Recent times have been a little bit hard for Samsung, with the company recently reporting a 60 percent slump in profits. How different from just months ago, when the corporation proclaimed that it wished to displace Apple Inc. NASDAQ:AAPL at the head of the mobile marketplace, and appeared to have a vaguely realistic hope of doing so.
Times change pretty quickly in technology, though, and at the moment Samsung is engaged more in a damage limitation exercise than any attempt to storm Apple’s fortress.
Samsung and innovation
However, with the release of the Galaxy Note Edge, Samsung is attempting to address one of the issues which has arguably plagued it in recent years. While the Korean manufacturer is a solid developer of devices and generally produces high quality products, there has been a lack of imagination in its range recently, and even the hierarchy of the company has explicitly acknowledged its failure to move adequately with the times.
It probably wouldn’t be fair to level this accusation at the Galaxy Note Edge, even if curved screens are not exactly a new innovation for Samsung. The notion of a mobile device which has curved edges actually seems a very natural progression for the corporation, given the credence it has attempted to give the concept in its range of premium television sets.
If Samsung has a success story at the moment it is surely its television operation, and it seemed a completely logical move for the corporation to borrow technology and design parameters from this range to kickstart its mobile sales.
The result of this process is the new Galaxy Note Edge phablet. But is it any good? Well, the first thing to note is that this is not as much of a revolutionary device as Samsung would perhaps like to pretend. Effectively, the Galaxy Edge is in fact almost exactly the same smartphone as the Galaxy Note 4 which was unveiled and released earlier this year. The screen really is the primary difference between the two.
And in accordance with this, the price is not exactly set at a level which will make this a mass market device. One can entirely understand why this is the case; curved screen technology is obviously prohibitive for affordable pricing. But one has to question the wisdom of bringing out a device which is effectively exactly the same as the Galaxy Note 4, and then charging people significantly more for it. Around $200 more than the Galaxy Note 4 to be precise.
Having said that, the curved portion of the Galaxy Note Edge display does create an attractive visage for the device. The Note Edge is a looker, and this is something that previous Samsung devices have not necessarily been credited with. In that sense, it could be said that the curved screen pays off and achieves precisely what the Korean corporation intended.
In addition, the display quality of the Galaxy Note 4 was almost without exception praised by both reviewers and consumers, and this is carried on by the Galaxy Note Edge. This device has arguably the best screen ever fitted on a smartphone, and other features also included in the Galaxy Note 4 are present here too. Thus, we see the same stylus, the same camera, the same fingerprint sensor, and the same multitasking options. None of which is anything other than welcome, but at the same time they aren’t anything that can’t be acquired elsewhere.
Unique edge feature of Galaxy Note Edge
However, there are a few new features which can be attributed to the curved screen. Firstly, the Galaxy Note Edge has relocated the power button on top of the device in order to accommodate the curved display. This may seem merely cosmetic, but functionality related to this has been built into the phablet.
The edge portion of the display screen in fact functions independently from the main part of the phone, so it is possible to swipe and tap the device without affecting what is happening on the central part of the screen. The Galaxy will display all of your favourite applications from the home screen, which is claimed by Samsung to be a useful feature for freeing up space on the rest of the device’s display.
There is also the function to rapidly flit between apps without having to press the home button. Should you received an incoming call while doing something on the main portion of the screen, it is possible to answer it by using the edge portion of the device, while still leaving the main screen open in order to continue the task that you were engaged with.
It is also possible to set up the Galaxy Note Edge so that incoming notifications from all apps are displayed using the curved section instead of at the top of the screen as in its Galaxy Note 4 cousin. There are also a range of panels available for the Edge which can be downloaded through the Samsung app store. Finally, certain alarm clock functionality has also been built into the edge part of the device’s display.
These are nifty little features, and the kind of things that might impress your friends for a few minutes. But whether they truly justify an extra $200 outlay on top of the amount required to purchase a Galaxy Note 4 is highly debatable. Undoubtedly this is an extremely solidly performing phablet, which one would expect given the fact that the Galaxy Note 4 received pretty good reviews and was well received by both the analyst and consumer communities.
So if you purchase the Galaxy Note Edge, you are getting a device with a first-class camera, stronger processor capability, a powerful surfeit of memory, and the best screen in the business. But there is no particularly compelling reason to buy this over the Galaxy Note 4, unless you are so impressed with the display that you simply cannot help yourself.