T3.com's Gareth Beavis and John McCann thrash out whether the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is a unique proposition... or little more than an expensive gimmick.
Note Edge? No thanks.
By John McCann
I'm all for meaningful innovation and the promise of curved and flexible displays on smartphones holds promise for the future - but only if they're implemented in the right way.
The slender second screen on the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge however, is the solution to a problem that never existed.
Seriously Samsung, what's the point? Sure, the curved display looks like nice and it adds a different slant to the traditional slab design, but I don't need it, and neither do you. Especially not a price Samsung is pushing.
Really it's nothing more than a glorified notification bar, and considering Samsung has kept the traditional drag down bar on the Note Edge, it makes the second screen experience even more unnecessary.
The camera and video playback controls being located in the bar during specific tasks is a nice touch, but I've never felt impaired by these controls on other phones, and its certainly not worth the premium here.
If you want a big screened, high performance Samsung smartphone the Galaxy Note 4 is a much better option. It sports the same processor, RAM, cameras and operating system as the Edge, but also boasts a bigger battery with a longer life, and all for the same price.
When you're splashing the big bucks on a new handset you want it to look and feel as much as you've paid, and while the Note Edge looks innovative the truth is its plastic chassis leaves you feeling a little hard done by.
Compare it to the premium, metal clad iPhone 6 Plus or the metal framed Note 4 and the Edge can't compete.
Samsung already has a champion in the relatively niche phablet market in the Note 4, so to have another handset so similar on the books is just plain pointless.
Samsung is squeezing what is already a tight market with a phone which fails to offer anything genuinely useful over what's already available at a price which is simply too high.
And that's why I'm out.
On the Edge of glory
By Gareth Beavis
I'm so glad the Galaxy Note Edge has been unleashed. It's a freeing device, one I feel I've been waiting to appear for a long time.
While there are enough design subtleties in recent smartphones to just about tell the difference between an iPhone and an HTC, I've been hankering for something more. Projector phones looked like they might be a thing for a while, until I realised that there was no way to make them thinner than a brick and, well, there was no point.
But that didn't stop the yearning: I still want something grand. Something amazing. Some innovative addition that creates a phone you can place down proudly on the pub table and have your friends wonder what on earth it is.
But I don't want it to be the only thing that I'd buy the phone for – I'd want it to be tacked onto a device that's really worth buying too. And that's what the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is all about. All the power of the excellent Note with a slab of next-gen wonder wedged on the side.
I thought the curved spine was pointless when I first picked up the phone – it's so wide that it's harder to hold than most other devices, and I couldn't see it being any more than a gimmick.
And I'll be honest: John's got a point. It is an extension of the notification bar, it does duplicate a little bit too much and takes a while to learn all the nuances of what swiping can actually do.
But after a few days, it began to really reward me. I was skipping tracks without breaking a web browsing session, or instantly jumping to email from anywhere on the phone.
And that's why the digi-edge is perfect for the Note range, a set of phones designed for people that want to fiddle, learn new things and ultimately get more power from their handset.
I truly believe we're only at the very start of how we interact with our phones. There's so much more to be found in intuitive swipes, gestures and general tapping that the current layout hinders.
And beyond all that, there's the thought that the Galaxy S6, the mainstream range to the Note's niche, could take what's been learned with the Edge and turn it into a brilliant smartphone that pushes the rest of the industry into a new level of design.
So I'm all for the curved digital spine of the Galaxy Note Edge, as it represents the next level of what smartphone design can be and shows that there's still room to innovate in a meaningful way.
Now, excuse me while I continue trying to perfect the hover phone…