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Samsung explains Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge design in detail

News by Luke Jones on Thursday October 23, 2014.

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Galaxy Note 4
Galaxy Note 4

Samsung is often criticized for its designs, with many people claiming their devices are cheaply made and overly plastic in feel. The truth is it has been a valid criticism at times, but the Korean giant is taking more steps to solve that, such as the Galaxy Alpha series and the new Galaxy Note 4. There are still issues, such as cutting corners with things like faux leather, but Samsung seems to be on the right track.

The Note series has always been good looking, despite Samsung's flaws on other devices, but the new Note 4 seems a step up again. It feels premium, uses premium materials, and more importantly it sits well in the hand, despite its girth. Samsung has explained some of the reasoning behind the new design language in a blog post and revealed that feel is as important as aesthetic appeal.

Design-wise, how is Galaxy Note 4 different than its predecessors?

This is more complex than it sounds. We needed to keep the design identity of the Galaxy Note series, yet each device had to do so in its own way. For example, the design of the Galaxy Note series has had to represent both digital and analog: digital because of its advanced specifications and analog because of the S Pens authentic handwriting experience.

The new Galaxy Note 4 takes an honest design approach that emphasizes the overall feeling that comes from the device as a whole rather than the decorative factors. It is about being simple, modern, emotional and innovative; the designers at Samsung call it "Modern sleek."

Why did the back cover of the Galaxy Note 4 ditch the stitch?

It was a matter of the overall design concept of the Galaxy Note 4. If its predecessor was about being "classic", the Galaxy Note 4 is more about being "modern sleek" with an emphasis on the urban vibe. With the implementation of metal frame with diamond cuts, the designers wanted to take a more simple approach which aligns with the "modern sleek" design concept. Therefore, the Galaxy Note 4 has fewer decorative design factors, and the stitch on the back was one of them.

Metal Frame and soft cover? Let's talk about the material.

The designers have been aware of people's desire for a metal frame. However, using metal material just for the sake of using it didn't make much sense to the designers. The most important thing was that the materials being used for the Galaxy Note 4 aligned with the overall design concept, Modern Sleek.

The designers wanted the Galaxy Note 4 to project a sense of modern edginess; therefore they decided to go with the metal frame with the diamond cutting, which was a first for the Galaxy Note series.

The soft cover has to do with the design concept as well. Modern Sleek is not just about being modern, but also being warm and emotional. One thing the designers did not want to do was to use metal and give out the sense that the device is too hard and cold. That's why the soft cover has a leather pattern - of the finest leather from Togo, which is considered to have one of the best feeling.

And of course, the soft cover allows the user to change batteries, which is also a big part of the user experience of the Galaxy Note 4.

Why is the Edge Screen on the right side?

The main focus of the designers was to provide the analog feeling. When flipping through the pages of a book or note, many people flip it right to left, right being the initial contact point.

Moreover, the Edge Screen is supposed to serve as the extension of the main screen in terms of usability. So the main screen needs to be literally the "main" display. Since people generally tend to read from the left to right, the designers thought it would be the right decision to place the Edge Screen on the right side.

How did you find the right curvature rate of the Edge Screen?

Finding the right curvature rate for the Edge Screen was one of the most challenging parts of designing the Galaxy Note Edge. Because, first it needed to look clear from every angle. Second, it needed to give the right sense of grip. Third, the touch display needed to have enough of point of impact so that functions activated when users put their fingers on the screen.

The revolving UX of the Galaxy Note Edge, what is that about?

Revolving UX actually refers to the UX of the Edge Screen of the Galaxy Note Edge, which allows you to flip through pages with different functions. The Revolving UX was inspired by revolving doors. For example, people exit and enter the door as it rotates, just like how different content shows when users flip through the Edge Screen. It is an efficient and intuitive UX that allows the Edge Screen to be an extension of the main screen in terms of real estate and usability.

How is the UX of the new S Pen different than its predecessors?

If you try out the S Pen of the Galaxy Note 4, you will definitely notice the difference. It will feel much smoother and more natural, just like handwriting. That is what exactly the designers focused on: the feeling. This is why the new S Pen has new features such as the "calligraphy pen." It is said that the designers tried using numbers of materials for the tip of the S Pen for the right feeling.

On top of that, technically, the sensitivity has been doubled and it even recognizes how much the pen is tilted so that users can control the thickness of the writings.

The new S Pen for the Galaxy Note 4 also lets you select multiple items at once by dragging, which allows users to use the S Pen like a mouse.

What about the design of the S Pen itself?

The focus of the design of the S Pen was the "grip". To give a better sense of grip, the designers wanted the S Pen to be a bit bigger than how it actually came out to be. However, since the Galaxy Note 4 is so thin, the designers had to find another way to give users the right sense of grip.

If you take a look at the S Pen closely, there is a little pattern. This pattern along the S Pen allows it to be less slippery and increase usability.

What?s up with the Montblanc collaboration?

Samsung had a collaboration with Montblanc on Galaxy Note 4. Well, Montblanc is known for its exceptional tradition in writing instruments. The designers wanted to create synergy by bringing this heritage into perspective (with arguably the best digital pen around ? S Pen).

Another thing the designers paid attention to with the Montblanc collaboration was the wallpaper and unlock effects. Adding an ink visual to the unlock effect and wallpaper helped make the products feel naturally connected.

source: Samsung

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About the author

Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Managing Editor at MobileBurn.com and is the person you need to speak to about the content on the site. Luke studied creative writing at degree level before carving out a reputation as a freelance tech writer. He settled here at MobileBurn, where he reviews devices and contributes to the news, as well as overseeing the site's content and direction.

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