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printed December 15, 2017
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Review: Samsung Galaxy Note Edge for Sprint

Form Performance Basics Extras Wrap-Up Comments  6  

Media

The Edge includes the Google's standard (and decent) Play apps for buying and using various media, from books to video. The Edge also includes the standard YouTube app, a generic MP3 player for sideloaded music, and a generic video player for sideloaded video.

The Edge offers Samsung's Smart Remote app. Smart Remote can both control your home theater equipment via the built-in infrared port, and also peruse various content sources for something good to watch. Setting up the remote is a cinch. It walks you through the process of pairing with various devices and doesn't take more than a few moments to lasso control over your TV, cable box, DVR, disc player, and receiver. The app's "smarts" come from the Peel engine. Answer a few questions and the app will be able to interact with all of the content from your TV provider, as well as view schedules in advance, interact with the DVR, and so on.

Remote  

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Sprint was sure to bundle in a ton of its preferred apps, as well. You'll find NASCAR Mobile, NBA Game Time, NextRadio, Spotify, Sprint Music Plus, and Sprint TV & Movies. The NextRadio and Spotify apps are for streaming music, and Sprint TV & Movies is for streaming video content. These apps worked passably over LTE or Wi-Fi. Sprint Music Plus is a for-pay ringback tone service.

Samsung's Milk Music service is there, too, for good measure. Samsung updated this app recently and it works really well now. The UI is great and the music selection is supplied by Spotify. The Edge Screen offers controls and basic data for Milk when you're using it, such as track details. It remains dark for all the other media apps, which seems like a major lost opportunity to me.

Media  

Camera

The Edge's camera app behaves identically to that of the Note 4 with one major difference: all of the on-screen controls have been moved off the main screen and onto the Edge Screen. The camera can be opened from the lock screen shortcut or from the shortcut on the Edge Screen. There is no hardware camera button on the Note Edge.

I really love how the camera works with the controls moved up to the top of the screen. The left end of the Edge Screen has a toggle for the user-facing camera, HDR, and the full settings. The action buttons on the right end of the Edge Screen include access to the various shooting modes and gallery, a dedicated video camera button, and a separate shutter button.

Press the gear icon in the upper-left corner and a strip of five basic choices appears: full menu, image size, effect, time, and flash. The full settings are organized in a grid of icons that is, thankfully, customizable; You can drag the icons for the settings around in the grid and arrange them however you like. The Edge offers control over picture size/resolution, metering modes, stabilization, timer, white balance, exposure, guidelines, shutter sound, and on. If you can think of it, it is probably in there.

As on the Note 4, the main “shooting modes” on the Note Edge number just four: auto, rear-cam selfie, selective focus, and panorama. The phone includes beauty face, shot & more, virtual tour, and dual camera, as well, but they are relatively hidden. You can also choose to download more from Samsung's Galaxy Apps Store. All of the shooting modes behave on the Edge just as they do on the Note 4.

Camera  

Photos

The Note Edge takes great pictures. It uses the same excellent sensor found on the Note 4 and the results speak for themselves. The Edge does a great job of capturing images that are true-to-life, with accurate exposure, focus, and white balance. The Note Edge can serve as your main shooter for everything but the most serious life events. It's second only to the iPhone 6/6 Plus.

Photos  

Video

Ditto for the video camera. It captures content in Ultra HD (4K), QHD (2560 x 1440 pixels), and 1080p HD resolutions, but you may as well stick with the 1080p capture mode. The screen itself is QHD and video content you've shot in QHD uses every pixel on the screen. It looks great, but most TVs can't yet handle 4K or QHD resolution. The Edge did a great job with focus, exposure, and white balance, leaving me impressed with nearly all the footage I captured. Audio quality was actually improved over what I saw with the Note 4. You can use the Note Edge as your everyday video-capturing device, and even get away with leaving the video camera at home for some important family events.

Gallery

The Note Edge has both the older Android gallery app and the newer Photos app from Google. At this point, I'd recommend you skip the former in favor or the latter for several reasons. First and foremost, the old gallery app is being discontinued in Android 5.0 Lollipop. Second, the new Photos app offers a richer array of tools for editing and managing your photos.

Photos' best features are the Auto Awesome enhancements, which touch up things like exposure, color, and contrast automatically. If you want to do more with your photos, be sure to look at the lengthy number of filters, crop/rotate, and other tools. In addition to the raw editing functions, Photos is really good at automatically uploading and storing your photos to Google's servers. Further, it will automatically create photo galleries based on events/locations as you shoot stuff during your travels. The Edge Screen offers nothing to the gallery.

Gallery  

Apps

Samsung devices are some of the most bloat-ridden in the market, and the Note Edge is no different. Samsung and Sprint loaded the device to the bursting point with useless garbage such as Sprint iD, Sprint Zone, Hancom Office, 1Weather, and myriad others. Uber comes pre-loaded whether you want it or not. There are tons of Galaxy Apps installed, as well as an entirely separate Galaxy Apps Store. You can't uninstall most of it: you can only hide it.

Bluetooth

I don't know how Samsung, the world's largest maker of smartphones, ships a flagship device without the best-possible Bluetooth profiles on board, but it somehow managed to do just that. The typical stuff is all there and works well. I was able to pair it successfully with a number of different devices, including wearables, headsets, and speakers, as well as other smartphones and PCs. I was very pleased with the quality of calls send to my favorite headset. Music is another story. The device doesn't include the aptX profile, which is necessary if you *really* want music to sound good when streamed via Bluetooth. I tested the Note Edge with a high-end Bluetooth speaker and it sounded crummy. There's just no excuse for that on what's supposed to be Samsung's kitchen-sink flagship.

Browser

The Edge has both the generic Android browser and Google's Chrome browser. I prefer Chrome, but they both function well enough for basic browsing purposes. Chrome also offers a broader set of tools, such as syncing bookmarks and open tabs across devices. Both browsers were quick over Sprint's LTE network. I was hoping the Edge Screen would offer some cool features in the browsers, such as navigation tools, but alas that's not the case. The Edge Screen remains dark by default when the browsers are running.

Browser  

Clock

You can choose to put a clock on the lock screen or not. It's your call. If you do, it'll be a large, white, digital clock positioned near the top of the screen. The weather can be paired with it, which shows the current conditions wherever the Note Edge happens to be. I wish you had more control over the lock screen clock.

The one neat feature offered by the Edge is a night clock that uses the Edge Screen. With the night clock turned on, the Edge Screen always displays the time, date, and alarms. This has a negative impact on battery life, of course, so the Note Edge automatically turns off the night clock feature if/when the battery reaches 15%. If the phone is plugged in, the clock will stay on all night long.

Edge Screen Clock  

GPS

Scout and Google Maps are both preloaded on the Note Edge. The Edge performed excellently as a navigation tool. It pinpointed me in about 5 seconds consistently, and had no trouble plotting routes and finding nearby points of interest. Scout is really useful when it comes to searching for nearby points of interest, such as restaurants, gas stations, ATMs, and so on. Google Maps and Scout are free. The Edge Screen remains dark when either mapping app is in use.

Private Mode

The Note Edge has Samsung's Private Mode, a special, sealed-away part of the OS that is mainly meant to protect sensitive files. It can interact with the photo gallery, the Photos app, the MP3 and video player apps, as well as the file browser. You can use it to hide pictures, songs, and videos you don't want others to see or hear. Though pictures will technically exist in the gallery app, they can only be viewed when in private mode.

S Health

The Note Edge runs the same version of S Health we saw earlier this year on the Note 4. The app can be used as a fitness pal and diet planner all in one. S Health forces you to create a profile, including your age, sex, height, and weight. It automatically calculates your body mass index and asks how active you are in general. You can use the app to track walks, runs, hikes, and bike rides.

The Note Edge has a built-in pedometer plus a heart rate monitor. Pair these with the calorie tracker and you really have a good idea of your fitness level. I found the pedometer to be fairly accurate at counting steps and measuring approximate distances. The heart rate monitor was also accurate, as it delivered the same result that my treadmill did. The one bummer is that you have to stand still for 30 seconds with your finger on the sensor to get an accurate reading. This means you can't track it while you're actually working out.

Thankfully, Samsung dressed up S Health a bit and it takes advantage of the Edge Screen. As noted earlier, one of the dozen or so Edge Screens is dedicated to S Health and includes step counts, most recent heart rate, and so on.

S Health  

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