Galaxy Note Edge Review

**Update 4/6/15 4:17PM: It has been pointed out that there are, in fact, media player controls for Google Play and Spotify on the curved screen. So, correction, the media player controls are available for the Note Edge and are useful (you don’t have to close whatever app you’re in to skip or pause the song you’re listening to).**

You have to wonder if Samsung’s whole curved-display idea is going to become a mainstay in smartphone design, or if it is going to go the way of the clam shell phone. We’ve spent two weeks with the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, and while it looks great, runs great, and is generally a great phone, we’re still unsure if we need the curved display or not. But even with all of its great qualities, is the Galaxy Note Edge worth the price tag?

If you’re looking for an impressive look that will catch the eye of your friends and coworkers, then you definitely want to take a look at the Note Edge. The 5.6-inch Quad HD+ display with the curved screen is a unique take on cell phone design, and it certainly makes your phone look “cool.” But other than that, I didn’t find myself using the curved screen a lot. You can use it to check your notifications, open apps, bring up a ruler for quick measures, turn on the flashlight, brings up a stopwatch, and more. Different apps might make use of the curve, such as the camera placing the options on the right edge. You can have up to 7 different edges that you’re able to scroll through (sort of like your home screen). However, it all feels a bit frivolous. It doesn’t have music player controls (like with Google Play Music or Pandora), and the app notifications feel very limited in what information you’re getting. Also, if you want quick access to apps, why not just bring up the app drawer like you would on any other phone? I just don’t get it…

That doesn’t mean the Galaxy Note Edge is a failure, by any means. The Note Edge is a great phone — after all, you are basically getting a Galaxy Note 4. It even looks almost identical to the Note 4, if it weren’t for that cool-looking curved edge. That’s most certainly a good thing, since the Note 4’s design was so well-done. But, the Note Edge also gets many of its specs from the Note 4. It has the same high-resolution screen (2,560 x 1,600), 3GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of storage, and a 2.7GHz processor. It also has a microSD card slot to expand your memory. However, the Note Edge’s battery is slightly smaller than the Note 4, coming in with a 3,000mAh battery (compared to the 3,220mAh in the Note 4).

With the Note Edge, you’re also getting a well-designed stylus that has a great grip, feels stronger than most styluses, and comes with extra features (like image clipping). It’s also handy that the stylus slides right into the bottom of your phone (as it should).

The Note Edge also has a fantastic 16MP camera that is second to none in its class. Samsung has a history of creating great phones with great cameras, and the Note Edge is not exception. Picture quality is great, and even the front-facing camera is better than average, coming in at 3.7MP. Samsung also uses image stabilization that makes your pictures come out crisp and clear. And, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I didn’t use the selfie mode often, which allows for wider images. Don’t judge me.

I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t impressed with how smooth the Note Edge runs, because it is, so far, the snappiest smartphone I’ve used to date. I didn’t come across any lag, screen tearing or slowdowns in my two weeks of usage, even with numerous apps open in the tray. The battery stands tough as well, with nearly a full day of heavy usage without needing a recharge. The phone lasted nearly 8 hours before needing a recharge while playing Spotify playlists all day.

As far as gaming is concerned, SimCity Buildit and Modern Combat 5: Blackout both ran flawlessly and without any graphical hiccups. The big screen is a big plus for gaming, and its size and weight almost makes you feel like you’re holding a small PS Vita.

Galaxy Note Edge

One of the big negatives I found with the Note Edge is that it’s not exactly comfortable to hold with one hand. I should note that I do have relatively small hands — not carny small or anything like that, though. Still, the Note Edge is both slightly too long and slightly too wide to feel comfortable in just one hand. The only other negative I really found with the device is that it’s not yet running Android Lollipop. It’s apparently on the way, but it’s still a bummer that it’s not available yet.

Final Thoughts

The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is basically the Note 4 but with the addition of a curved screen and slightly less resolution. While the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge looks great, runs great and has a long-lasting battery, so does the Note 4, which just happens to be $150 cheaper. The Note Edge’s curved screen seems like an unnecessary, frilly addition that doesn’t warrant the price tag, unless you really just want to awe those around you. But as far as straight, every day usage is concerned, you’re better off saving the $150 and picking up the Note 4.

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