Welcome to the new round of MI looking at the unique and brand new Samsung GALAXY Note Edge
Our new reviewers @Aegnor and @cbates will be getting their handsets very soon and in the meantime I was lucky enough to have a play.
Here are my initial thoughts
After a bit of a play I have the following questions for the reviewers - please add your own below
Mob insiders alumni: @deanja @Annirowe @pedha @vampirebrigade @broncook74 @dkeppie @jupiter, would be awesome to get your questions on the phone too and any words of wisdom for the newbies so they can do great reviews
EDIT: If you would like to simply purchase this handset, you can do so just here.
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OK guys I'll kick things off. Good luck and look forward to your reviews.
I'm still using the original Samsung Galaxy Note 1, some 4 years old now, was one of those that everyone laughed at taking up this device which coined the nickname of the Phablet. Too, big they said, nobody would ever want a device that size, Apple vowed that they would never go that big, but now just look at what's happened. Every maker has gone BIG even Apple.
Work the device to the end, don't be afraid to use the Spen and it's apps. If you aren't used to it you'll find after a while it's a gem.
What devices have you been using, Android, Windows, IOS?
How do you find the speed or pace at which the Note Edge works at, my Note 1 is now compared to later notes a slow coach.
I'll also be pleased to learn how you find the Memo Voice recorder which personally I wish i had on the 1.
Finally, if your are used to previous Android devices don't be put off by the fact that this delightful looking phone introduces from Samsung some new behavioural learning to get used too, not just that side panel.
Hi Jeff, Kat,
I'm much like you, in that my current phone is a Samsung Galaxy Note II. Prior to that, I'd had an iPhone 4 and was dubious about the leap in size to the Note, but soon came to love it.
I'll certainly try the Voice Memo feature. It will be new to me too. The S-Pen on the II is pretty slick, but I still find myself not using it for a couple of months on end, and then getting it out for something - will be keen to see how it has evolved in a couple of generations of the Note.
Kat, will certainly cover the points you raise. The size and usefulness of the sidebar are going to be the points of most interest initially I'd suspect. I'm a lefty, so I'll get to see whether the 'work-around' solution Samsung has apparently included to make the sidebar functional when the phone is held in the left hand works as well.
Can't wait to get my hands on the Edge and put it through it's paces. I should say thanks to Telstra for the opportunity.
If anyone else has anything in particular they are curious to know about, please let me know and I'll endeavour to include it in my review.
Hi guys! My name is Carly! I am a total newbie so don't be afraid to give me some tips!
First I just want to say a big thankyou to Telstra who have been so great to provide me with a free Samsung Galaxy Note Edge to review for you guys! if you want to find me on twitter and come say hi! you will find me at @TheAussieGal
So i received the phone this morning and have been a bit busy so i have only had a small amount of time to actually look at it. This will just be a post about my impressions and intial reactions to the phone so sit back, relax and enjoy and i promise that i will be back with more!
Okay so i unboxed the phone and was very excited to see that i had been provided with the black colour model! The contents of the box were the phone and S-Pen, a white set of earphones (that look a little better than the standard sets you usually get with things) although i'm not sure why they are not black so that they match the phone, two replacement earphone covers, some clip thing (i was not sure what this was for) so i had to search and find out that they are replacement nibs for the S-Pen and a little tool that helps you change them over.
The Box also contains a charger which you can unplug the cord from and stick into a usb port. I was suprised at the lack of information provided in the box. I would've expected that you would have a huge amount of info to read through that will help you learn about all the great and hidden features of this phone. Instead i have a warranty, an ad and a quick start guide which contains more warnings than info. From this guide i can see that i will need to go to samsung's website if i want the user manual or any other info. It also gives a basic diagram describing the device layout, sim and battery installation and charging the battery. This phone needs a microsim which i don't have right now.
You can check out @Aegnor's twitter or instagram where he has posted pics of his unboxing! i have also retweeted his pics.
The size of the phone was not what i was expecting at all! i think that it is a great size and it actually does fit well in my hand and i can get a good grip on it due to the texture of the back case. I was concerned about the sizing because i am only 162cm tall and therefore i have small hands! I am also a left hander but somehow i seem to do everything beside writing with my right hand lol and there is an option to turn the phone's display 180degrees to accomodate for the lefties! The phone is a fairly large size and samsung have obviously taken advantage of this and made the most of the screen real estate.
The phone is also suprisingly light and fairly slim. I like the sleek look and feel of this phone and i like the shape. It is also not a crazy leap to use this phone if you have had a smart phone before. Swiping and tapping feels so natural to me and i am curious to see how i will go while using the S Pen with this device.This phone provides the most responsive touchscreen experience that i have ever had. I found a setting that will allow you to turn the touch sensitivity up in the event that you are using the phone while wearing gloves but i haven't tried it out yet.
On the back of the box are some the phone's specs.
* 4g LTE network with up to 300Mbps Downlink & up to 50Mbps Uplink
* it's CPU is a 2.7GHz quad core processor
* it has 32gb of space
* the display is 141.9 mm (5.6") Quad HD+ Super AMOLED
* 16MP AF OIS Camera and the front camera is 3.7Mp
I put the phone on to charge and went and did something else and came back to a charged phone. I will have to let it run down and try to gauge the charging time required vs the battery life.
So i finally get to turn the phone on and i am amazed at the bright, clear and crisp display that is in front of me. I am keen to check it out and thankfully samsung has given me the option of skipping steps and setting the phone up later on. It is such a little thing but i hate being forced to enter all your details and set a device up before being allowed to see the goods, so to speak. So after bypassing all of that, i am brought to the home screen where i get to have the first look at the edge feature.
This feature is something that i will have to explore really thoroughly but on first glance, it looks amazing! It is already set up with some basic apps and it lets you swipe down, up and sideways. Up or down swipes will open these additional little menus that you can go into.
So for example if i swipe down on the EDGE panel, it brings up a sub menu which allows me to bring up a ruler app (i know right!) which will measure 10cms and it has an extra cm there which would make it 11cms, but it has the X (that closes the app), in that space.
Also the other features in this sub menu are a stopwatch, egg timer that runs for 30secs, a torch (yay such a handy feature) and a voice recorder. I turned that on for a sec and was so suprised to see that the voice recorder dimly flashes every time that it picked up a sound which will be so handy to have the visual confirmation, that you are actually capturing sound. I have just located this voice recording file in the audio section of my files and the audio that i captured was pretty clear even though my house is really noisy right now and i live next to a main road, oh and the neighbour is mowing! You can hear these sounds as white noises in the background but my voice is pretty audible because i am sitting right next to it. I might play with this feature a little later!
Swiping up from the bottom of the EDGE panel will bring out another sub menu. This one contains the cog symbolising the settings for the edge screen. You can manage your panels from here as well customise what they show you for example a personal message. This is another feature that i will have to play with.
And finally if you slide the EDGE panel left or right, you are able to view the panels that you have selected. I am keen to try this function out because this feature is the selling point of the phone. I am curious to see how many times that i will accidently touch these apps while just trying to use the phone.
I think that the torch feature was a great one that samsung has added and i love how easily accessible they have made it. I can't even count the amount of times that i could've used some light and sometimes just fumbling around with a phone in the dark and trying to find an app and turn it on, is too annoying to bother with. I can tell that this feature will be appreciated by many users. (the torch app just keeps your camera's flash turned on until you turn it off)
I have only had the quickest look at the camera app so far although i already love how this app allows you to take pictures in quick procession which is great for those users who like to take actions shots or have children and pets (which are notoriously hard to take a good photo of). Another great point to add is that a lot of camera apps force you to review the picture that you have taken before you can take another but not this app! I have to try taking a few pictures in different settings but the few that i have taken while sitting here have turned out pretty clear and really do the picture matter justice. Samsung have included a few different options that will allow you to toy with the camera features and again, this is something that i will be exploring later on.
Oh i do have to mention this innovative feature of the camera app that will probably make the selfie kings and queens out there, want to scream, while taking a selfie of course! When you select the front camera option, taking a selfie or two hundred, couldn't be any easier. Basically on the back of the phone, just under the camera lens, there is a sensor that is called a heart rate sensor and you put your finger over this sensor and then when you take your finger off, the phone will take your selfie but alternatively you could just tap the screen as well. (selfie= self photo or photo of one's self)
Now onto the S Pen. Samsung have made a nice little home for this pen to live (securely) inside the phone and you just grab the edge of the pen to pull it out. Now the first time that i did this, i hit the back button on the phone so i asked a friend to show me how they would take the pen out and you know what? My friend did the exact same thing! If you grab the pen out of the phone, it will automatically bring up it's own little menu with the words "air command" in the middle with four other options around it. Now i have just realised that there is a little button on the pen and when you point the pen at the screen and click it, this action will bring up that air command menu again. This pen has a really amazing tracking device so you don't have to have the pen right on the screen for it to get picked up by the phone. I have got it as far away from the screen as 2cms before the phone couldn't register it. You can also use the pen to tap on the back button. A feature of this pen is that when you take it out of the phone, it will unlock your screen so just be wary of that.
So while i am sort of on the subject, i might as well give you my thoughts on the lock screen. I love how easy it is to unlock with just one quick swipe. The lockscreen has the camera app on it and when you have taken your picture, you just hit the back button to get taken to the phone menu. While on the lockscreen, you can still swipe sideways on the edge panel although the apps don't activate if you touch them. You can swipe down and pull out that menu that i mentioned earlier though and bring up those handy little apps (remember the torch?) without having to unlock your phone. I think that's really convenient and that is the point of having the edge panel! Also on this lock screen is the time, date, signal and battery indicator. To lock the screen you just quickly push the power button and you can push it again to light up the screen so that you can unlock it. There is a lovely button on the front of the phone that will also light up the lock screen and i just discovered that if you push it twice from the lock screen, it takes you to the s-voice set-up. This could be very useful! it looks like i will need to connect it to my internet to try it out though.
Another app that i did quickly test out is the music player. So there is a sample song included on the phone but i just don't know if it does the speakers justice and i will have to try them out with some of my music and hear the difference if there is any. Currently i think that this sounds just like a typical phone lol I will have to try the headphones also and see if they sound great!
I do like the positioning of the speaker itself though because it is situated on the bottom left hand area right near where the S Pen lives. Samsung has positioned this so that if you are holding the phone in your left hand, you won't muffle the sound with your hands or fingers and even if you were holding it in your right hand, you would still avoid it.
I have found the feature that will allow you to store your fingerprint in the phone so that you are able to unlock the phone with a fingerprint scan as well as web sign in, verifying your samsung account and paying with paypal. You have to swipe your finger downwards over your home key (front button) ten times to register although i didn't go further than this screen today.
The only thing that i don't like so far, is how the volume button is on the side of the phone. Yes it is more towards the top of the left hand side but i can still see it getting in the way as this positioning would be better if it was placed on the top of the phone somewhere, just like the power button is.
Well there you go! these are just my little observations so far. I definately need to have more of a play with this phone and i look forward to that. I know that this is a long post but i just couldn't help but rave about the features that i am discovering! I want to give you guys a lot of information about it. I am feeling positive about this phone and my impressions are just getting more positive about it as i go along. I will have more for you guys soon! take care and thanks for reading this!
so just quickly here are some answers. these are for kat and jeff.
i think that the edge panel is easy to use so far but i will have more of a play
i can use the phone if it is resting in one hand and it sits there snugly while i check it out.
i like the size!
i will see about this battery life soon because it is such a big phone, i do wonder how good the battery will be. and i am planning to let you know about the recharge time vs battery life
i have been using the iphone 4.
i find this phone to be really responsive and it does what you want very quickly. i will update you if there are any issues of use.
Just a word of caution, don't be to pre-judgemental about the battery life. You'll find that it normally takes a few recharge cycles for the batteries to settle in with these units before you can gauge the longevity of the battery. Also remember you can normal charge or there's the newly introduced fast charge arrangement with the Note 4 range.
Also mentioned was the lack of guides/manuals that came with the phone, usual these days. You should find a little more info on using features in a folder on the phone, however, the Full Comprehensive user manual for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 EDGE is available at the following link, and can be downloaded as a PDF: http://www.phonearena.com/phones/Samsung-Galaxy-Note-Edge_id8887/manual
Worth your while to get a copy of this or anyone who might be thinking of buying one. I always like to look through the user manual for products when available to see that features etc. will suit me.
yeah i haven't had a big phone before but i have heard people complain about the battery for these types of phones so i was just cautious. so far i haven't had to charge it yet but i turned it off last night. thank you so much for the tip though and the link.. And ya know my phone is the iphone 4 so it has been such a long time since i have bought one.
i gave you a kudos for your post.
thanks for reading my incredibly long post!
i have been playing with importing the photo's to my laptop. so i plugged in the phone via the usb and it starts loading on it's drivers and what not. it took about the usual amount of time and then it was done! no problems installing to my laptop. i love how while organising your phone, it gets charged as well which is standard but you might not know this. i will upload some photos to twitter and test out those speakers! aegnor pointed out that you can write a message over a photo which i think is a great idea! how many people will use this to personalize their photos or maybe even make gender announcements! this is a really fun feature! i think that samsung has put in many features that enhance your user experience and in my opinion, takes it to the next level.
A few more questions for you please
also - have you picked up any cool shortcuts or tricks with the phone you could share with us please?
Yes the Note 4 and the Edge share pretty much the same specs.
Guys do you think we could see some of your artist and photographic efforts on here rather than just on Instgram and twitter?
sorry guys i was meaning to post some more reviews and pics on here today but i have been busy. i will be back tomorrow with pics. bear with me please.
No worries mate, just hang in there and I'll get the instuctions to you.
OK, the best idea is to have the pictures in your pictures folder on your pc, easiest way.
See if the pictorials I've provided below are plain enough to follow:
Step 1: once you've opened up your posting window:
Step3: Now you will insert the picture:
Bingo, you've got the best dressed Beagle in town in your post ....
Hi so this is a screenshot of a quick message that i was able to write over the top of a photo. There are a few different options here, you can chose what type of writing instrument effect you would like eg pencil or marker and you have the option of colour and line width. i think that this is a great feature to use! the S PEN is fantastic and precise and it shows my beautiful handwriting so well
i played with the panarama feature in the camera app. first i am really, really impressed that you can get a 360 degree panarama instead of the 180 degree that most phones do. Taking a panarama pic is super easy, just start to take a photo and spin around slowly and the landscape shows up in the bar, just like you are taking a video of it. Other phones will make you take a pic of whatever you can fit into the on-screen box and you just take many "box" photos and then it will string them together to get the whole view. I hope that i explained that ok.
The pic that i have taken is too dark because it is cloudy here. i will try to get a nice one to post. Also i find that i try to upload pics and it says that the file size is too big. So i take alot to see what will upload. I am not sure how to make the file smaller without comprimising the quality
once you have taken your photo, you actually have quite a few options, if you want to give your photo an edit.
you can change the tone of a pic, you can add different effects (i like pop art and stardust) and also layer these different effects.
if you select the portait edit, you can remove red eye, brighten up faces, air brush and put a face out of focus. So the airbrush will be another feature that will be loved by those selfie masters and will reduce the amount of re-shoots that you will have to do lol
The decoration edit will allow you to put stickers on a pic and i think that these are very cartoony!
You can also put stamps on which will give you time and date options.
you can put labels on that allow you to type in a message and you can use your predictive text here to save time typing.
You have a selection of frames
You can draw something
And you can add an image that is stored eleswhere on your phone.
You will find these edited photos in the studio folder of your phone.
One feature that i found amazing is the selective focus feature because you can focus the lens on on particular spot and the rest of the subject matter, will be out of focus. Now this is an amzing effect that could be put to great use. You could focus on one beautiful flower out of a whole sea of flowers or on a few blades of grass out of a whole lawn. Sadly this pic will not upload as it is too big but i took a picture of my christmas tree and focused on a bauble. It came out so sharp and so clear while the rest of the tree was out of focus.
If you are a keen photographer and want to re-create stunning photos at home, then this definately would be worth trying. These features will certainly help to jazz up your photo album!
This image has examples of a frame, stickers, stamp and label
I was trying out the flash and taking a pic of a spinning bauble. This camera has done a great job of capturing this picture even though the object was moving around!
Sorry this is a blurry photo but on the right hand side, you can see those little dotty details that this phone has picked up. I am impressed with how detailed the photos can actually get. The Auto focus is pretty quick as well
this is what you get if you pick the ART POP effect several times! What do you think? is it worth a million bucks?
i went to go to the telstra shop the other day to get a sim and a case but the shop was absolutely packed lol so i will have to go back another time when i can actually get in the door! you guys were so incredibly busy and there was heaps of staff on but just too many customers. The edge was on the first display table where you walk in and a lot of people were checking it out while they were waiting. i just was in a rush to get my cold groceries home. Next time i will go there first! it's just that time of year where everyone is out and about!
ok so with heavy usage i have gotten a full day today off the battery. With turning it off at night and light usage, i got three days. it charges in about an hour. i love the sound on this, it's pretty decent. the headphones sound pretty good as well. i love being able to control the music from the edge panel and also from the lock screen.
There is a power saving mode and ultra power saving mode that will only leave essental things running.
file transfer to the phone was pretty quick.
i have found a night clock mode.
SOME ANSWERS- yeah this phone does seem to be impressing my family and friends. they all go straight for that edge! then i get all paranoid like "please don't drop it" lol
i am yet to try a gaming app but i am keen!
and i have to get a sim to try out the phone and messaging aspect
so far i haven't had any particular shortcuts. it does seem to be getting more familiar to me and i am still playing around with it! the edge does provide a lot of quick options of access to things and i did just find that i can control my music from the lock screen, if you would call that a short cut lol
Great stuff 'Aussie Gal'. Really sounds like you are enjoying getting your teeth into the Edge. Make sure you gat a case for it, my Note 1 has been in a soft rubbery type case since day one, has had several small drops but hasn't got a single scratch or mark on it. They are worth investing in.
awesome photos! Loving your reviews guys
Some moew questions
- Do you find the settings easily customisable?
- Will the phone be replacing your usual phone do you think?
so the other night, i went looking at christmas lights because i wanted to test out the night mode on the camera. There was also a beautiful thunder and lightning storm going on so i have tried to capture some images just to show you guys! i didn't use a flash.
I was taking pictures while i was a passenger in the car. This is one of the better shots that i managed to get. This is taken at a beach
No flash and moving/action shot
and here is my fav picture. still an action shot but it is incredible
it is amazing what pictures that you could take with this phone.
Ok, apologies for going quiet for a couple of days. The end of last week was pretty hectic at work, but on holidays now, which means I've got time to play with my phone and time to post on here!
First up, I've dusted off the laptop to actually be able to post some of the pictures I've tweeted/Instagrammed on the thread here (the mobile site doesn't seem to support uploading pics unless I'm missing something).
I've found the camera on the Note Edge super-impressive. I'll preface that by saying I haven't had a good play with an iPhone 6, so I can't do a direct comparison to that. But coming from a Galaxy Note 2 which wasn't even in the same league, this camera is great. Weirdly, it is also heaps heaps better than the Galaxy S5 my wife has, which both she and I have always found extremely disappointing.
The Note Edge takes beautiful pictures with minimal effort. I haven't even played with any of the options in it yet, just let the auto settings do their thing. I've cropped each of the below photos so they were small enough to upload here - you can see the level of detail and colour it captures.
For me, these are pretty good results. I'm by no means super-practiced at taking anything beyond quick happy snaps, and each of these was just "point-click". It probably helps that the phone's screen is so good that they look great on the phone as well.
I also took some 'unboxing' shots when I first got the phone delivered. (these photos obviously weren't taking on the Edge, they were taken with my old Note 2).
So it comes with the phone, battery separate, earphones, earphone covers, a VERY brief quick start guide, quick charge charger and USB cord and some little things I couldn't work out, but which @cbates informs us are replacement nibs for the S-Pen.
The material etc on the box were nice - probably not quite as nice as an iPhone, but 70-80% there (and really, the unboxing doesn't last very long).
Hey, so glad you were able to get those shots up on site, hope my instructions helped, because they are just absolutely stunning.
Every details on that beautiful pooch just stand out and jump right off the page at you, well done.
Who needs to cart an DSLR camera around when you can get shots like those, and with the effects shown in previous posts, we could all become professional photographers with just a Galaxy Note 4/ Edge.
My Samsung Note Edge Review - Life with the Edge after one week.
Apologies if this is a giant wall of text. If you want a TL;DR version, I've put in an intro and a conclusion that will give you the broad picture.
My overall impressions of the Samsung Note Edge are very much positive. This impresses as a serious bit of hardware that has a lot of cool features and does many things very well. My only concern is the size – specifically the width, which even for a phablet is pushing it, and the shape on the right hand edge. The curved Edge screen offers some nice-to-have functionality, but does contribute to the two negatives I’ve just mentioned.
The screen is the star of the show on this phone. It is what you notice, and obviously this phone is an exercise in getting as big and high quality a screen in your hand, and making good use of it.
The screen is super-crisp. I’ll be honest and say that most of the benefit of all those extra pixels a QHD screen brings is probably lost on me, because my eye-sight is that super-humanly good. But it does look sharper and more crisp that my previous “HD” phone (a Note 2) and my wife’s Galaxy S5.
The colours are vibrant in a way I’ve become accustomed to from a Super AmoLED display from Samsung. Watching video and looking at pictures on it is a joy. From looking at some of the pictures I’ve taken, I’m pretty happy that the colours are reproduced quite accurately, although as I’m said I’m very much a lay-person in the photography stakes.
The screen can go very bright as well, which can be handy. Most of the time I keep it banked down to around 10% on the brightness slider, which looks great and clear in the shade/dark. But when I’ve wanted to use it in full bright sunshine, I’ve whacked it up all the way, and you can easily see everything very well. I’ve never had a phone/tablet that is able to be usable in really bright sunshine like that.
The screen might be the defining feature, but the Edge display is the phone’s distinguishing characteristic. I’m a little torn on it to be honest. The functionality of having a row of app buttons there (you can choose which apps it shows, so I’ve just gone for my most frequently used), is pretty handy. It’s basically like the Windows task bar at the bottom of your PC screen, except it’s along the right hand side where your thumb can easily reach it. Like the Windows task bar, it will shrink down when you don’t use it, and a quick sideways swipe with your thumb brings it back. You can also have a multiple number of “Edge” screens you can then flick through. The defaults are the “task bar”, and a bar that shows the weather and missed call/message notifications (this bar pops up when you get a notification). You can also add bars that have Fitness info (seems to be a pedometer etc), Twitter trending topics, a Stock Market Ticker, Sports scores, or your contacts. So far, I’ve just left it at the two, although my 9 year old today added a bar that has a memory match game you play entirely in the Edge screen.
All of these features are kinda cool. I’m getting used to the convenience of just tapping on the app I want when I’m swapping from Chrome to Twitter to Whatsapp etc.
At night, it acts as a clock, so you can read the time without having to pick up the phone (handy if like me your phone has taken the place of clocks in the house).
But, and there is a but here. I’m not convinced that any of this required the curved extra screen. There’s no reason you couldn’t do the same on a flatscreen. Yes, the curved bit gives you a little more room you can get your thumb around, but it would work on a flat screen. And it comes at a cost. The Edge is 82.4 mms wide, rather than the Note 4’s 78.6. Now, I know that’s only a difference of just under 4mm, but the thing is the Note 4 is already pretty close to the maximum wideness a phone can be and remain holdable with a single hand. That extra 0.4 of a centimetre is felt. Also, because the screen is curved on the right edge, it resolves into a bit of a wedge shape in your hand that is a touch unfriendly to hold. It’s not quite ‘pointy’, but it is a narrower part pressing into your hand than it otherwise would. It’s a little less comfortable than would otherwise be the case, and makes it a feel a little awkward to hold.
These aren’t deal-breakers for me by any means. But they are definite drawbacks that I’m not sure the extra functionality compensates fully.
Battery life is pretty important to me. I use my phone non-stop on a 90 minute each-way commute to and from work and through the day at work. Good battery life has always been a feature of the Note series and the Note Edge doesn’t disappoint. I’m finding that I’m getting through the 3 hours of non-stop screen on usage on the train, combined with the intermittent use at work, with 30-40% of the battery left at the end of the day. That’s on 4G all the time.
As mentioned above, I keep my screen brightness at the lower end most of the time, which obviously helps.
That performance is significantly better than my Note 2, despite the move to a QHD screen.
The other big plus with the battery is with the fast charge feature. It will normally charge from about 10% to about 60% within half an hour (assuming you leave the phone sleeping while it’s charging), so that’s pretty handy if you need to grab some juice into the phone between getting home and heading out again for instance. From around 60% it seems to slow down a little bit, but still went from 10% to 95% in about 65 minutes the other day.
I’m looking forward to see what Android 5 (Lollipop) looks like on this phone, but 4.4 with Samsung’s Touchwiz skin is actually a pretty nice beast on this phone. I wasn’t planning to replace my Note 2 with another Samsung because Touchwiz and the associated bloatware was annoying me, but they’ve certainly improved the experience. Notably, again, compared to my wife’s S5, this feels like a much nicer experience to use. It’s quick, responsive, looks nice.
Several of the Samsung “features” actually seem like useful additions rather than pure useless bloat like they were on previous Samsungs. On my limited experimenting with it, I found S-Voice to be better than Google Now in understanding my verbal commands.
It adds a Flipboard screen as the left-most panel of the home screen that you apparently can’t get rid of. It’s better than the useless “My Magazine” screen on the S5, but honestly, I’d be happier with it not there and the option to just scroll all the way around back to the start, but that’s not too bad.
Most of the frustrating rubbish from Touchwiz seems to have been toned down and made less obtrusive.
The sound is perfectly adequate on speaker. I don’t think it’s in the HTC One M8 class, but it’s not bad by any stretch. Sound through the headphones is good.
The S-Pen and its associated software support on the phone is the other defining feature of Samsung’s Note family. It’s a great feature but one which you also might not use for days, weeks, or months on end.
I’ve been a fan of the concept of taking notes directly onto my device. I can type faster than I write on-screen, but I find there are times when typing is distracting in a way that jotting notes isn’t. I’ve wanted to use this feature at work on a semi-regular basis.
At work I use an iPad Air 2. After spending $45 on a third party stylus and $30 on handwriting apps, I’ve got a solution that isn’t quite as good as just carrying around a notebook, with the one advantage that I’m less likely to lose my iPad. But the functionality is just nowhere near what I’d want to use it day in/day out.
The Note Edge has the level of functionality I want, and it has it out of the box. The S Pen is lovely to write with. The Air menu that pops up is handy. The handwriting-recognition and conversion to text is the best I’ve seen in any device I’ve ever been able to have a hands on play with. I’m a lefty and my handwriting is a messy scrawl. If I make a modicum of effort to write legibly (not printing, just writing cursive somewhat neatly), the Note Edge will understand it and convert it to text. It is then easy to manipulate that text. You can choose to write and correct as you go (which functions like predictive text on a swipe keyboard pretty much) or write a whole screed and then simply circle it all and convert it all at once. It also can be set to ignore any palm presses or accidental touches with your finger. I haven’t found any iOS app that will do all that. The only drawback to using it as a notepad all the time is that it’s a touch too small. It’s very much useable, but I wish I could get the functionality of the S-Pen/S-Note combo on my iPad – it would literally mean I’d never use an actual notebook again.
There are a ton of fun things you can do with the S-Pen as well. You can write/draw directly onto photos you take, use the S-Pen to select text, take screen-shots of part of the screen, and so on.
That said, as I noted before, based on my experience with the Note 2, you can then also weeks without even thinking about pulling out the S-Pen from it’s neat little hidey-hole. It’s improved a hell of a lot since my Note 2, but I don’t know that it will be something most people will use every day. It’s a lovely option to have though.
Other Neat Things:
The Note Edge has a finger-print scanner in its home key you can set to provide the security for your phone, in lieu of a pin number, pattern swipe or password. It’s very easy to set up, and you can put 3 fingers into it (so you could put you and your partner’s print into it for instance). That said, I’ve found it quite frustrating to use at times. Not least because the phone is so big, it can be hard to swipe your thumb across the button at just the right angle without using both hands. If your finger is on an angle, you swipe too fast or if your finger is even a little bit sweaty (say from holding a leather-backed phone on a 30+ degree day) it won’t read it properly. It’s a pretty good function, but I’m getting close to disabling it and going back to a pattern swipe that I can reliably execute first time one handed.
The Voice Note/Memo thing is pretty cool. In S-Note, and maybe a couple of other functions, you can set it to convert voice-to-text. It copes pretty well with Australian accents, and like my hand-writing with the S Pen, I found that as long as I made a slight effort to speak clearly and distinctly it captured what I was saying near perfectly. The voice recognition here and in the S-Voice function seems miles ahead of Siri was when it first came out (although haven’t played with Siri recently).
Another cool thing about S-Voice, you can set it to always listen for a wake-up phrase and it will instantly turn on and start working. Its default is “Ok Galaxy”, but you can make it anything you like – “Hey dumbass”, “Listen up you bucket of bolts”, “Hey Jarvis”. It’s daggy (well, at least the way I use it) but good.
I discussed the camera in the previous post where I put up the photos, but it's another big plus for this phone. It takes lovely pictures, easily and quickly.
Overall, I’m really enjoying my Galaxy Note Edge. My only real quibbles with it are the size, which is right at the very edge of what I find comfortable, and the slightly ungainly shape caused by the curved screen. Everything else about the phone has honestly exceeded my expectations, in some cases by a long way.
There are features I haven’t played with yet. Some of them I will try to, others I suspect I may not actually find til after this review period is done.
It won’t be for everyone. For some people, especially if they don’t have big hands, the size will instantly rule it out. My wife is in that category. Her S5 is already as big a phone as she finds comfortable to use (and still sometimes says she’d prefer something iPhone 4 sized) and while she’s impressed by the Note Edge, she is adamant there’s no way she’d use it day to day.
For me the jury is out on whether the extra things the Edge screen lets you do is worth the ergonomic costs it comes with. That said, I’m getting used to it and I may find I miss the taskbar desperately if I go to use another phone. I think it would be one of those things you don’t realise you’ve come to rely on til it was taken away.
I wrote earlier in this thread that the Note 4 might be this phone’s biggest rival. That’s because almost everything I unreservedly love about this phone is shared with the Note 4, whereas the things I’m unsure of are the things that distinguish the Edge from the 4. And the Note 4 costs $300 less than the Edge if you buy them outright. I really like my Edge, but I’m not sure the novelty and the extra bit of functionality is worth that kind of premium.
If the Note 4 didn’t exist, I’d have no hesitation recommending this phone to anyone. As it is, I suggest you have a look at both and have a think about whether the Edge is worth it to you. Either way, you’ll be getting a really good premium phone.
I’ll do a further review next week, and as I’m on holidays now (yee-haw) I’ll have some more time to play with all the cool features of the phone some more.
I'll keep posting photos and maybe some thoughts on the phone on my twitter @aegnor79 and my instagram (also @aegnor79, I was feeling original, ok?)
If you have any questions re: any of the above, or about anything to do with the phone, let me know and I'll do my best to answer them.
Hey, so glad you were able to get those shots up on site, hope my instructions helped, because they are just absolutely stunning.
Every details on that beautiful pooch just stand out and jump right off the page at you, well done.
Who needs to cart an DSLR camera around when you can get shots like those, and with the effects shown in previous posts, we could all become professional photographers with just a Galaxy Note 4/ Edge.
Yep, your instructions certainly helped Jeff - thanks!
Just to explicitly answer the questions @katroberts and others have put up so far:
Yes, and one thing I should have said before is that while I was worried I’d push it all the time by accident, it seems to have some intelligent software that ignores wider ‘palm pushes’ and only responds to deliberate touches from a finger.
Yes I can use it, but only just. It really couldn’t be any wider and still be user-friendly in my opinion. That said, I love the big gorgeous screen, so nice you read off, and watch videos/games on.
No-one has approached me on the train – maybe I just don’t give off friendly vibes! When they saw it, my brother was interested to have a play, as were a couple of tech-oriented guys at work.
A couple. Will hopefully have more time for that in the coming days. Personal favourites like Ski Safari look great and run very smoothly on it.
Very easy, and the sound quality on calls is very good. That said, the one real glitch I’ve had with the phone was on Thursday when phone calls stopped working. They’d go through, but then neither party could hear the other. Was a tad annoying as I was at work on the road in the middle of a busy day. Eventually, after looking for any options I might have inadvertently hit, I decided to try the universal IT remedy (I turned it off and then turned it back on) and voila it was working properly again. Only a one off problem so far, so hopefully was just a freak thing and doesn’t happen again (forgot to mention this in my main review, although as I said, it's only happened once, so not holding it against the phone at this point).
Being able to write on, and edit photos with the S-Pen, along with the Voice-Memo and S-Voice probably fit this mark for me.
Yes, very much so.
At this stage definitely. Before I received this phone, I was thinking about moving to a slightly smaller phone, and if a really nice Android handset around the size of a Galaxy S5 or HTC One M8 comes out next year, I might be tempted to swap, but I suspect I’d miss the big screen too much.
One final thing. Because the phone is already quite big, I’m loathe to get a case for it. I had the official Samsung Flip case for the Note 2, and even though that added no real bulk, it was still a pain given the size of that phone. But, I am thinking I might need to. The metal rim that goes around the screen is actually pretty easily scratched. While I haven’t put this in a case, I take pretty good care of my phones. On ONE occasion, I dropped it into my trouser pocket that already had a single coin in it (and immediately thought OH NO!). I heard the phone hit it, and sure enough, there’s a little scratch on the metal rim. So that’s a minor negative as well (not one that’s unique to this phone by any means, but still, I want phone manufacturers to somehow get past this!)
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