When the Galaxy Note 7 was announced and Samsung talked about how wonderful the curved display was, Note fans were riled up about the prospect that there wasn't a "flat" version announced alongside it. And to be fair to them, we've had simultaneous curved and flat variations of Samsung flagships for the past four iterations — it became an expectation.
To set the stage here, I'm hardly a fan of the Galaxy S7 edge's curved screen design and what it does to hurt usability — no matter how cool it may look while doing it. Especially when considering that the accompanying "Edge UX" software is useless at best and completely duplicative at worst. And for that reason, I totally sympathized with the group who immediately cried foul over seeing that there was no "flat" version of the Galaxy Note 7 — not understanding the differences, it was frustrating to think that the only Note 7 you could buy was to be saddled with the same curved edges that make the phone harder to use.
While I was writing my Galaxy Note 7 review this past week, I kept thinking about how considerably different it is to use in daily life compared to the Galaxy S7 edge. Though they both ostensibly have the "same" curved screen, the experience of using each is entirely different, and the Note 7 is dramatically easier to use than the GS7 edge. You see, the Note 7's display curves are both tighter and smaller, which means they actually offer a functional benefit without any of the massive downsides we've seen on previous edge screen phones.
Samsung finally struck a proper balance between form and function of the curved screen
Together with the more rounded metal frame, the Note 7's curved display actually makes it easier to reach across the phone because it's over two millimeters narrower than the Note 5, and because the curves are smaller there aren't any worries about accidental palm touches on the display when you do reach across. The smaller curves also don't get in the way of you being able to properly perform swipe-in gestures on the edges of the screen, because you don't have to contort your thumb around the side of the phone.
All of this, and the curves actually look pretty darn cool. Particularly on the black version of the Note 7, the curves give you the feeling that the phone doesn't even have bezels on the sides of the screen, which is really neat. Yes it makes the phone ever-so-slightly more susceptible to cracks and scratches with those exposed glass edges, but so is every other phone that has curved glass edges without a curved display underneath. And hey, we're looking at Gorilla Glass 5 here as well.
So before you completely write off the Galaxy Note 7 just because you're worried about the implications of having a curved display, realize that it isn't the same type of experience you get from the Galaxy S7 edge or any other previous Samsung edge phone. With the Note 7 Samsung has really struck a great balance between form and function in the curved display, and that's why I've been very happy to use it in ways that I was never confident with the Galaxy S7 edge.
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