It was Samsung who gave us the keys to unlocking doors and greeting the guests called Phablet devices in our houses and since the very first Galaxy Note device, it has been Samsung who has been pushing the Phablet curve forward. The fourth iteration of the curve was unveiled today as Samsung announced, not one but two Galaxy Note devices. Announced were Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which is the successor to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Note Edge, which is the very first smartphone to ship with an extra extended curved display on the edges. But the two smartphones were not all that Samsung unveiled at the IFA 2014 announcement in Berlin, there was a smartwatch and a VR headset in there too. Let’s look at all the four announcements in detail.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
If you recently followed the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha, then the Note 4 will look familiar to you. The device is a refinement from the Galaxy Note III rather than redefinement. As expected the device is a spec monster and you could compare it to virtually any smartphone out there and the Note IV will come out triumphing and standing strong. Without a doubt, it would be the Samsung Galaxy Note IV that would be setting up the markers for the upcoming phablets in the market and deservedly so. On the outside you have a metal band around the device with chamfered edges which enhances the looks of the device when compared to the pseudo metal look of the Note III.
The display is a 5.7 inch Quad HD screen as expected which will be powered by a Snapdragon 805 SoC or an inhouse Exynos Octa core chip based on the region you are in. The touch pen or S-Pen on the device has been improved for better sensitivity to give you a feeling of using a proper pen on the display. Samsung has also tied up with Mont Blanc who will be bringing a couple of very fancy covers and fancy S-Pens in a Mont Blanc body along with a few software tweaks such as 6 Mont Blanc tip selections when you are making a note. The rear camera is a 16 MP unit with an OIS which is one of the features that everybody has been requesting Samsung for a while. The front facing camera too has a 90 degree view now for selfies as well as a larger sensor for better performances in low light. The back of the phone is similar to what we have seen with the Galaxy Note III but gone are the fake leather stitches.
You do have the finger print scanner on the home button as well as the heart rate monitor at the back, while the IR sensor is found on the top of the phone. The phone has 32 GB of internal storage as well as a micro SD slot for expansion. There is 3 GB of RAM and 3220 mAh battery in the Note IV. On the software front, the device runs Android 4.4.4 with Touchwiz. You get the usual set of Galaxy Note software features including a handy scrapbook. Dual window feature has been enhanced and you can now easily pin notes you take to the home screen. There are a few interesting accessories including the S Window and S Wallet cases as well as Swarovski cases that will be available with the phone when it releases sometime in October.
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
Most headlines from the event would no doubt be attributed to the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge. The device has been leaked on numerous blogs in the past year or so, but finally Samsung has decided to bring it to selected markets this year. The USP of the device is an extended display on the right flank where you have a secondary display seamlessly connected to the primary display. It feels like an extension to the main front display on the side.
In terms of the internals, the device is exactly the same as the Note IV and also brings other hardware features such as the S-Pen, 16 MP OIS rear camera, soft touch back and finger print sensor. The curved display is the only feature that differentiates it from the Note IV. The two displays are controlled by two different softwares and therefore you can use the curved section to control your music player, quickly launch apps, display a message, display a measuring ruler and more. The SDK for the same was made available for the developers, so it is a case of what more can the community come up with.
As much as we like the concept and the fact that we finally are moving towards bendable panels, we have our reservations about the device. The first being accidental inputs on the extended display given the mammoth size of the phone. Secondly, it is obvious the phone will cost a bomb and we ain’t really sure if it is worth that. Third reservation we have is about the phone is very right hand friendly, what if you are a left handed? Despite those, we definitely would like to check out the phone and see if any of the reservations can be silenced by the device when it steps in the main market.
The Samsung Gear S Smartwatch
The Gear S Smartwatch is basically Samsung Gear 2 with a SIM slot so that you can use the device for receiving the set notifications without relying on an active connection between the watch and the smartphone. To activate the device for the first time, you will need to connect it to a supported Galaxy device. The device also features a curved AMOLED Panel and runs Tizen under the hood instead of Android Wear.
Gear S comes with Nike+ in there to help you count your steps and measure fitness routines as well as built in GPS for turn by turn directions and mapping your routes. Samsung has over 1,000 apps in the Gear Store for the device which can be installed. The screen size is 2 inches for those who like to read specifications and has a 1 GHz processor at the heart of it. The device will be available in October in Korea and in the other parts of the world later on.
Samsung Gear VR
The surprise of the evening was Samsung Gear VR. Gear VR is a Virtual Reality headset accessory which is powered by the Note 4. The VR headset is designed by Oculus in partnership with Samsung and aims to bring an immersive gaming and video consumption experience to its users.
The VR headset will be available later in October in select regions, so we are not sure how many of these will come out and what will be the state and volume of content including games and videos for the device. We had seen something similar at the Google I/O where Google gave away Cardboard headsets with lenses to give a 3D experience using smartphones. The Gear VR is similar though obviously made of higher quality materials. The Note 4 is used for content playing and processing and the phone is snapped on the front end of the Gear VR and you have a dual lens setup inside to give a VR 3D experience.
Which of the above products is your favorite of the ones announced today and why? Let us know in the section below.
Images via: The Verge