It's expensive and the curved screen adds nothing to the phone's overall utility, but the Galaxy Note Edge is still a quick and decent phone
Processor: Quad-core 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805, Screen Size: 5.6in, Screen resolution: 2,560×1,440 (+160), Rear camera: 16-megapixel, Storage: 32GB / 64GB, Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 151x82x8.3mm, Weight: 174g, Operating system: Android 4.4
The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is easily one of the most bizarre smartphones you’re likely to see this year. While the vast majority of the phone resembles Samsung’s excellent Galaxy Note 4 phablet, the key difference is the titular sloping edge on the right hand side of the handset, adding an extra 160 pixels to its 5.6in 2,560×1,440 resolution display.
It’s certainly a novel and eye-catching piece of design, but those hoping for a more manageable and pocket-friendly phablet over the 5.8in Note 4 will be disappointed, as the extra resolution actually makes the Note Edge closer in width to the palm-hogging Nexus 6. Measuring 151x82x8.3mm, we found reaching over to the other side of the screen was a bit of a stretch when using the phone single-handed, but at least the textured faux leather rear provided more grip than its Google rival.
You’re unlikely to drop it, then, but we’re not convinced the curve adds any real value to the phone’s overall practicality. It makes it easier to swipe through the various side panels on offer – which range from the default app launcher to the day’s weather, stats from Samsung’s S Health app, news headlines, data usage, a Windows-esque task bar and even a burger-stacking game – but none of them use the curve in any meaningful way and we found that shunting everything to one side felt needlessly cramped when we tried tapping each one’s respective icons.
^ The curve houses separate side panels to the main screen which you can scroll through with a swipe of your thumb
Cycling through the side panels backwards was even more frustrating, as we repeatedly caught the edge of the main screen in the same motion, resulting in several unintentional trips to the full-screen Flipboard app that sits to the left of the main home screen.
Still, we never accidentally hit any of the curved app launcher icons when reaching across the side of the screen, regardless of which hand we were using. While the phone has clearly been designed with right-handed users in mind, left-handed users have been catered for here as well, as you can flip the edge panel’s orientation when you rotate the phone 180 degrees.
Naturally, this means the home, back and recent app buttons will be located rather unhelpfully at the top of the handset, but luckily Samsung’s provided onscreen buttons to help counteract this problem. However, you’ll still have to turn the phone the right way up to answer calls, as there’s no microphone at the top of the phone and the lower microphones weren’t good enough to pick up our voice when we tried taking a call with the phone upside down.
The only good thing about the curved edge is the night clock, which shows the time and date for up to 12 hours when the phone’s in sleep mode. This means you can lie the phone flat on your bedside table and immediately see the time without having to reach over and turn it on.
^ The Night Clock is a great feature, but it’s the only one that really uses the curve in any meaningful way
The clock’s brightness is just right, too, so it won’t distract you from getting to sleep. This is a great bit of design which makes clever use of the phone’s unique design, although thew position of the time on the curve means you can’t see the top of each number if you sleep level with or just below your bedside table.
|Quad-core 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805
|32GB / 64GB
|Memory card slot (supplied)
|Price SIM-free (inc VAT)
|Price on contract (inc VAT)
|£49 on a £53.50-per-month contract
|Prepay price (inc VAT)