Is the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge worth buying? Will it be any good?

Android, Mobile phones


We learned earlier this week that the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge will be making its way to British shores. The phone is unique in that it is one of the first devices to offer a curved display – and Samsung is hoping that this will give it, an, umm, Edge in the market. But I’m pretty sure it is going to be a disaster. Read on to find out why.

1) It looks weird

The phone is based on the Galaxy Note 4, which was announced during the same press conference. Whilst spec-wise it is pretty similar, the big difference is that it looks like it has had a stroke.

There’s no point in talking around it: The deflated “edge” looks weird. Maybe if both sides of the device were curved, it might look like something you want to be seen with – but like the WiiU with its bulky controller, and the Nissan Cube with its… umm… this thing, the only question it evokes is “why?”.

2) There’s no killer use for the edge yet

“Why?” is of course an important question. When the device was announced, Samsung suggested that the Edge could be used for shortcuts to apps, display notifications or – for when you have the phone lying on your bedside table – the time, so you can see it on the side of the device.

None of these are particularly compelling reasons to need an Edge: It’s just as easy to access apps from the home screen – same for notifications and a clock. It very much seems to be a solution in search of a problem.

3) Developer support is going to be virtually non-existent

The lack of any killer applications for the Edge isn’t going to get any better. Though Samsung released an SDK (software development kit) for the feature, so that developers can build it into their apps, how many apps are realistically going to support it? Given that there is every expectation that over A BILLION Android devices will be sold this year, how many are going to be the Note Edge? An absolutely tiny proportion, that’s how many.

Android developers are obviously going to build their apps to be as flexible across as many devices as possible – so that means not using any weird proprietary features, but sticking with what is universal. Much like how motion controls on games consoles didn’t take off this generation because of inconsistent support across PS4 and Xbox One.

4) First generation technologies are invariably terrible

Samsung seems to have a terrible habit. Sooner than its research & development department can shout “eureka”, the marketing department has already stuffed the new widget into a device and sent out a press release. Like many of Samsung’s weirder products such as the Galaxy K (with big camera lens) and basically the entire wearable Gear range, these are not only problems looking for solutions but generally bad products.

The first generation of all new technologies is never particularly great and full of mis-steps: Remember how the first iPhone didn’t even have 3G? Or how the T-Mobile G1 (the first Android device) was underpowered and clunky? If you were to buy a Note Edge now, you’re almost guaranteed to get a sub-par experience, and one that you’ll bitterly regret when all of your mates are using the inevitable Galaxy S6 next year.

James O’Malley
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