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Samsung Galaxy A52 5G 6GB/128GB: $499/£399/€399
Gorilla Glass 5 front, polycarbonate sides/rear
159.9 x 75.1 x 8.4mm
In-display fingerprint reader
Awesome Black, Awesome White, Awesome Blue, Awesome Violet
One thing separates the A52 5G from its more expensive Galaxy S brethren: materials. Where the pricier models are metal and glass, the A52 5G’s rear is made of polycarbonate. Both the mid-frame and the rear panel are made from plastics and the front panel is covered in Gorilla Glass 5.
6.5-in Super AMOLED with punch-hole
2,400 x 1,080 resolution
20:9 aspect ratio, 120Hz refresh rate
Performance: Mid-range muscle?
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G
Does the Galaxy A52 5G deliver mid-range muscle? Not quite.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G is an update to the aging 730G. It’s a definite improvement over the Exynos chip that was in the prior-generation Galaxy A51, but it can’t quite compete with the big boys. Granted, Samsung had to keep the cost down somewhere, and sticking to a middle-of-the-pack Snapdragon 700 series chip is the way to do that.
Running benchmarks highlighted the limitations of the Snapdragon 750G. It put up mediocre scores across a number of test apps, such as 3DMark and Geekbench. While the Galaxy A52 5G narrowly bests the Snapdragon 765G chip of the Pixel 4a 5G, it falls well behind the A13 Bionic found in the iPhone SE. The phone delivered a modest performance in our homegrown Speed Test G benchmark, putting up a time of two minutes 38 seconds. The best phones can run the test in just over one minute, while phones in the mid-range category tend to finish in under two and a half minutes. That puts the Galaxy A52 5G in touching distance of modern mid-range devices in benchmarking terms, but no higher.
25W wired charging
The battery life of the Galaxy A52 5G was impressive during my testing. I was very pleased with the longevity of the phone’s power source, which easily pushed into a second day. I carried the phone on a day trip into New York City and came home with more than 50% in the tank despite lots of time on email, Twitter, and with the camera. Screen-on time ranged from 6.5-7 hours on any given day, which goes toe-to-toe with the best of them. This was with the phone set to 120Hz. You can score even more battery life if you drop the refresh rate down to 60Hz and employ the battery-saving tools. In other words, the phone gets the job done.
Main: 64MP, OIS, PDAF (f/1.8, 0.8µm)
Ultra-wide: 12MP (f/2.2, 1.12µm)
Macro: 5MP (f/2.4)
Depth: 5MP (f/2.4)
Front: 32MP (f/2.2, 0.8µm)
Video: 4K at 30fps
The Galaxy A52 5G has a fairly standard setup for the middle of the market, even if it’s not necessarily the main-wide-zoom trifecta combination we prefer to see. It’s got a pixel-rich main camera, as well as ultrawide, macro, and depth cameras. There’s no dedicated optical telephoto.
See also: Best camera phones you can get
Samples taken from the main sensor were quite good. They are binned down by a factor of four to 16MP. I was pleased with color, definition, detail, white balance, exposure, and sharpness. Most importantly, the majority of photos were accurate to the scene at hand. What you see here is what I saw in person in the real world. Since this is the lens people will use the most, it’s good that it gets the job done. The detail in the subway mural is good, particularly considering it was taken in low light.
For long-distance shots, the phone relies wholly on digital zoom. That means it’s using the main lens and cropping in. These images are a bit softer and the color wasn’t always as rich as shooting at the standard focal length. If you zoom in, you’ll see jagged edges in some places. The shot with the cars is totally washed out. Something about zooming in messes with exposure somewhat.
The ultra-wide camera does a fairly decent job snagging large field-of-view scenes. Even shooting directly into the sun netted solid detail in the shadows, as you can see in the wider version of the scene with the stacked cars.
Portrait shooting works well with the main camera. You can see in the statue sample below that the main subject is cut out perfectly and the rest of the photo is gently blurred out. The selfie camera is far more aggressive. In the selfie portrait below, I know that I’m standing in Times Square, but a casual observer may not — it could be any cityscape. At least I’m all there and no missing chunks of hair or an ear, so the subject detection is doing its job. There’s far more detail in the standard selfie and it’s clear that Time Square serves as the backdrop for the photo. I like the exposure for all three of these photos, which was accurate to the real world. The selfie camera also bins photos down by a factor of four to 8MP.
Video captured with the Galaxy A52 5G was good, but not great. The 4K resolution is fine, though I wish the camera supported 60fps rather than just 30fps, especially when the iPhone SE and Pixel 4a 5G offer the shooting mode. Even so, the video clips I took were clean, relatively colorful, and rich in detail without too much loss of detail or noise, particularly in low light.
The Galaxy A52 5G’s main camera gets the job done.
The app is more or less the same one that you’ll find on Samsung’s higher-end phones. It has a standard configuration of shutter controls on one side and settings adjustments such as flash, timer, and aspect ratio on the other. I’m a little confused by the shooting mode carousel, however. It includes photo, video, Single Take (Samsung’s capture-it-all-at-once tool), and Fun. The Fun shooting mode steals filters from Snapchat and is something you’d expect on a phone for teens. My guess is not every Galaxy A52 5G owner will be a kid, but Samsung hopes they’ll all be kids at heart. All the other shooting modes, including the useful portrait mode, are buried in the More tab. Personally, I’d like to have seen the portrait mode switch places with Fun.
Software: One UI to rule them all
One UI 3.1
Three years of promised software updates
Samsung has stepped up its software game. To start, the phone ships with Android 11 and Samsung’s One UI 3.1. This is the most up-to-date software available to any Samsung device on the market right now. There was a time when Samsung would ship its mid-range phones with older versions of software. That’s no longer the case. More importantly, Samsung has committed to longer support curves for its phones. It’s now offering three years of updates. This means the phone will stay current and protected for longer, and on par with Google’s Pixel series.
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G review: The verdict
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G is a solid mid-ranger with a few predictable shortcomings. It competes well in a market that’s saturated with alternatives and could be a winner for Samsung.
Samsung adopted its typical design language for the phone, which is a love it or hate it type thing. The Galaxy A52 5G packs a whopping 6.5-inch 120Hz panel that looks really good. All-day battery is available from the 4,500mAh power supply, and the 64MP main camera does a reasonably good job for this price range.
You're reading Samsung Galaxy A52 5G Review: Scrappy Mid
This phone is undoubtedly the best you can get for $200.
It’s $200! It performs well. Nice screen. Battery life is two days. Solid camera. It has 64 GB storage, a microSD card slot and a headphone Jack. Contactless payments are possible with NFC. It runs the most recent version of Android. You will receive two OS updates and four years worth of security updates. All major US networks are compatible.
IP rating not available. Mono speaker isn’t great.
The $1200 flagships are not the most exciting smartphones. They have very minor upgrades that improve the camera’s performance from the previous year. It’s the inexpensive phones that I have been focusing on. It is amazing to see what features are coming down from the top end and how quickly these phones are improving. This is evident in Samsung’s Galaxy A14 5G.
The $200 unlocked Android phone from Google is truly amazing. You can buy a smartphone that is capable of handling most daily tasks and doesn’t act slow. It also has a decent camera system, lengthy software updates, and a longer battery life than the A13 5G. It’s amazing that Samsung managed to improve upon the A14’s predecessor, the Galaxy A135G, while reducing the price by $50. My mind is boggled.
Although the A14 5G may look a bit plain, its textured back gives it more personality than budget phones. It doesn’t feel cheap. You don’t have to worry about the glass surface because of the plastic rear design. Only problem with the hardware? The only problem with this phone is its IP rating. It’s therefore not water or dust resistant. It’s best to avoid it near water, pools, or beaches.
It has a 1080 pixel resolution, which is sharper than the previous model. The LCD display measures 6.6 inches and looks great. It’s easy to read on sunny days, which is not unusual in New York. I also enjoy gaming, reading and watching all the TikToks that my partner sends me.
Displays aside, cheap phones are now introducing high refresh rates to their screens. This is a new feature that has been gaining popularity and is being dropped as a flagship feature. The 60Hz screen was the norm for smartphones. However, by increasing the refresh rate from 60 to 90 to 120 times per second, the experience is fluid and responsive. Read more about it here. Samsung has kept the A13’s 90-Hz panel, which is a nice touch, but it is difficult to see. It’s not as smooth as other powerful devices, which can more frequently ratchet up frames as you move through the interface.
The performance is definitely a highlight. The Galaxy A14 5G is an incredible phone, especially when compared to the $170 phone that I just reviewed. My blood pressure doesn’t rise when I manage all my apps. Thanks to the MediaTek Dimensity 7005G and 4GB of RAM, this is possible. Geekbench benchmark testing shows a significant improvement in performance over A13 5G. This is not surprising considering that the A135G uses the same chipset as the A13 5.G. This may be due to better optimization. This is easily evident in my experience. I don’t notice any annoying hiccups when playing games such as Alto’s Odyssey, CarX Highway Racing and Dead Cells.
The primary camera is 50 megapixels. The camera snaps images quickly and has a Night mode that allows you to capture decently sharp and bright images even in low light (unlike Moto G Play). Nighttime photos may be blurry from time to time. Sometimes there’s too much processing, which can make it difficult to see certain details on faces or colors. For $200, the results have been satisfactory. This includes selfies that I took with the front camera of 13 megapixels (which also supports Night mode). If you’re looking for extreme close-up shots it’s possible to use the macro camera. However, this is only possible if there’s enough light.
My only complaint about this phone is its mono speaker. The mono speaker is not too loud and doesn’t sound very good. It’s also easy to block when playing video games in landscape mode. It’s possible to use headphones, wired or wireless, because has a headphone Jack.
You can even use the microSD card slot to increase the 64 GB internal storage. This is a big win for me as I almost always pay with my smartphone when I’m on the go.
As the name suggests, the Galaxy A14 5G supports… 5G. This is a rare feature at this price, since most phones below $200 rely on 4G LTE. Every major US carrier supports it, including AT&T, T–Mobile and Verizon. Samsung promises two Android OS updates. This means that, even though it is running the latest Android 13, it will still be receiving Android 15 in 2024. The phone will also receive four years worth of security updates. This is a rare offer for a smartphone this cheap.
It is almost impossible to not be amazed at the Galaxy A14 5G value. It does almost everything for so little. That’s exactly what we should expect from our gadgets.
January 27, 2023 Correction: The incorrectly stated that the phone had a 60-Hz display, but it actually has a panel of 90-Hz. We regret this error.
It’s not a flagship smartphone, so I won’t oversell it. You will still experience stutters when switching between apps. You might have to close some apps. The majority of the time, however, I have had a great experience with the A14 5G. It is not only useful for keeping up with Reddit or Twitter, but it also allows me to reply to emails, track work tasks and make calls.
This brings me to the battery. My sister is in India so we don’t have much time to get together. The battery was only 50% when I used it for a four-hour video call the other day. It was lower than what I expected. The same day, I also used my phone’s GPS to drive to a Manhattan dog park. I took lots of photos of the delicious Bua fried chicken sandwich. The phone was at 11 per cent by bedtime, which is, err, past midnight for my eyes. It had a remarkable 9 hours of screen-on-time. It was a very busy day. Even though I don’t spend a lot of time on video calls, I still had 30% left on my battery after two days. It’s wonderful not to have to recharge every night.
The smartphone is estimated at the equivalent of $ 440, and deliveries are scheduled for March 7. It turns out that the official premiere of the Galaxy A52 should take place today. At the same time, the seller lists the characteristics of the smartphone. Alas, it does not indicate the rating of dust and water protection, but it is already known that this model will have full protection against water – in accordance with the degree of IP67 or IP68. Also, the frame rate is not indicated, but, according to rumors, it will be 120 Hz.
Galaxy A52 received a 6.5-inch Full HD + Super AMOLED Infinity-O screen with a built-in fingerprint scanner and protection in the form of tempered Corning Gorilla Glass. At the heart of the hardware platform is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G SoC, the volumes of RAM and flash memory are 8 and 128 GB, the battery capacity is 4500 mAh.
The resolution of the front camera of the model is 32 megapixels, the main camera is represented by modules with a resolution of 64 megapixels, 12 megapixels (with an ultra-wide-angle lens), 5 megapixels (macro) and 5 megapixels (scene depth analysis). Other characteristics of the smartphone include GPS, 5G modem, Wi-Fi 802.11ac adapters, Bluetooth 50 and NFC, USB-C port and support for 25W charging. The OS is Android 11.IDC: The smartphone market has returned to growth
Experts of the analytical company IDC summed up the results of the fourth quarter of 2023 and the whole year in general on the smartphone market. As stated in the corresponding report, the smartphone market returned to growth. Sales in the fourth quarter of 2023 were 385.9 million units; which is 4.3% more than smartphones sold in the fourth quarter of 2023. At the same time, for the entire 2023, smartphones were sold 5.9% less than in 2023.Gizchina News of the week
At the end of the fourth quarter of 2023, Apple was named the market leader. It was able to increase sales in annual terms; that is, compared to the same quarter of the previous year, by 22.2% – from 73.8 to 90.1 million devices. This led to an increase in Apple’s share from 19.9% to 23.4%. The second place is occupied by Samsung, which in annual terms increased sales by 6.2%, as a result of which its share increased from 18.8% to 19.1%. The third place is taken by Xiaomi. Its share increased from 8.9% to 11.2%. The top five also include Oppo and Huawei. Also, The share of Oppo increased from 8.3% to 8.8%. The share of Huawei decreased from 15.2% to 8.4%.
As for 2023 as a whole, Samsung remained the leader with 20.6% of the market. Apple is in second place with 15.9%. The share of Huawei, which is in third place at the end of 2023, is 14.6%. The fourth-place belongs to Xiaomi, whose share is 11.4%, the fifth – to Vivo, whose share is 8.6%. In 2023, Samsung’s share was 21.6%, Apple’s 13.9%. Huawei – 17.5%, Xiaomi – 9.2%, Vivo – 8.0%.
More and more users are in to big phones with big beautiful high-resolution displays, such as Google’s Pixel, OnePlus 6, or Apple’s iPhone X, but Samsung’s flagship Note brand (now up to version 9) has led the way in big and beautiful since the Note 1 several years ago.
It’s called the “Note,” of course, because of its built-in and well-implemented S Pen stylus, which just keeps getting better with each new iteration of the Note smartphone, or phablet. Among other things, the latest S Pen is indeed impressive, as is the Note 9 itself.
Table of ContentsPros:
Beautiful high-res Super AMOLED 6.4-inch display
S Pen matures to include Bluetooth remote control
Excellent cameras with built-in AI
Huge storage allotment
DeX mode without the optional dock (all you need is an HDMI cable and adaptor)
Big battery, long life
Impressive build quality
Terrific stereo soundCons:
Bixby still sucks
Fingerprint reader too close to the cameraVerdict:
Samsung’s flagship Galaxy Note 9 may cost as much as the iPhone X, but it’s worth it in many ways, including a gorgeous display, long battery life, Note’s famous S Pen, dual-aperture smart camera on the back, and much more.Galaxy Note 9 Specifications
Battery Life (Hrs:Mins)
Lavender Purple, Ocean Blue, Cloud Silver, Midnight Black
$999 list (128GB), $1,249 list (512GB)
6.4 inches Super AMOLED (2960 x 1440)
8 MP (f/1.7)
Up to 512GB
Android 8.1 Oreo / Upgradeable to Android Pie
6GB or 8GB
Dual 12 MP Cameras (f/1.5 and f/2.4)
6.3 x 3 x 0.34 inches
128GB or 512GB
The Note 9’s physical build and appearance aren’t really new. At 6.3 by 3.0 by 0.34 inches (HWD) and weighing 7.1 ounces, aside from being ever so slightly larger and heavier than the Note 8, the latest note looks very much like its predecessor.
It also bares a strong resemblance to the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. In fact, if you don’t need or want the stylus, the Galaxy S9 or S9+ are both attractive, less-expensive alternatives.
Depending on where you buy it, you also get your choice of vibrant colors, including Lavender Purple and Ocean Blue. The Ocean Blue comes with a yellow S Pen, which writes in yellow on the display in Screen-Off memo mode, and the lavender model comes with a purple pen that uses purple digital ink—an interesting, understated touch.
Shortly after last year’s release, Samsung announced the availability of new Cloud Silver and Midnight Black versions. Cloud Silver is sold solely through Best Buy and Samsung’s own website, while the Midnight Black model will be sold at all retailers and carriers, which include: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular.
On the right edge resides only the Power/Sleep/Awake button. On the right edge you’ll find the button for activating Samsung’s voice activation feature, Bixby, which is similar to the iPhone’s Siri and Windows’ Cortona, and the volume controls, as shown in the image below. We’ll take a closer look a Bixby and this button later.
The bottom edge holds the headphones jack, the mini-USB charging/data connection port, a reset pinhole, the stereo speakers grill and, of course, the S Pen compartment, as shown here…
This design demonstrates that Samsung has plenty of experience with making the stylus unobtrusive and placing it out of the way (and the S Pen recharges itself in there).
The back of the Note 9 holds its dual-aperture camera and the fingerprint reader, shown in the image below. There’s also a camera on the front, of course. The cameras are discussed in depth a little later, too.
The top edge hosts a compartment for storing a tray that holds both the SIM card and a microSD card for increasing storage by as much as 512GB, or, if you prefer, you can use the tray to insert two SIM cards, which in turn allows you to assign two phone numbers to your Note 9—say, perhaps, a work number and a personal number.
If you buy the 512GB model and then add a 512GB microSD card, your Note 9 becomes a 1TB device, which is a first in smartphone technology. Samsung offers a 512GB SD card for about $200, which is about the going rate.
However, between the 512GB Note 9 itself and the 512GB SD card, you could easily spend close to $1,500 for your phone, which is undoubtedly a lot of money.
The good news is that as I wrote this, I found the 512GB model at Amazon and elsewhere for about $200 off the MSRP of $1,250 (and the 128GB version, which also supports the 512GB microSD card, for about $150 less than its list price.
Finally, not only is the Note 9 well built, but it also meets the IP68 waterproof and dust-proof standard—with or without the S Pen embedded in its compartment.
Samsung says you can dunk it in up to five feet of water, which is much deeper than your toilet bowl. There’s also a wealth of security features, including the aforementioned fingerprint reader, facial and iris recognition, PIN, dot pattern, and others.Dazzling Display
From smartphones, to Galaxy tablets, to computer monitors, to 90-inch UHD TVs, nobody makes better screens than Samsung, and the Note 9’s 2,960 by 1,440 resolution Super AMOLED Infinity Display is the best in the business.
It’s much brighter and has about a third more contrast ratio than the Note 8, which is no slouch itself. And Samsung’s near-bezel-less curved edges are nothing short of, well, awesome.
Even so, the screen resolution is the same as on the Note 8 and Galaxy S9+. Not only is this a great size for watching movies on the go, but whether you’re looking at it from an extreme right, left, top, or bottom angles or straight on, the picture quality looks the same, with no noticeable degradation.
According to my testing, the Note 9’s screen reproduces 228% of the sRGB color gamut (range), compared to the Note 8’s 209%, the S9’s 217 percent, and the iPhone’s 135%.
Specs and benchmarks aside, though, after years of evaluating tablet, laptop, and smartphone screens, the Note 9’s is certainly the best smartphone screen I’ve seen so far—and that includes the iPhone X’s impressive 2,436 by 1,125 Retina Display. While the Galaxy S9 and S9+ displays are similar, even they are not as spectacular to look at as is the Note 9’s.S Pen: Stylus Plus
The S Pen just keeps getting better. It has been the best stylus around for jotting notes, drawing, selecting text, and more, for some time now, but with the Note 9, Samsung has added Bluetooth LE and a remappable button for controlling compatible apps remotely.
So far, aside from Google and Samsung core apps, there’s a shortage of apps that support S Pen, but Samsung offers a software development kit (SDK) to aid third-party developers in creating S Pen-compatible apps, which should help increase the number of S Pen-ready apps before too long.
I could go on for a while about what S Pen can do, but one of the more impressive features is the ability to take screen-off memos. When you remove the stylus while the display is turned off, Note 9 goes in to a note-taking interface against a black background.
This allows you to take notes without unlocking the phone and launching a specific app, thereby making note taking quick and easy. Screen-off memos are saved automatically.
As mentioned, the S Pen does require charging, which takes only about 40 seconds in its compartment. That 40 seconds should give you, according to my testing, about 40 minutes ofProfessional-Grade Cameras
Over the past few years, smartphone cameras have made great strides, to the extent that some of them shoot photos and videos on-par with lower-end professional photographer cameras.
The Note 9’s 8MP (megapixel) front-facing camera includes autofocus (a first for the Note brand), as well as countless mode options: Super Slow Motion digital video at 960 frames per second at 720p resolution, AR stickers, wide group selfies, and much more—making it one of the most feature-rich smartphone camera apps, period. Even so, it’s easy to use.
But it’s the rear camera that shows off the camera app’s prowess. The dual 12MP lenses use variable-aperture tech to switch automatically from an f/1.5 aperture for low-light conditions to an f/2.4 opening for normal lighting photography.
One of the camera app’s many tricks is a built-in artificial intelligence (AI) that automatically configures settings depending on your subject. The Note 9 recognizes 20 scenes, including beaches, backlit subjects, food, snow, and sunsets.
It then adjusts the brightness, contrast, saturation, white balance and a slew of other settings normally configured manually in the app’s Pro mode, with Scene Optimizer turned off. My experience with Scene Optimizer is that it works well most of the time, especially compared to the photos I shot with the feature shut off.
Scene Optimizer isn’t perfect, though; a couple of my photos, especially a few shots of food, came out a bit over saturated and lacking some detail, but switching to Pro mode fixed that.
One of the more impressive features is Flaw Detection, which tells you when your photo didn’t shoot as desired. Flaws like blurriness, red-eye, a smudged lens, closed eyes, are detected, and then the app warns you and offers a second chance, as shown here…
The truth is, I’m probably one of the world’s worst photographers; I have trouble shooting stills of IT hardware in perfect lighting and no background for these reviews.
I need all the help I can get, making the Note 9’s dual lenses, AI, and Flaw Detection just right for me. Now that not all my photos suck, I find myself taking a lot more pictures than before. It’s also worth noting that it takes great 4K videos, too.Bixby
I’m not going to say a lot about Bixby, Samsung’s voice-activation app, here, primarily because it has always been an inferior app to its competitors, and nobody likes it. The Oreo version that comes on the Note 9 isn’t much of an improvement. It still misinterprets a lot of words and phrases that Siri, Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa do not.
And, yes, the Bixby button—for those of us who don’t want to use Bixby—is still in an inconvenient place and you can’t remap it to another app or function. However, as I was finishing this review, Android Pie (Android 9) became available for the Note 9 and I installed it.
Samsung claims that Android 9 fixes Bixby and now it rivals its peers. Frankly, I didn’t have enough time to test it before filing this story, but I can tell you that, yes, you can now remap the Bixby button to almost any other app or function.
As for Android Pie itself, I haven’t spent much time with it. It did, however, cripple the third-party launcher I was using, as well as a couple other apps I use regularly, such as Samsung’s File Manager. It looks like I’m in for an hour or two of re-tweaking my home screen and other areas to get it back the way I want it, though.Stellar Performance
Though I did run a few benchmarks, including overall performance tests with Geekbench 4 and graphics prowess with 3DMark Slingshot Extreme, I’m not going to spend much time discussing test results in detail—except to say that the Note 9 fell slightly behind the iPhone X and OnePlus 6, slightly ahead of the Galaxy S9+, and well ahead of the Note 8 and Google Pixel 2XL.
Suffice it to say that the Note 9 isn’t quite as fast as the iPhone and the super-fast OnePlus 6. As for my experience using the phone over the past few weeks, so far, I haven’t waited for any app to open; switching between apps, no matter how many I have open, is as smooth as cutting warm butter.
I don’t play a lot of games, but during the time I played the hardware-taxing 3D game Fortnite (unavailable for Android 9 except in beta as I wrote this), I experienced no lags, the screen was beautiful, and, while the phone did heat up some, not excessively so.
All that, and I ran a recent Star Trek movie on a loop until the battery conked out for 12 hours and 36 minutes. Why such fast, smooth, long-lasting performance? Well, we’ve already talked about the Infinity Display, which explains the gorgeous graphics.
Below is a list of the Note 9’s other performance hardware and what it does. My test unit was the 128GB version with 6GB of RAM. (Assume that the 8GB RAM model runs a little better still in some scenarios.)
Snapdragon 835 Processor: While not as fast as Apple’s A11 Bionic CPU or the OnePlus 6 with 8GB of RAM, the CPU in the Note 9 is by no means a slouch. But, as I’ve said, I have no complaints about this CPU’s (and its built-in GPU) performance. Note that this is the same CPU that’s in the S9+. Note also that in the UK and several other non-U.S. locations the Note 9 comes with the Samsung Exynos 9810, which is a little faster than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835.
6GB RAM: Obviously, within reason, the more memory a computing device has the better. During my tests, 6GB seemed more than adequate, at least for the way I use a smartphone. And, as mentioned, it ran Fortnite without hesitation.
Water Cooled CPU: The Note 9 is protected against overheating with a “notebook-class” water carbon cooling system. Samsung claims that this protects the phone against overheating and allows it to run at its peak over longer periods. All I can say is that it never got too hot for me, nor did I notice it slowing down to compensate for excessive heat.
4,000mAh Battery: At 700mAH bigger than the Note 8 and 500mAH bigger than the S9+, the Note 9’s 4,000 milliampere hours battery is to date the biggest in the business. Again, it lasted over 12.5 hours during my battery drain tests.Galaxy Note 9 versus Competitors
SG Note 9 SG S9 Plus iPhone X OnePlus 6 Display size, resolution 6.4-inch Super AMOLED; 2,960×1,440 pixels 6.2-inch; 2,960×1,440 pixels 5.8-inch; 2,436×1,125 pixels 6.28-inch OLED; 2,280×1,080 pixels Pixel density
Android 8.1 Oreo, upgradeable to Android 9 Pie
Android 8.0 Oreo, upgradeable to Android 9 Pie
Android 8.1 Oreo, upgradeable to Android 9 Pie
Dual 12MP (wide), 12MP (telephoto)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 octa-core processor (2.8GHz + 1.7GHz), or Octa-core Samsung Exynos 9810 (2.7 GHz + 1.7 GHz)
Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor (2.8GHz + 1.7GHz), or Octa-core Samsung Exynos 9810 (2.7 GHz + 1.7 GHz)
Apple A11 Bionic
2.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
64GB, 128GB, 256GB
64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Water resistant (IP68); wireless charging; S Pen with Bluetooth; Iris and facial scanning
Dual-aperture camera, water-resistant (IP68); wireless charging; iris scanning
Water resistant (IP67); wireless charging; Face ID 3D unlock
Portrait mode, dual-SIM, Dash Charging
Price MSRP (USD)
$1,000 (128GB), $1,250 (512GB)
Varies: $840-$930 (64GB)
$999 (64GB), $1,149 (256GB)
$529 (64GB), $579 (128GB), $629 (256GB)More than a Pretty Face
Every review of the Note 9 I’ve read rants about the $1,000 purchase price, but if you shop around, you’ll find it for much less. eBay, in fact, has some new-unopened-box offers for as low as $700.
Granted, that’s still a lot of money, but if you use your smartphone as much as I do, it’s well worth it. The screen is big enough for my aging eyes to do research, and the S Pen is perfect for highlighting passages in Microsoft OneNote or wherever. When I pair it with a keyboard, well, it’s not quite like using a PC, but more than adequate for typing away from home.
Unless you’re locked in to the iPhone X, or simply must have the fastest Android available, I can’t think of a reason not to buy this phone, unless, of course, you want to hang out with what you have now until the Galaxy Note 10 comes out later this year.
But I’m guessing that it will list for a bit more than 1K…
The Galaxy S7 edge is no longer the semi-gimmick it was before. Although some of the main features are things from the Galaxy S5 – Micro-SD and waterproofing – Samsung has given fans what they want. It’s now a refined, sophisticated and highly desirable piece of technology. The battery isn’t removable but the phone lasts longer than before and has seriously powerful specs under the hood. It has almost everything you could want from a phone even though the IR blaster is gone. We’re also very impressed with the new camera and unless the screen is too big for you (despite some software features to help out) we think it’s worth getting the S7 edge for the extra £70 with its gorgeous looks and extra functionality. Right now, this is the best smartphone money can buy.
Samsung has now played around with a few curved screen smartphone and what felt like a bit of a gimmick is now a legitimate technology. Although the Galaxy S6 was the best phone of 2023, it was missing key features like expandable storage and waterproofing. Those are now back and the dual edge screen has more functionality so the Galaxy S7 edge is a serious contender for best phone of 2023. Here’s our full and in-depth Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review. See also: The 20 best phones and Best Phone Deals.
We’ve got hands-on reviews of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus.
Update January 2023: According to Samsung its Android 7.0 Nougat beta programme for the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge is now complete, and the OTA update should begin rolling out to devices later this month. Keep in mind that the below Galaxy S7 edge review was written with it running Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
The Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are two of the first flagship phones we’ve reviewed this year so it’s just the beginning in the fight for best phone 2023. However, it’s so far so good for the Galaxy S7 edge which is an improvement on its predecessors – the Galaxy S6 edge and Galaxy S6 edge+.
Samsung has settled on a single size for the Galaxy S7 edge and the phone looks dramatically stunning with its dual edge screen design. Once again, there’s a combination of metal and glass which looks sleek and premium but also feels slippery and gets grubby a bit too easy. Although it looks similar, it’s now fully waterproof without the faff of things like port covers. Also see: Best Samsung phones 2023: What is the difference between Galaxy Note, Galaxy S, Galaxy A and Galaxy J?
Another major feature has been returned so fans will rejoice at the inclusion of expandable storage through the Micro-SD card slot. That’s two out of three and although the battery is still not removable, it is bigger. A larger battery cell means longer battery life and we really don’t mind that the phone is a bit thicker to enable this (and make the camera bump smaller).
Helping out with battery life, according to Samsung, is a new processor and although we expected the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 model in the UK we’ve actually got the Exynos 8890 chip. There’s a whopping 4GB of RAM and the Galaxy S7 edge breezed through our benchmark tests setting some new records.
As you would expect, the Galaxy S7 edge comes packed with other tech including a fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor, but the IR blaster has been dropped which will be a shame for some. A bigger deal is being made around the camera which has fewer pixels than the Galaxy S6 at 12Mp but Samsung touts amazing low light performance with the f/1.7 aperture and ‘Dual Pixel’ technology. We’re really impressed with the camera and although it’s one of the best on a phone, it’s perhaps not as good in the dark as Samsung makes out. Also see: Best MiFi 2023.
A feature which isn’t as big as we thought is the ‘Always On’ screen which is simply a software feature which shows some basic information on the display to avoid you unlocking the phone. It’s handy but doesn’t do as much as we thought and there’s a small amount of control over it. That said, there are plenty of cool features hidden away in the settings which you’ll want to explore including some existing ones like Smart Stay.
You can read our full and in-depth Samsung Galaxy S7 review.
The Game Launcher is one software feature which helps you be a better player by doing things like blocking notifications, lowering the framerate to save power and record the screen while you play. It’s the dual edge screen which makes the Galaxy S7 edge stand out and the key difference when compared to the regular model. It’s still a luxury but Samsung has refined and improved what it can do with new edge panels and greater control.
That’s an overview of the Galaxy S7 edge but we’re going to go into a lot more detail below. Use the links below to help you navigate to the different sections of the review.
Software and apps
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review: Price and rivals
Priced at £639 from the official Samsung store, the Galaxy S7 edge is one of the most expensive smartphone on the market (short of luxury ones from the likes of Vertu). If you’re contemplating buying it over the regular S7, it will cost you an extra £70 which isn’t much of a premium to gain the dual edge display.
In terms of competition, the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is the closest on price at £599 from Sony’s online shop. That phone is also a rival on the size, as is the iPhone 6S Plus which is cheaper for the equivalent model at £619 but goes all the way up to £789 if you want 128GB of storage.
Other key Android rivals to the Galaxy S7 edge include the LG G5 which is priced at £529 and the Google Nexus 6P which is just £449, so there are cheaper options if your budget is more limited.
A new Coral Blue option is now available in the UK via Vodafone. It says: “Customers can pick up the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge in Blue Coral on a half price pay monthly tariff for the first 6 months as part of Vodafone’s biggest- ever Winter Sale. This means it’s available on a Vodafone Red 6GB Bundle at £23.50 per month for the first 6 months then £47 per month for the remaining 18 months (with a £10 upfront cost). This includes unlimited texts, unlimited minutes, 6GB of data and 500MB of inclusive roaming data. Furthermore, customers who purchase a Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (in any colour variant) by 28 February will be able to claim (via Samsung) a Samsung Gear Fit2!”
Our review sample was provided by MobileFun. Also see: Best Samsung Galaxy S7 deals.Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review: Design and build quality
Over the years, the Samsung Galaxy S range has developed and changed quite a bit, with each flagship offering a different design to its predecessor – quite recognisably so. However, that seems to have changed with the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, which looks a lot like the S6 edge with its curved edge display and body comprised of a gorgeous combination of glass and metal.
Also see: Best new phones, tablets, laptops & more at MWC 2023.
While some may feel cheated, we’re pretty happy that Samsung decided to stick with a design that made the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge two of the most desirable phones of 2023. You can hardly blame the firm for not fixing something which wasn’t broken.
One big change is that the S7 edge is bigger than its predecessor. Instead of offering two different sizes of the phone, Samsung has decided to make the S7 edge the larger option out of the two S7 phones. To this end, it’s 5.5in in screen size which is slightly smaller than the 5.7in wielding S6 edge+.
Despite this move, the S7 edge doesn’t feel like a huge phone. An impressive 76 percent screen-to-body ratio means that it’s actually only marginally bigger than the regular S7 – we’re talking 2mm wider and 8mm taller.
At 7.8mm (Samsung says 7.7mm), the Galaxy S7 edge is a little thicker than the S6 edge which means two things. The first is that the camera bump is a lot smaller, 0.5mm, which is nice and there’s also room for a bigger battery – although it’s still not removable. We’ll talk about battery life later on in the review, but for now we applaud Samsung for providing this rather than trying to simply make a thinner phone for the sake of the numbers.
In terms of placement, everything is where it was before (buttons, ports and slots). You might notice that Samsung has stuck with a Micro-USB port instead of moving to USB Type-C (we’ll talk about this more in the
Also see: Galaxy S7 edge in pictures
Many Galaxy S6 owners were disappointed at the lack of waterproofing which was introduced on the Galaxy S5. However, it’s one of the key design features of the Galaxy S7 edge (and regular model). It offers a rating of IP68, which means it’s totally dust tight and can be submerged in up to 1.5m of water for up to 30 minutes. Better still, there’s no fiddling with any flaps to cover ports or making sure the rear cover is clipped in properly (as on the S5).
With a very similar design to last year’s S6 edge phones, the Galaxy S7 edge looks stunning with glass which almost wraps around to the back – which is also glass. Once again, it’s easily in the top best looking phones on the market. A subtle tweak is that Samsung has removed all the silver bezels around the home button, camera, and the module containing the flash and heart rate monitor so things are a bit stealthier.
The design does have its drawbacks, though, as the thin metal frame at the side (due to the edge screen) makes it hard to pick up from a flat surface. The super smooth glass front and back also makes it a very slippery phone. Last but not least is that the back of the S7 edge is still a fingerprint magnet so you’ll be wiping it constantly.
We’ve taken a look at the Onyx Black S7 edge which is blacker than the Galaxy S6 which had a nice blue tint. There’s also a Gold Platinum colour and although those are the only ones available in the UK at the time of writing there are also white and Silver Titanium colours, too. The latter of which is a bit overly mirrored for our taste.
Update 20 April: A new pink gold colour option was made available in South Korea today, and is coming to selected markets soon.
Also see: Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Samsung Galaxy S7.
Also see: Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5.Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review: Hardware and specs Galaxy S7 edge screen – Bigger is better for the S7 edge?
As mentioned in the design section, the screen size of the Galaxy S7 edge has jumped to 5.5in. That’s in-between the S6 edge and S6 edge+ (5.1- and 5.7in respectively) which makes it seem like Samsung is only going to offer the one size and a shame for those out there who liked the smaller size edge screen. Perhaps Samsung was testing the water with the previous models to see which was more popular.
The size is really the main difference here in terms of the display tech. Samsung has stuck with a Quad HD resolution (1440×2560) instead of following Sony down the 4K route. That’s something we’re glad of after finding the Xperia Z5 Premium simply unnecessary. A pixel density of 534ppi ensures a perfectly crisp image.
As expected, the firm continues to use its preferred SuperAMOLED screen technology which provides an excellent all-round viewing experience including superb contrast, brightness and viewing angles. Colours are, as usual, vibrant and punchy which results in an impressive effect but some may find it a little over the top. If you don’t like the look of the display you can switch the screen mode between adaptive (default), AMOLED cinema, AMOLED photo and basic. These modes adjust the colour range, saturation and sharpness of the screen.
The main reason to buy the Galaxy S7 edge over the regular S7, or other smartphones, is the dual edge display. We’ll talk more about what it can do in the software section below, but it looks and feels awesome even when you’re not doing anything with it. When you swipe between homescreen panels or the app menu, icons roll satisfyingly off and on the sides. It doesn’t have the same impact for scrolling vertically though a web page or watching a video in landscape but it’s still nice – most certainly a luxury than a necessity.
As previously the Galaxy S7 features Smart Stay will keep the display on as long as you’re looking at it. For example, it will ignore your screen time out and keep the display on if you’re reading an article or looking at an image. It’s another feature which needs switching on in the settings, though.Galaxy S7 edge Always On display
It’s more a software feature but the Galaxy S7 edge display is ‘always on’ should you want it to be. This means you can get basic information without even laying a finger on the phone. You’ll get information such as the time, date and battery percentage, plus notifications although this seems to be limited to calls and text messages.
What’s disappointing is that there’s little control over this feature. You can choose between a clock, calendar and image to display, with a few different styles for each and an optional background for the first two. However, you can’t choose to switch off notifications for example, or stop the widget jumping around the screen periodically. When it does move – presumably to avoid lighting up the same pixels constantly – it’s distracting and occasionally sits annoyingly a fraction off centre. This will, of course, use more battery juice but it’s not enough to have a significant impact on battery life.
Making sure the screen switches off when it’s somewhere dark like a pocket or a bag is something we thought happened automatically but you actually need to switch this on in the display settings.
Update October 2023: Samsung is rolling out an update to the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge that includes the new features introduced by the Note 7’s always-on display (before it was discontinued). These include a new calendar option, a new digital clock to which you can add a custom text signature, the ability to show the current music track, and some enhancements to battery usage that see the always-on display consume just 1% per hour. You can update to version 1.4.02 of the Always on Display in the Galaxy Apps store, or by tapping Settings, Display, Always On Display, About Always on Display, Update.Galaxy S7 edge processor, memory and benchmarks
Although we would have put good money on the Galaxy S7 edge getting the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor in the UK, it’s a good job we didn’t as it actually has Samsung’s own Exynos 8890 chip instead. There’s also an upgrade in the form of 4GB of RAM, a rather healthy amount for a smartphone – the Galaxy S6 models have 3GB.
For those of you interested in the technical details, the Exynos 8890 is an octa-core processor which features four 2.3GHz cores and four 1.6GHz cores. The chip will decide which to use based on the task. The GPU is a Mali-T880 MP12 which is a step up from the Mali-T760 MP8 found in the Galaxy S6 edge.
Overall, Samsung says the Galaxy S7 is 30 percent faster on the CPU front and 64 percent faster when it comes to graphics. In our tests, the S7 edge isn’t far off these claims.
Checkout all the full Galaxy S7 edge benchmark results compared with its predecessor and rivals in the below interactive table.Galaxy S7 edge storage and Micro-SD
As well as testing screen sizes with the Galaxy S6 models, Samsung may have also been seeing which storage capacity consumers prefer by matching the iPhone 6S with 32-, 64- and 128GB models. The Galaxy S7 edge, as mentioned earlier, heralds the return of expandable storage. Correcting the lack of a Micro-SD card slot on the previous model is the right move and likely to be why Samsung is only producing the Galaxy S7 edge in a 32GB capacity.
It appears that Samsung has made this decision, in part, to avoid confusing users. It’s a shame but not the end of the world; you’ll just have to carry on using the memory card in the old fashioned way. You can move apps to SD card on the Galaxy S7 edge via the storage section of the setting menu. Navigate to the apps section of internal storage, select the apps, hit change and choose SD card.Galaxy S7 edge fingerprint scanner
There’s no change on the fingerprint scanner front, it’s still hidden inside the physical home button which sits below the screen. The button is more discrete as it no longer has a silver rim around the edge.
You can register a fingerprint to unlock the phone with (using a backup password, PIN or pattern) during the initial set up. Thereafter, you can head into the settings to add more of your digits – doing at least both your thumbs will be useful and you can add up to four in total.
The disappointment here is that we’ve not found the fingerprint scanner on the S7 edge very quick or reliable. We frequently get messages such as ‘no match’ or ‘keep your finger on the home key a little longer’. It essentially is a bit picky so you need to be quite careful about how you touch the sensor which is a problem we didn’t even find with the Galaxy S6. It’s by no means unusable but certainly frustrating at times.
If the same happens to you, try re-registering your fingerprint. After doing this, we have seen things improve a little. Interestingly, it’s not an issue we’ve encountered on the regular Galaxy S7.Galaxy S7 edge connectivity and other sensors
A fingerprint scanner isn’t where the Galaxy S7 edge tech ends, of course. Samsung typically likes to cram every little thing it can into a phone.
The Galaxy S7 edge is 4G-enabled, as you would expect, and supports LTE Cat 9 which can provide download speeds of up to 450Mbps and upload speeds of up to 50Mbps. You won’t actually see those figures in real life, though.
It’s no surprise to see the latest wireless connectivity including dual-band 11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 LE with aptX, GPS and NFC. The latter will come in handy when Samsung Pay and Android Pay launch in the UK. The heart hate monitor still sits on the back of the phone next to the camera should you find it useful and the Galaxy S7 edge also has SpO2 sensor (uses the same optical sensor as the heart rate monitor) which measures the oxygen in your blood.
You can access the latter features via the S Health app which also tracks your steps and other activity figures like calories and distance. Helpful for the fitness conscious but the heart rate/SpO2 monitor, like the fingerprint scanner, can take a few attempts before getting a reading.
Despite packing in all that tech, Samsung has dropped something from the spec sheet which has been part of its flagship range since the Galaxy S4. The IR blaster (infrared sensor) is no longer so you can’t use the S7 edge to control gadgets around the house like your TV or amplifier.Galaxy S7 edge battery life, wireless charging, Quick Charge and USB
Although Samsung has clearly answered requests for waterproofing and Micro-SD, the Galaxy S7 edge doesn’t have a removable battery – the LG G5 does despite its metal design. The saving grace here is that the capacity has been increased to a generous 3600mAh which is 600mAh more than the Galaxy S6 edge+ so we really don’t mind that the phone is a little fatter.
Galaxy S7 edge battery life is impressive and over a 24 hour period of what we’d call regular usage we still had 59 percent of the juice left. On that basis, the phone will last a decent two days unless you rinse it with demanding tasks like watching films or gaming. In our battery benchmark using Geekbench 3, the Galaxy S7 edge set a record with 11 hours and 25 minutes and a score of 6855 outpacing the Huawei Mate 8 which lasted 10 hours 15 minutes with a score of 6091.
The regular Galaxy S7 with its smaller battery (3000mAh) managed nine hours and 15 minutes in the same test.
Samsung hasn’t gone with the reversible USB Type-C port and has instead stuck with Micro-USB 2.0. That may surprise some for a flagship phone in 2023 but Samsung told PC Advisor that it doesn’t see the value. The same is true when it comes to Quick Charge 3.0 so the Galaxy S7 edge with the Snapdragon 820 processor only supports Quick Charge 2.0.
With the UK model powered by the Exynos 8890, Samsung says the S7 edge can charge to full in 100 minutes using its own ‘Adaptive Fast Charging’ which you can even switch off in the settings if you’re worried about damaging the battery or the phone getting too hot. We found that the S7 edge charged to full in 98 minutes using the supplied charger.
At the end of the day, these are minor quibbles and not only is the Galaxy S7 edge supplied with a fast charger, it also features wireless charging so you’ll find it easier to keep topped up if you buy the right accessory.Galaxy S7 edge cameras
With regards to photography, you’ll find a 12Mp at the rear of the Galaxy S7 edge, the same camera as the regular model. The more astute of you will point out that the S6 Edge had a 16Mp camera, and while Samsung has dropped the resolution, megapixels aren’t everything and it has made improvements in other areas. The rear-facing camera features a Samsung Britecell sensor only 1/2.6in in size, a 1.4 µm pixel size, 26mm lens and an f/1.7 aperture.
There’s no dual-tone LED flash like some rivals but Samsung does offer optical image stabilisation (OIS) here which helps keep videos smooth and avoid blurry pictures. Low light performance is the big thing being touted by Samsung.
As you would expect, the Galaxy S7 edge can shoot video at 4K (2160p) resolution which is at 30fps. It can record slow motion at 240fps at 720p, shoot HDR video and simultaneously record 4K video while capturing 9Mp still images.
See also: Best phone camera 2023.
Interestingly, Samsung added a new image type to the S7 and S7 edge – while it wasn’t exactly the iPhone Live Photos rival we’d heard rumours about, it’s the next best thing. When taking a panorama on a Galaxy S7 edge, you’re able to ‘play’ it back as if it were a video complete with motion, and you’re also able to control the direction by swiping the display. It’s called Motion Panorama and the effect is somewhat hit and miss depending on the subject.
Taking a photo as standard, the Galaxy S7 edge shoots in a 4:3 aspect ratio so if you want a wider 16:9 you need to dial things down to 9.1Mp at the most. There’s no dedicated shutter button as such but you can use the volume buttons instead and the heart rate monitor for the front camera. We love how quickly the camera launches by double tapping the home button, even with the phone locked. You can also shoot quickly with effectively zero shutter lag and quick acting phase detection auto focus.
There are a bunch of different camera modes to choose from so if you don’t like sticking with Auto you can launch the Pro mode for detailed control. There’s also Selective focus, Video Collage, Live broadcast, Hyperlapse, Food and Virtual shot to name most of them, plus you can download more.
Photo quality is excellent. In fact, in our standard comparison shot of St Pancras, the S7 manages to retain such detail – even when shooting in JPEG rather than RAW mode – that individual bricks were visible where other flagship phone cameras deliver a smeary mess.
Overall, images are a little on the soft side for our liking – lacking the biting sharpness of the Nexus 6P, say. Yet some still exhibit the haloing associated with too much sharpening.
Colours are fantastic, though, and not just on the Super AMOLED screen. Viewed on a calibrated PC monitor, the warm vibrant tones of a spring day looked great, though some will see them as oversaturated.
The f/1.7 lens produces wonderful bokeh (for a phone) but can occasionally become a drawback as the depth of field is narrower than on most other phones. It can mean some people in a group shot are out of focus because they were standing just behind the person you focused on.
At night, things go noticeably downhill. Noise reduction zaps detail and there’s still evidence of noise in the sky of our photo looking out from London Bridge. When there’s a bit more light – say from street lighting or at dusk – photos are markedly improved: as the sharpness of the letters on the street sign show.
When it comes to video, the S7 is hard to beat. It can shoot sharp, detailed footage in UHD mode, albeit at only 30fps. Our favourite mode is 1080p at 60fps, which along with the very effective stabilisation gives super-smooth video with the same saturated colours you see in the S7’s photos.Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review: Software, apps and new features
As with almost every other Android smartphone launching in 2023, the S7 Edge features the latest version of the software, Android 6.0 Marshmallow. However, as of January 2023 the Android 7.0 Nougat OTA update should begin rolling out to users.
Read next: Best Android smartphones of 2023
Samsung adds its own TouchWiz interface to the stock Android OS which, depending on your opinion, may or may not be a good thing. That said, Samsung has learnt from past mistakes and has trimmed it down nicely, especially with regards to bloatware.
Pre-installed apps on the Galaxy S7 edge include Samsung’s own suite (Galaxy Apps, S Health, S Voice, Email, My Files, Voice Recorder, Samsung Gear and Internet) plus Microsoft apps, too (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, OneNote and Skype). Of course, Google’s is there also. It’s worth noting that you can’t uninstall any of them but many can be disabled instead.
TouchWiz means that the user interface is different to stock Android as found on Nexus devices in various areas. For example, the notification bar looks different but you can do things like long press on Quick Setting (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth etc) to navigate to the appropriate settings. While the recent apps menu is the newer card style view, Samsung adds the upday news aggregator feed (not Flipboard any more) to the left of the main homescreen. This can be switched off if it’s not your cup of tea but you can’t replace it with something else like Google Now without installing an alternative launcher. Also see: Funny things to ask S Voice.
Long pressing on an empty part any homescreen panel brings up customisation options including the usual ability to change wallpaper and add widgets. You also get access to the Themes store if you want to change the look and feel of TouchWiz, plus ‘screen grid’ which handily lets you fit more onto the screen if you don’t mind app icons being smaller.Edge screen functionality
As we’ve mentioned, the edge screen is the main reason to buy the Galaxy S7 edge over the regular model. But what exactly can it do apart from look pretty? Let’s take a look.
The Galaxy S6 edge (and Galaxy Note edge) seemed like something of an experiment with Samsung not really knowing what to do with the tech but this has been somewhat refined on the Galaxy S7 edge.
Like before, you bring the edge screen to life by swiping inwards on the ‘handle’ – a grey bar which can be customised in size, position and transparency. When you do, edge panels will appear including the existing people edge and apps edge. These give you quick access to your favourite contacts and apps but you can now place up to 10 apps on the panel instead of five – but not on the People edge which is a shame.
There are other panels – such as Weather, S Planner and Quick tools – and you can decide which ones you want active and in which order. As well as the pre-loaded ones, you can download more from the internet.
A new addition is the ‘Tasks edge’ which allow you to do more than just open an app. For example you can compose a message, add a contact or take a selfie. You can choose from a range of different tasks but can’t create your own from scratch.
Edge feeds ensure you get information like notifications or S Health data via the edge screen. You can also use Edge lighting so that if the phone is face down, you’ll know who is calling by the colour of the edge screen – this only works for contacts in the People edge though but at least both sides now light up instead of the one with the handle. A call from anyone not on your People edge simply lights up green.
With the screen off you can swipe up and down the edge screen the side of the handle to bring up information like notifications. The Night Clock remains a feature and will display a clock on the edge at night, as the name suggests. You can choose which hours for it to start and end, plus which side to display it on.
It’s an improved experience but still something of a luxury. We haven’t found ourselves using it a great deal but perhaps it’s something which becomes more natural over time and with a bit of training.Multi-tasking and one-handed use
Although there’s some hype around the Android N developer preview offering the ability to run two apps side-by-side, Samsung lets you do this already. The Galaxy S7 edge can do this with certain apps by long pressing the recent apps button.
If you’re thinking the 5.5in screen might be a bit big for your hands, then Samsung has something to help you out. Switch on ‘One-handed operation’ and you’ll be able to reduce the screen size by tapping the home key three times. It’s like having a mini phone and you can switch which side it appears on in case you’re left handed. You can also adjust the size and position of the keyboard, keypad, calculator and unlock pattern by switching on ‘One-handed input’.Game Launcher
The Game Launcher will also (optionally) stop any notifications getting through so you do get disturbed mid-game. A set of game tools bring more benefits such as locking software keys, minimising the game and recording the screen while you play. A small icon like a Facebook chat head sits at the side of the screen to give quick access to the game tools and can be moved to where it’s least in the way.
Read next: Best new phones coming in 2023Specs Samsung Galaxy S7 edge: Specs
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
5.5in Quad HD display (1440×2560)
Dual curved edge display
Exynos 8890 octa-core processor
32GB internal storage
Micro-SD card slot (up to 200GB)
12Mp rear-facing camera with OIS
5Mp front camera
Heart rate monitor
11ac dual-band Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX
4G LTE Cat 9
3600mAh non-removable battery
IP68 dust & waterproof rating
The Galaxy Note 4 is a bit of a handful and is rather expensive but lovers of the Galaxy Note range will likely be enamoured with this edition. It is, on the whole, a great device with plenty of power and features. As long as you’re aware that you’re buying a huge phone and will get the most out of what it offers. Otherwise a smaller and cheaper handset is probably a better choice – the Galaxy S5 or one of its rivals.
Samsung launched the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone at IFA 2014 in Berlin, alongside a surprise Galaxy Note Edge with a curved screen. The new Galaxy Note 4 offers various improvements over its Galaxy Note 3 predecessor, including a Quad HD screen, better processor and other improved specs. Here’s our Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review. Updated on 05/11/14 with photography. See also: Best smartphones.Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review: Price
As usual, the Galaxy Note range fetches a high price and the Galaxy Note 4 will set you back £599 which is a big chunk more than the Galaxy S5. It’s worth noting, though, that it’s cheaper than the similarly sized iPhone 6 Plus which is £619 and has half the amount of storage.
Read: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs Galaxy Note Edge comparison review.Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review: Design
The overall design of the Galaxy Note 4 is similar to that of the Note 3, with the same size screen, a faux leather textured back that we’re still not overly keen on, and similar dimensions and weight. See also: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Note 4
One slight difference is that the Note 4 has a metal frame, although only the shiny bevelled edge is obviously metal. There’s none of that tacky stitching found on the Note 3, though, so we’re pleased to see that go and although it provides good grip, the rear cover is yet again extremely thin plastic which feels cheap. Luckily it doesn’t feel too bad when clipped into place.
The Note 4 is 8.5mm thick (8.67 mm by our measurement), so slightly thicker than its predecessor but by no means a chunky device. However, we’d class it as a phablet with its 5.7in screen, so don’t expect to be able to fit it in your front pocket easily.
Like the iPhone 6 Plus, the phone is best used with two hands although there are features to help out which we’ll cover later in the software section. The Note 4 is tall so things feel unbalanced when reaching for the physical and touch sensitive buttons which are below the screen. The back button is particularly hard to reach one-handed.
It weighs a hefty 175g which is a few grams more than its predecessor and makes it a heavy smartphone. The size and weight means you’ve got to be happy with its phablet particulars if you’re going to splash out.
The Note 4 is available in Charcoal Black, Frost White, Blossom Pink and Bronze Gold. We got hands on with a Frost White model, which we thought was a bit on the sparkly side for our liking. If sparkly is your thing, though, Samsung has teamed up with Swarovski to offer some extremely sparkly crystal back cases for the Note 4. Unfortunately we have no details on when these will be available or how much they will cost.
Of course, it also comes with the S Pen, which is what gives this phablet the ‘Note’ in its name. This slots into the phone at the bottom next to the microUSB port and can be placed either way round. See below for more details on the S Pen.Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review: Screen
The screen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is stunning. It’s the same 5.7in as the Note 3, but this time Samsung has introduced a Quad HD Super AMOLED display, following in the footsteps of LG with the LG G3. That’s a resolution of 1440 x 2560, which means a whopping 515ppi pixel density.
While using the Note 4, we found that the screen had an incredible sense of depth, and we can imagine that it’ll be difficult to go back to full-HD once you’ve used a smartphone or tablet with a Quad HD screen like this one.
Samsung says that the Note 4 has a 2.5D glass screen, which it says is inherited from the Galaxy S3. It means that the edges are slightly curved, which is designed to make swiping at the edges of the screen easier. We didn’t notice much difference, though.
Not only does the screen look ridiculously crisp, it has excellent viewing angles from any direction and has bags of brightness. We’ve use the screen at very low brightness most of the time.Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review: Hardware
Inside the Galaxy Note 4 is a 2.7 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 Processor (or a 1.9GHz Octa-Core processor in some countries). It’s a super-speedy processor, which also has 3GB RAM and Adreno 420 graphics, and we found it to be extremely smooth and snappy when launching and switching apps.
We expected impressive results from this powerful smartphone and on the most part we got them. As you can see in the table below, the Note 4 is a speedy device and the first to break the 3000 barrier in GeekBench 3. However, it couldn’t outpace the iPhone in the graphics department and disappointed a little in the SunSpider web browsing test.
Galaxy Note 4
iPhone 6 Plus
Built-in storage for the Note 4 is 32 GB and that’s the only capacity available, but Samsung has included a microSD slot to allow you to add up to 128 GB additional storage to the device.
Connectivity includes the faster 802.11ac WiFi, and Samsung has included 4G LTE (Cat 6), NFC, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, MHL 3.0 and IR blaster. It also offers the Download Booster, first seen in the S5, which pairs 4G and WiFi to offer a theoretical maximum download speed of 400Mb/s. You couldn’t really ask for more.Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review: New features
Like the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Note 4 has a Fingerprint Scanner beneath the home button, and a Heart Rate Monitor located on the back of the device beneath the camera. The latter may only be useful for fitness fanatics but it can do clever things like measure your blood oxygen saturation level and even stress level. The fingerprint scanner doesn’t work as well as Apple’s Touch ID, still requiring an awkward swipe.
Interestingly, the Note 4 also has a UV sensor, which Samsung says is the first to be found in a mobile device. It’s part of the S Health system, and sits on the back of the phone. You simply point it at the sun and take a reading
The Note 4 comes with multiple microphones too, which work with the built-in Voice Recorder to lets you record in two (interview mode) and eight different directions (meeting mode). You can then pick just one direction/voice to play back if you just want to listen to what one particular person had to say within a group conversation and the software will automatically skip all other audio. This seems to work pretty well but is probably more useful for us as journalists than the average Joe.Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review: Cameras
Samsung has improved the camera in the Galaxy Note 4, and we found the results to be quite impressive. The rear-facing camera is 16 Mp, with auto focus and Smart OIS (optical image stabilisation). HDR on the Galaxy Note 4 offers a live preview, so you can see exactly what your image will look like before you capture it which is a neat trick. As you would expect, it can still record 4K video like its predecessor.
Rather than bombarding you with camera modes, this time around the Note 4 has just a few pre-installed and even fewer selected to display. If you want more you can select them from the ‘manage modes’ section or download more from the internet.
On the front is a decent 3.7Mp camera with an aperture of f1.9. Samsung has introduced a fun Wide Selfie mode with the Note 4, so you can capture more of the environment around you when taking those all-important and extremely popular selfies with the front-facing camera.
One thing we did find is that the size of the Note 4 means taking photographs is not an exceptionally easy task. It can get a bit clumsy, particularly if you are trying to take a photo with one hand. There’s no dedicated camera/shutter button which is something we’d appreciate having. Below is our test photo and video.Galaxy Note 4 test photos and video Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review: Software & S Pen
Multi Window (above) isn’t new but is a handy allowing you to use two apps at once in a split screen view thanks to the 5.7in display. These windows can be resized, too, to allow more space for an app that requires it, for example.
It also offers the ability to view a window as a pop-up screen that can be moved around and will let you continue working in the background. You do it with a swipe from either top corner of the screen and we’ve done it accidentally a number of times. It also doesn’t work with every app which is quite frustrating at times.
The Galaxy Note 4’s S Pen has been improved, too. Using the S Note app, the S Pen can now emulate various pen and writing types, including a fountain pen or calligraphy pen, thanks to its 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity.
I’ve personally found the S Pen useful simply as a replacement for my finger as an input device – it’s accurate and avoids the screen getting grubby. However, it can do a lot more than that if you can get your head around the complicated feature set which takes a while to learn.
The Air Command wheel lets you access features such as Action Memo, Screen Write, Image Clip and the new Smart Select feature by pressing the small button on the side of the S Pen. By default this appears when you remove the S Pen from its holder but if you find that annoying like we do then you can change the settings to do something else or nothing at all.
While we’re impressed with the Note 4, there are things about the TouchWiz software that we’re not keen on. Sometimes it’s the little things that get to you the most and we dislike that the massive screen is unable to tell us who a text message is from or even the first line of it when a notification is displayed on the lockscreen.
A swipe away from the main homescreen is a customised Flipboard interface which is great if you use the service but not very useful otherwise. As our readers have kindly pointed out, this can be removed in the homescreen settings.Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review: Battery life
We all want great battery life from a smartphone and although the Note 4 has a large 3220 mAh battery (which is removable as usual), it hasn’t blown us away in this area.
Realistically, the smartphone will last a day and have a bit of charge left but certainly not enough to make it through a second meaning you’ll have to charge it every night. This is a bit of a shame considering the impressive performance we saw with the LG G3 which also has a Quad HD screen.
In its favour is the ability to fast charge 50 percent of the battery in just 30 minutes and the Ultra Power Saving mode which we’ve seen on other Samsung phones which switches things into a simplistic grey scale mode to make those last few percent stretch as far as possible avoiding you getting completely cut off.Specs Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Specs
Android 4.4.4 KitKat OS
5.7in SuperAMOLED display (1440×2560), 515 ppi
2.7GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 CPU
Adreno 420 GPU
32GB internal storage
16Mp rear camera laser AF with optical image stabilistaion
3.7Mp front camera
Video recording at up to 4K
Bluetooth 4.1 LE
Heart rate monitor
4G LTE (Cat 6)
11.9Wh (3220mAh) battery
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