Samsung launches new Note phones, virtual reality headset

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has launched a new array of smartphones, bringing out its newest additions to its Note series – as well as a new virtual reality headset, the fruit of a collaboration with Oculus.

On Wednesday, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Note 4 and the Galaxy Note Edge. Like their predecessors, the Note 4 and Note Edge feature large screens and phablet-sized dimensions, toeing that line between being phone-and-tablet hybrids.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the S Pen. (Image: Samsung).
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the S Pen. (Image: Samsung).

Encased inside a curved metal frame, the Note 4 will run Android 4.4, or KitKat. It comes with a 5.7-inch screen, with a high-definition, super AMOLED display, as well as a 2.7 gigahertz quad-core processor (though the company making the processor hasn’t been revealed).

It also features a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera, which is supposed to be able to help prevent camera shake and automatically provides a longer exposure time when used to shoot pictures in darker areas. There’s also a 3.7-megapixel front-facing camera, giving options for a default 90-degree shooting angle or a 120-degree wide angle for users taking group photos.

And for users who want a phone that will last them for a long time between charges, Samsung has also loaded the Note 4 with power-saving enhancements like the Ultra Power Saving mode, as well as the Fast Charging feature. As its name implies, it speeds up the charging process.

Other bells and whistles include a fingerprint scanner for users who want to protect personal data, a UV sensor, and a voice recorder that can also isolate voices when played back, so users can listen to one specific voice from a group conversation.

To help them navigate the Note 4’s larger, wider screen, Samsung is also launching the S Pen, slated to offer an experience that’s just like writing with a regular fountain pen.

While the Note 4 seems to be an expected addition to Samsung’s Note series, what’s a little different this time around is the Note Edge. It has very similar specs to the Note 4, but what gives it its name is the screen, which wraps around the right edge of the phone. Nor is the curvature just for show – the screen basically bleeds out over the side and wraps around the edge, allowing users to look at things on that part of the screen as well.

The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge. (Image: Samsung).
The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge. (Image: Samsung).

According to the specs sheet, Samsung has given the Edge screen some “UX features,” including revolving interaction and immersive apps, though we have yet to see how exactly those will play out when using the phone.

Even more intriguing is the Gear VR, a headset that was built using Oculus’ virtual reality technology. Built to be wireless, the headset was designed to work with the Note 4 and to provide users a more immersive experience in gaming, film, and 360-degree video.

The Samsung Gear VR. (Image: Samsung).
The Samsung Gear VR. (Image: Samsung).

While Samsung has yet to announce pricing or availability dates, only saying it would launch its devices in the U.S. this fall, Mobile Syrup is reporting the Galaxy Note 4 should land in Canada by the end of this year. However, Samsung Canada is still deciding whether or not it wants to sell the Note Edge here.

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Candice So
Candice So
Candice is a graduate of Carleton University and has worked in several newsrooms as a freelance reporter and intern, including the Edmonton Journal, the Ottawa Citizen, the Globe and Mail, and the Windsor Star. Candice is a dog lover and a coffee drinker.

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