Samsung gets a bit of edge: Galaxy Note Edge and Gear VR headset revealed

3 Sep 2014

Samsung Galaxy Edge smartphone, Gear VR and more revealed at IFA

Samsung was busy at its IFA press conference, hauling out the Galaxy Note Edge smartphone and the Gear VR alongside updates to the Galaxy Note and its Gear S smartwatch.

The Galaxy Note Edge is notable - yes, we went there - because the display curves along one side.

It features a 5.6in, 2,560 x 1,440 display (slightly smaller than the full, 5.7in Note device) plus a 160-pixel curved edge used to display notifications or controls - keeping it from interfering with the rest of the screen and letting you navigate by swiping your thumb over the panels.

You can also check notifications on the curved section without turning on the rest of the display by swiping along the length.

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge features a 2.7GHz quad-core chip, 3GB of RAM and either 32GB or 64GB of storage, plus - as is typical of Samsung smartphones - it has support for a microSD card. It runs Android 4.4 (KitKat).

Samsung Gear VR

Samsung also unveiled its virtual reality headset, the Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition, built with help from the developers behind the Oculus Rift.

Samsung Gear VR

The Samsung Gear VR is powered by the Galaxy Note 4 - simply slide the smartphone into the headset and it connects via microUSB, a bit like an upmarket version of Google Cardboard. The phone's display is used for the virtual reality games and apps, and to watch films and other immersive content.

It will be available later this year, Samsung said.

Gear S and Galaxy Note 4

Samsung also showed off the Gear S smartwatch, which has its own connectivity, meaning it can be used separately from a smartphone.

It also unveiled the Galaxy Note 4, with a 5.7in, 2,560 x 1,440 display, which is an improvement on the Full HD screen of the Note 3, and, in a move away from the all-plastic designs of its predecessors, a metal-edged body. It features a 16-megapixel, rear-facing camera and a 3.7-megapixel front-facing snapper. It runs a 2.7GHz Qualcomm quad-core chip or a 1.9GHz Samsung Exynos octa-core chip, depending on the region it's sold in, has 3GB of RAM, 32GB of built-in storage and a microSD slot and supports 4G.

The Galaxy Note 4 also comes with an updated stylus and features a heart-rate monitor. Samsung added that the Note 4's battery can recharge by 50% in half an hour.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

"Samsung needs the Galaxy Note 4 to be a hit," said Ben Wood, an analyst at CSS Insight. "It has to make up some of the ground it lost as a result of the relatively poor reception to the all-plastic Galaxy S5 when it was launched in February."

He added that "the age of the phablet is effectively over" - but that doesn't mean larger devices are a foolish move. "Most flagship smartphones now have screens of five inches or more," he added. "We’ve come a long way since Samsung announced its first Note device in Berlin three years ago when its size was greeted with incredulity."

The Galaxy Note 4 will arrive in October, while the Galaxy Note Edge will arrive later this year, Samsung said.

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