Samsung Galaxy Note EDGE SM-915 curved smartphone review

Each manufacturer has products that can be called experiments - these are models that test certain technologies, with their help, companies conduct reconnaissance in combat, assess market demand. You cannot create a production technology, learn to avoid problems if you only create prototypes and do not release them into a series - therefore, every company tries to try them out in practice for new technologies. It looks technologically challenging to create devices with a curved screen - about a year ago, Samsung and LG created models with a curve around the central axis, for example, LG G Flex became one of such models available commercially. The sales geography of this model was very small, the price was extremely high, this is a payment for a limited edition and the fact that the product is not like everyone else.

In many ways, such products are perceived as something niche, and indeed they are - models for enthusiasts or those who are willing to pay the maximum amount for a device, if only it was unique. Functionality, the need for the technologies used in this way fade into the background, and even the third plan. Usually such phones are bought by those who want to stand out, oddly enough, but their image charge is quite high.

In the case of Note EDGE, we see a complete analog of Note 4, built on a Qualcomm chipset, in which they changed the smallest thing: on the right side, a piece of the screen was bent and various reminders were made on this bevel. The difference in price from the standard version is 15 thousand rubles, that is, the cost is about 40 percent higher. Considering that this product is not mass-produced, it goes on sale in a limited number of countries, a small number of stores, no one expects high sales from it - this is a niche offer. Initially, I was extremely skeptical about this model, after a few weeks with EDGE I changed my mind a little, this niche device has its strengths.

Design, dimensions, controls

The design of the case completely repeats that of the Note 4, the same materials are used - leather-embossed plastic on the back surface, a metal frame with beveled edges, and due to the bending of the case, it is made asymmetrical.

There are two body colors - black and white. I like both options, each has its own advantages, and the choice of one or another color is a matter of your taste and mood.

The phone does not differ in size from Note 4 - 151.3x82.4x8.3 mm, weight - 174 grams.

The speaker in the device was moved to the back wall, the design is completely similar to the Galaxy S5 - Note 3 had a speaker on the bottom end. The changed location made the speaker even louder, in Note 3 it was impossible to complain about it, now the same melodies sound even louder, I tried to show this in our video.

There are microphones on the ends - there are now three of them in the device. Two on the bottom and one on the top. Three microphones do an excellent job not only with noise reduction in street conditions or a noisy room, they have added some features that are uncharacteristic for phones and I have not met until now. The voice recorder has been improved - now it has an "Interview" mode, when it records sound from two microphones - it is important to turn the phone end to the interlocutor and preferably put it on the table. There is also a "Conference" mode, when sound is recorded from different sources. One of the new features, but unlike many, it is not at all useless and convenient in work and life.

A 16-megapixel camera module protrudes from the rear panel, it does not have any edging. It doesn't protrude much, and it's already habitual for Note 3, it doesn't pose any problems. Given that the camera is in the middle, this even has its own plus, the body rises, and the speaker sounds louder when the device is on the table.

The sensor under the camera has changed compared to the Galaxy S5, now it can not only measure the pulse, but also measure the level of oxygen in the blood, stress, ultraviolet radiation. Many parameters will become redundant for the majority, but a lot is not a little, in the end, they don’t ask for extra money for them.

At the top end there is an infrared port for controlling household appliances. Your phone can play the role of a remote control for any technology. And this sometimes saves and helps. I had several situations when there were no batteries in the remotes from the equipment in hotels, and the phone saved me, in one click it turned into a full-fledged remote control. At home and when using TV services (cable or satellite channels), it also gives you all programs, schedules and searches for them. Very comfortably. The service itself is from Peel.

On the left side there is a paired volume button, on the right side there is nothing but the screen. The on/off button is moved to the upper end, which is inconvenient due to the height of the phone, you always have to reach out or work with it with both hands. The keys themselves are comfortable to use, they are also metal. On the top end there is a 3.5 mm headphone jack, while on the bottom end there is a USB connector (microUSB 2.0 standard). At the bottom, you can also see the slot for the S-Pen stylus.

Let's talk about the front surface of the device - to the left of the speaker is the indicator of missed events, it blinks blue, it can be turned off in the menu. On the right is the proximity sensor, and even to the right is the front camera, it received a higher resolution and also a new function for a panoramic shot of a loved one. The mechanical central key remained unchanged, on the sides of it there are two touch keys.

Let's open the back cover. Inside we will see a slot for microSD memory cards, their "hot" replacement is supported. A little lower is the microSIM slot, but you need to remove the battery to replace it.

Of the minuses that caught my eye - unlike Note 4, the back cover is difficult to close in the area of ​​​​the USB connector, you need to press it and make an effort. It is possible that due to bending this is not so easy to do. But other than that, there are no differences.

Display

We took the SuperAMOLED screen from Note 4, folded the right corner and got a display for EDGE. At the same time, the manufacturer claims that the diagonal of the main screen is 5.6 inches, and its resolution is 2560x1440 pixels, but the remaining 0.1 inches from Note 4 went to the side strip, its resolution is 2560x160 pixels.

Narrow and thin strip that allows you to show one line of text - enough for many reminders and controls. But we must understand that this is not a separate screen at all, but part of the main display - they form a single whole. You cannot enable one screen and disable the other, both screens work at the same time. Another thing is that often when the side screen is working, a black background is shown on the main screen, which does not consume energy in the case of AMOLED, and this made it possible to create such a solution.

Same as Note 4, it uses Corning Gorilla Glass 3, but it is curved to fit the screen, which is another technological challenge - there are not many such models on the market yet, they can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

I won't go into detail about the screen's specs, settings, comparisons with other models, it's all been done, and in great detail, in the Note 4 review that I'll refer you to from time to time.

Working with the side screen - features and impressions

In the settings there is a separate menu item dedicated to the side screen - you can select any picture, and then its vertical piece will become wallpaper. This is not so interesting - it is almost impossible to show something in such a strip. Another thing is that on this screen you can set various shortcuts and reminders. They scroll through in turn, let's start with the obvious, it can be a ruler with shortcuts, including folders. If you click on a shortcut, it opens on the main screen, but if you click on a folder, it also opens on the main screen.

It is possible to launch standard applications such as a voice recorder, stopwatch, ruler, timer - they will only work on the side screen. It's quite convenient.

While using various applications on your phone, an incoming call is shown on the side screen (in all cases, except when you are on the main screen of the phone or it is locked). You can answer from the side screen, and this is not always convenient, a couple of times I made a mistake and hung up the call. But in general, you get used to such an organization, and even begin to like it.


Samsung's app store has new screens and utilities for the side screen, they get into the Express Me menu. A large number of utilities are not yet available, for example, there is one that shows the state of the memory. How much is it needed? This is a question. In many ways, the use of the side screen is far-fetched, the company is trying to come up with use cases, they themselves do not understand them.

For example, they released a couple of toys specifically for EDGE - basketball and chess, they use a side screen, but its use is very far-fetched.

Perhaps, of all the modes of the side screen, I like the night one the most - the time and air temperature are shown in white font. You can set the time range when this mode starts to work. On the table near the bed, it is excellent, it largely replaces the traditional alarm clock - it does not shine very brightly, but it is easily distinguishable in the dark. Overnight, working in this mode eats up about 3-4 percent of the battery charge, which can be considered quite acceptable.

Finally, one more thing - in the screen settings menu there is an option to rotate 180 degrees, a first for Samsung phones. That is, the device can be rotated as you like, regardless of the location of the hardware button. Turning it upside down, you will see touch keys that replace those on the case.

Now, let's just show the photos with the side screen.

Battery

The capacity of the Li-Ion battery is 3220 mAh. According to the manufacturer, the operating time in the main modes is as follows: in standby mode - up to 850 hours of operation, talk time - up to 16 hours, video playback - up to 10 hours, music - about 50 hours. Since this device is based on a Qualcomm chipset, and my Note 4 in the review was on Exynos, made using 20 nm technology, it was interesting to evaluate the difference in operating time and find out if there is any. It turned out that it is almost non-existent - traditionally, Qualcomm creates more energy-efficient solutions, but in Exynos this difference is leveled by a new technical process. As a result, it turns out approximately comparable.

With normal load, the device can easily work for two days. This is one of the longest-lived smartphones on the market, and no one has been able to come close to it in this parameter. Regardless of what modes you work in, what you do on your smartphone, you can definitely know one thing - it will live longer than similar devices with the same screen size. With a very heavy load, as in my case, it survives until the evening - this is about 3-4 hours of screen operation, constantly online, transferring a large amount of data.

The device used Adaptive Fast Charging & Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 technology, this is the first model with it. In the settings ("Energy Saving" item), you can mark the possibility of fast charging. In this case, with a native, complete charger, you can half charge the phone in half an hour, a full charge is possible in an hour and a half, while in an hour the device will be charged up to 90 percent.

Finally, I want to note that, just like in S5 and Note 4, two power saving modes have been added. There is a regular power-saving mode in which you can limit the background operation of applications, turn on gray colors for the screen (for AMOLED this is a feature - gray color consumes almost no energy). Moreover, you can work almost everywhere in gray scale, even watch a video - but it will be gray, which is not very pleasant and convenient.

Memory, memory cards, chipset, performance

Let's start with a simple one, the device has 3 GB of RAM. The amount of internal memory is 32 GB, you have about 24 GB of space available for your programs and data. You can install a memory card up to 128 GB, there is almost no difference in access speed, so the applications saved on the card will work just as fast.

The model is built on Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 - 4 Krait 450 cores up to 2.7 GHz, Adreno 420, LTE Cat.4. In synthetic tests, there is no difference in performance from Note 4 to Exynos, they are quite comparable.

For comparison, Galaxy Note 4 test examples:

To repeat everything that is similar to Note 4, there is no point in this review, the devices do not differ in anything else, you can read the review of Note 4, it chews in detail all the points related to this device.

I will only note that the Qualcomm version of Note 4, and, accordingly, EDGE, uses a camera module from Sony (EXMOR RS), which gives quite typical pictures, comparable to those we saw in the Exynos version. The only difference is that in a number of modes the speed of the camera and its quality are worse - for example, when shooting at night everything happens noticeably slower, the resulting pictures are worse. But otherwise, the difference is almost invisible. Check out sample shots below, this is one of the best cameras on the market.