Does fashion outweigh function?

Like many, I was captivated by Samsung’s Spring flagship launch this year.  But this was not due to the beautified Galaxy S6.  Rather, it was the evolution of Samsung’s screen-bending experiment, resulting in a smartphone that looked like no other.

Sixappeal

We’re becoming accustomed to seeing minor updates to each established smartphone design.  This circumstance is most true in 2015 than any other year.  But I think I speak for many when I say that the S6 Edge was a breath of fresh air, regardless if you actually bought it or if there there was practical sense behind the feature.

With that thought, what does the S6 Edge mean for the future?  Samsung in fact underestimated demand for the S6 Edge (which was one reason S6 sales took a hit).  Meaning, this was a dart that Samsung threw that stuck.  Or was it?

The Note 5/S6 Edge+ releases are looming.  After having some time with the S6 Edge, I’m ready to move on with the annual shift to phablets.  Therefore, I’m at a crossroads.  Looking solely at the screen differences, I’m questioning whether I should get an Edge device again.  Did my lust for those sexy edges leave me satisfied from day to day?  Or maybe my desire for something unique led me astray and stuck with a costly prototype?

This is a very important question to ask.  Not just for myself but for those who are about to upgrade.  I’m sure there are plenty of folks that turned down the S6 Edge solely because it was too small for them.  The unthoughtful battery life could have also been a factor.  The S6 Edge+ will alleviate those concerns.  So should you do it?

The answer is:  I don’t know.  That may sound like a crappy answer, but hear me out.  All the practicality in my mind tells me that it’s not worth it:  the $100 price hike, the reduction of grip on the sides, and the compromised handling ergonomics to avoid touching the screen at the edges.  Also, the functionality that Samsung created to utilize the edges is humorous.

Edge_features

Why would you use a sliver of your phone’s screen for information?  Isn’t it just as easy to turn the phone on, and more efficient?  There’s no reason why the People edge feature should be exclusive to the S6 Edge, it’s just a swipe to access a Contacts panel.  I guess the Edge lighting feature is cool, but I can’t see most people putting this phone face down.

So where’s the dilemma then?  You see, there is a part of me that still wants the edged screen a part of my life.

Does that make me shallow in my smartphone decision-making?  Maybe.  I love the fact that the Edge looks different, and I can’t get over it.  This is even considering that I sometimes tune the feature out.  When I handle the phone, the edges always catches my eye.  It looks futuristic.  When people see it in my hand, they notice it.  The look on their face says “What the heck is that!?”  When I scroll to the left and right on the phone, content doesn’t just slide, it falls.  The screen reacts in a new dimension, and you bet it’s as neat as it sounds.

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So while I have yet to resolve my own internal conflict, I’m hoping that I at least provided insight for those who are curious about Samsung’s edge feature.  Who knows, maybe with the S6 Edge+ release, Samsung has figured out how to give the edges more worth.  On the other side of the coin, the Note 5 will have a stylus and a larger battery.  While curved edges are intriguing, they can’t outweigh a slew of compromises.  We’ll soon see what Samsung has conjured up at the Unpacked event on Thursday.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. They look nice but those curved edges steal real estate. For work, I need big screens, a long lasting battery and a big SD card. No Android has been good at this except the GNote generation. But the best of them all for me is Nokia 1520. 6″ of uncluttered real estate, no ads, no slow downs, no bloatware, battery lasts two days.

    So, no for me curved edges in such small devices are useless exercises in good design. They look good but not functional. Stuff for hipsters.

    • Interesting opinion. I never felt like the edges stole screen real estate. The display size is what it is, only, it tapers down on the sides. You can still see the content. Actually, looking straight on, I sometimes forget that the slanted edges are there.

      But yes, as far as the power user argument, all signs are pointing that the Note 5 will have better specs than the Edge+. Because of this, I’m doubtful the aesthetic one will when out with demand this time around.

      • If you check the size of the screen it’s slightly smaller. If you have an edge 5.7″ VS a non edge you do lose some of that real estate over the edges of course. Also, being used to the 6″ of the 1520, i don’t seem to be able to stand smaller screens anymore. The 1520 allows me to see almost an entire page with articles without moving around at a decent font size. The others force me to move all around. I have tried the Galaxy 6/6 edge and ran away after 10 seconds…everything looked so small….The Note 4 is better……
        Apart from that, they slowdown, have tons of unremovable bloatware and the rest of the issues that characterize the Android ecosystem (SD Limitations, lack of privacy etc. but that applies to every single Android). The note family is a workhorse for productivity and functionality and i am somewhat addicted (I am using a Note 4 too at the moment and occasionally an LG G4 as a loaned one from a friend who doesn’t need it). I always go back to the Nokia…..Screen is a factor…..all those ads on Android stealing more estate are another factor but this leads me off topic. However, while design and materials have improved, Android with all those ads popping up all the time makes the phone look like a cheap Chinese replica. I think (but i am not sure) that all those ads are affecting the ecosystem (and the battery, and the quality of apps and the real estate). This adds up to the problem.

        • Ah okay. I can sympathize with you. I came from a Nexus 6 to the S6 Edge, and the size concern was a tough one to swallow. I really wanted to try the edges.

          But if the Note 5 has better specs, it will be hard to stay.

          • Waiting on Note 5 too, as well as Lumia 950 XL. I’ll see which one is better for my needs. The outsider in the race is the LG G4 note pro, which had been rumoured. I am using a G4 and I must say it’s a nice device. Still can’t stand all those ads popping up everywhere in Android.

  2. What would you pay for, the former ‘Edge’ (as the new one does promise additional functionality) and it’s edgy Screen OR a half dozen multi-color “Notification LEDs” that can be programmed to specific APPs, Events, etc. with a simple Scripting Language for Hacker’s enjoyment.

    Lighter on the Battery (ha), and capable of some of the functionality and coolness (like a Binary Clock – extra geeky) that the far more expensive curved edge Screen offers.

    I find one Notification LED quite useful and wonder if a few would be better. For a ‘gimmick’ it would cost less.

    If you don’t include Lenticular Screens I have seen a neat gimmick (for the Screen) since HTC’s cover with small holes in it, and that is low cost.

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