensors from the Note 4 on the Edge: the UV meter and the SpO2 blood oxidation sensor in particular. They contribute to a more health-conscious lifestyle, and integrate well with the health and fitness tracking of the S Health application.

Processor and Memory

The combination of a Snapdragon 805 system chip and 3GB of RAM on the Note Edge puts it among the top Android performers, and the 32 gigs of internal storage is double what many others offer.

Under the hood of the Galaxy Note Edge hums the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 system chip, with the same 3GB RAM, as you’d find on the Note 4.

In daily usage, the Note Edge is a fairly smooth performer, but that occasional TouchWiz stutter (even though rare) is still there.

Digging in the spec sheet and performance benchmarks, we see the familiar 28nm manufacturing process used for the 805. It’s a 32-bit chip, one of the last of this kin, featuring a quad-core Krait 450 CPU running at clock speeds of up to 2.7GHz. The Krait 450 is a small, evolutionary step, and does not bring any huge improvement in CPU performance power. Single-core performance on the Note Edge is among the best of Android, but it cannot match the capabilities of wider cores like the one in the iPhone’s Apple A8. Multi-core performance, thanks to the four cores, is very good, as testified by benchmarks right below.

While the difference in CPU compute is not that big, the Adreno 420 GPU in the Note 4 is a big step forward from the earlier-generation, Adreno 330. You can clearly see how most gaming benchmarks report the same frame-rate, despite the fact that the Quad HD Note Edge has a lot more pixels to push than earlier, 1080p devices.

The Galaxy Note Edge comes with a plentiful 32GB of internal storage on board, more than most other smartphones that come with a 16GB starter model. You can also expand on that initial storage allowance via microSD cards of up to 128GB on both.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
Motorola DROID Turbo 48412
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 46284
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 41185.33
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
Motorola DROID Turbo 1814
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 1118
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 1230.33
Sunspider
Lower is better
Motorola DROID Turbo 828.2
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 370.5
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 1087.87
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 365.2
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Motorola DROID Turbo 27.7
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 26.3
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 25.9
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 40.9
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Motorola DROID Turbo 11.2
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 10
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 11.2
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 18.4
Geekbench 3 single-core
Higher is better
Motorola DROID Turbo 1060
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 1089
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 1112.67
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 1625
Geekbench 3 multi-core
Higher is better
Motorola DROID Turbo 2891
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 3302
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 3259.67
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 2918
View all

Internet and Connectivity


You have a choice of two pre-installed browsers to surf the web on the Galaxy Note Edge: a custom Samsung-made solution, and Google’s mobile Chrome. Both get the job done similarly well: Samsung’s solution syncs with Firefox, while Chrome has a cross-device syncing option with all other versions of Chrome; Samsung’s browser also has the neat full-screen browsing mode, while Chrome’s stand-out feature is its nice card-based interface. Both load webpages quickly, and scrolling as well as zooming in and out is snappy.

In terms of connectivity, the Note Edge features 4G LTE with speeds of up to 300Mbps for downloads (LTE Category 6), and it’s worth mentioning that the phone comes with versions for all major US carriers.

Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.1, dual-channel Wi-Fi, GPS, and NFC. The Note Edge also has an infra-red beamer with a companion app that allows you to use your phone as a remote for your TV, AC, and other electronics.

Camera

The 16-megapixel OIS camera on the Note Edge captures beautiful images with pleasing colors and a lot of detail, plus it does 4K video.

The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge comes with a 16-megapixel main camera with optical image stabilization, as well as a 3.7-megapixel front shooter. Unfortunately, when it comes to important details like the sensor used in the Galaxy Note Edge, Samsung is not sharing any details publicly except for the resolution and the 16:9 native aspect ratio. In terms of optics, the lens on the Note Edge has a focal length of 31mm (in 35mm equivalent) and an f/2.2 aperture.

The camera app on the Note Edge is also very similar to the one on the Note 4 with one notable exception: the edge. On the Note Edge, the on-screen camera shutter key and some other key settings are displayed on the edge itself. What this does is free up space on the main screen so that you have the full display to better compose your shots, but there is little added value apart from that - it does not make reaching for the button any easier (but nor does it make it much harder). For all else, the camera app is identical to the one on the Note 4: snappy and rich in options. Admittedly, some of the advanced options we were used to seeing in Samsung phones pre-Note 4 have been removed, and the experience is less cluttered, but you still retain manual control over things like ISO, white balance, and exposure.

When it comes to image quality, the Galaxy Note Edge captures some great-looking images with pleasing colors and an impressive amount of detail. The 16-megapixel snapper also does a good job with dynamic scenes. Indoors, pictures turn out pretty sharp, with low levels of noise (and optical stabilization seems to help here), and color rendering is also nice. The Note Edge's single LED flash lights up the frame fairly well, but it introduces a slight bluish cast. Interestingly, if we’re to compare images from the Note Edge side to side with ones from the Note 4, the similarity is striking - images turn out nearly identical.

The 3.7-megapixel front camera does a decent (but not stellar) job with selfies, and by default it does apply a ‘beautify effect’ to images (something that you can adjust).


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Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 1.93
2.1
435
293
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 2.8
2.8
353
273
Motorola DROID Turbo 2.8
4
409
358
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 2.9
2.9
351
278
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When speaking of video, the Note Edge can record 4K at 30 frames per second (fps), or 1080p at either 60 fps or 30 fps. 4K looks great: with nice colors, rich in detail and with a high, nearly 50Mbps bit-rate, plus you get to use the digital zoom option (you have up to 8x times zoom) while retaining a lot more detail than when you zoom in 1080p. 4K does have its small quirks, though - you can still record only 5-minute long clips at most, and you have to keep in mind that those recordings turn out very large in size. 1080p video quality is also very nice, and in both 4K and 1080p, the optical stabilization adds extra smoothness. The quality of sound recording is very good on the Note Edge that features three microphones for better noise cancellation.



Multimedia

The accurate screen on the Note Edge is a nice asset for image enthusiasts, and the spacious display with edge controls makes it easier to fast forward and skip back in videos.

The spacious, 5.6-inch screen of the Note Edge makes it a great device for media consumption - be it watching a movie, or browsing through images.

First, for images, the Note Edge is a particularly good fit because of its nicely calibrated display that shows photographs as they were meant to be seen. The stock Samsung gallery brings cloud integration, as well as a nice, two-column layout for easier navigation in your image gallery.

For videos and music, the stock Samsung apps have all their controls moved to the edge screen, something that we find to be convenient, as all of the main screen remains reserved for the content and you can enjoy it with less of an interruption.

Sound quality via the single loudspeaker on the back of the phone is fairly loud and clear, and you can even hear some depth to tunes, which is nice. Still, this is not a speaker that can match the industry-leading clarity and depth of a device like the HTC One (M8).

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 1.014
Motorola DROID Turbo 0.45
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 0.41
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 0.41
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 71.6
Motorola DROID Turbo 74
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 85
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 87
View all


Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review
Call Quality


Call quality is fairly good on the Note Edge: the earpiece is sufficiently loud, and voices sound mostly clear and natural, but if we had to pick the nits, we’d say that sound is a slightly bit muffled.

On the other end of the line, call quality was not as good: it is sufficiently loud, but there is an audible hiss.

Battery

The Note Edge has a large, 3000mAh battery that will easily last you a full day even under heavier use.

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review
The Note Edge has a fairly spacious 3000mAh juice pack, slightly smaller than the 3220mAh battery on the Note 4.

Our impressions are that the phone can easily last throughout a full day of use, even under heavier use, and battery life is similar to that of the Note 4. And if you are not using it very intensively, you can expect two days off the charger, which is definitely a good achievement. Add to that the fact that as you get more familiar with the edge screen (and if you use it a lot for quick glance information), you can expect to squeeze out even more juice out of the Note Edge’s battery. Also, stay tuned for our battery life test for the Note Edge that's coming up soon and that will give a more precise measurement of its longevity.

We should note that the Galaxy Note Edge has the benefit of a user-removable battery. You also have Samsung’s Ultra Power Saving Mode that turns the screen black and white, and caps the processor for some extreme power savings. It cuts access to all apps but the basic ones, but it keeps a browser and mobile data usable, and still manages to deliver more than 10 hours of juice with just 5% battery left.

Conclusion


It’s clear that the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is a niche, limited-edition phone that is a lot about showing off the futuristic-looking curved rim, and all the little things it can do. It’s also not a device for everyone, with an astronomical price of $399.99 on a 2-year contract, or $945.99 off-contract. However, it will be available on all four major US carriers in the middle of November, so it’s not impossible to get either.

Those who want to buy it over the Note 4 have just a single reason, and that is the showy, curved edge. For all else, the Note 4 is a nearly identical sibling of the Note Edge, with largely the same performance power and camera capabilities. And yes, if you want to have your phone always show off how different you are, that might be a good device. The edge screen also makes multitasking a bit quicker, and it is nice to have for quick glances at notifications.

After using it for a while, though, the edge seems to serve more as a gimmick and a show-off feature rather than something that brings a substantial benefit to functionality. And it definitely does not justify the high price of this concept-to-reality phone.