The big news from Samsung Unpacked 2014 in Berlin is the flagship Galaxy Note 4. But with that came a bit of a surprise: the curved-edge Samsung Galaxy Note Edge.
The Note Edge isn't a curved phone in the same sense as the Samsung Galaxy Round or the LG G Flex, but a rather more subtle approach to showing off the company's flexible Super AMOLED screen technology. A single edge curves around to the side of the phone and the user interface is designed to incorporate a distinct, separate, strip of controls in this specific area.
Samsung says it's great for handling movie controls while the Quad HD display dedicates all its pixels the main action. Or instead to act as a live notifications strip for Twitter, Yahoo, the weather and a raft of others - each of which are Samsung or third-party developed, with the SDK being open for other developers.
Confused? We are too. We have a feeling this is Samsung showing off just how capable it is in creating a product that's inventive rather than entirely necessary. And given how expensive the curved TV screens are at the moment, we anticipate the price premium paid for the Edge over theNote 4 is going to further limit the appeal.
That said, we're rather taken by how well the device works. For the most part the Note Edge is aNote 4, complete with S Pen stylus and all the latest bells and whistles, which you can read about in full by following the link below. Or, in the case of the Edge, it's got an extra bell and probably a whistle too in the form of its screen.
Unlike the Note 4's 5.7-inch 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution screen, the Note Edge is slightly different because its screen is inevitably wider. That makes for a diagonal 5.6-inch measure with the curved side strip adding some extra pixels to the 515ppi density panel - but there's no final word on the exact figures at this moment in time. It looks fantastic though, packed with detail and punchy colour.
In the hand the Edge feels much the same at the Note 4 and that curved edge doesn't distract like we thought it might. The same soft-touch rear panel is comfortable and there's ample grip from the textured finish.
Using the additional user interface in the curved edge is fun, but we couldn't help thinking that it was unnecessary. We're happy to touch the screen to get additional controls, or to swipe down to see Twitter notifications, and that works just fine as it is.
But if that's not enough for you then the Note Edge tackles various tasks in a fun way. Whether you want quick-access icons or dedicated apps such as Twitter developed specifically for the Edge, the choice is yours. Swiping to the right in the edge toggles between the various application widgets that you have installed, so it's up to you how the area is used.
Swipe down in this edge section and there's a variety of additional controls, including a timer, stopwatch, light, S Voice and even a 10cm ruler. Yep, a ruler. If that's not reason enough to pre-order one now then we don't know what is.
The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is certainly a spectacle. But we can't see it taking off as the next big thing. We think it's more about Samsung showing off just how darn clever it is. We'll give the company that, as it did bring a smile to the face, but it's the standard Note 4 that's really stolen the show.