Samsung’s latest Unpacked event is upon us, when promises of new hardware finally make that all-important step from the shadowy world of leaks and rumors to the clear daylight of confirmation. With such high-profile hardware on the line, let’s waste no more time in getting to the big news: Samsung has formally introduced not just the Galaxy Note 4, but also the rumored wrap-around-screen Galaxy Note Edge.
As expected, the Note 4 sports a 5.7-inch quad HD display, and Samsung was quick to point out the extended color gamut offered by its AMOLED nature. The handset’s design takes some cues from the recent Galaxy Alpha, with a handsome chamfered edge.
The Note Edge was a bit of a long shot, but not only is that hardware now confirmed, but it largely matches our expectations, with those same long-side wrap-around edges as Samsung showed in prototypes so long ago. Well, at least one of them, as the Note Edge’s over-the-edge screen only extends down the right side. But we’ll get back to that in a second.
Samsung will be releasing the Note 4 in four color variants (at least for now), selling the phablet in black, white, gold, and pink.
The evolution of the S Pen continues with this latest generation, and significant improvements to the stylus’s sensitivity aim to deliver a user experience that’s even more akin to natural handwriting. New software tweaks improve Air Command and allow for things like selecting multiple on-screen elements at once.
Imaging-wise, we’ve got a 16MP main camera with optical stabilization, as well as a 3.7MP front-facer. That front camera boasts an f1.9 aperture with a quite wide 90 degree field of view.
And that rumored sort-of shutter button? The one that might be capacitive? Not quite: Samsung will let you use the phablet’s heart rate sensor to trigger the camera’s shutter.
How’s battery life? Even with all this upgraded tech and a very modest battery size increase to 3220mAh, Samsung claims the Note 4 will enjoy a battery life that improves on the Note 3’s, while also benefiting from rapid charging support.
Much like the crystal band we just saw revealed for the Gear S, the Note 4 gets its own crystal backs. We also see new options like a very DotView-like LED case.
The Galaxy Note 4 will go up sale this October.
As for the Note Edge, we’ve got another quad HD display here – with a little bonus. The Edge Screen, as Samsung’s calling it, spills over the handset’s right border and adds an extra 160-pixel-wide column. You’ll be able to see notifications without crowding-up the main screen, or even having to open your case. The Edge Screen will also host content like media playback controls, and offer a touch shutter butter of its own.
The Note 4 and Note Edge are largely identical – the displays aside, of course. That said, the Edge does change a few specs, like arriving with a slightly smaller 3000mAh battery. The changes go in both directions, though, and we also see an option for a 64GB Note Edge not available with the Note 4 itself.
Retail availability of the Note Edge will get underway “later this year,” but no specific month has been named just yet. The phablet will be available in both black and white.
Update: Carriers are already chiming-in with their promises of support. So far, we’ve heard from AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint, each saying that they’ll be carrying not just the Galaxy Note 4, but also the Note Edge. There’s no more of an ETA than what Samsung has already provided, but they’re accepting sign-ups to pre-register for information as it arrives. Beyond the new Note devices, Sprint and AT&T also say that they will be selling the Gear VR.