Samsung Galaxy Round: Smartphone With A Curve

Oct 09, 2013 (08:10 AM EDT)

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Samsung's New Gadgets: Visual Tour
Samsung's New Gadgets: Visual Tour
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As promised, Samsung announced one of the world's first smartphones with a curved screen: the Galaxy Round. Imagine the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and add a slightly rounded shape, and you'll have a good idea of what the Galaxy Round looks like.

The Galaxy Round features a 5.7-inch full HD AMOLED display made from flexible materials that have been formed into a curved shape. The screen is curved along the vertical axis. According to Samsung, the screen's shape allows it to curve the shape of the entire device, which offers a comfortable hand grip feeling to the user.

Aside from the shape, the Galaxy Round is nearly identical to the Galaxy Note 3, which the company revealed just last month.

The Round features a quad-core 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of built-in storage. It supports microSD cards up to 64 GB. It supports most GSM/HSPA+ networks and select LTE 4G networks. Other connectivity options include dual-band Wi-Fi, GPS/GLONASS, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy and USB 3.0.

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The Round has a 13-megapixel main camera with Samsung's customized camera apps, such as Story Album, Drama Shot, Sound & Shot, Animated Photo, HDR, Panorama, Golf (huh?) and others. The phone has a 2-megapixel user-facing camera as well. The Round is capable of shooting 1080p HD video.

Android 4.3 is the Round's underlying operating system, but it includes Samsung's TouchWiz enhancements. It includes features such as split-screen multitasking, Air Gesture and Air View, and Smart Scroll and Smart Pause. Enterprise customers will be happy to learn that includes Samsung's Safety Assistance and KNOX services.

If the idea of a curved smartphone appeals to you, don't run to the store just yet. At the moment, SK Telecom in Korea is the sole company offering the Galaxy Round. Further, it costs a whopping $1,000. Samsung hasn't said if or when the Galaxy Round might be offered in markets other than Korea.

After looking at pictures of the device, it's hard to see what's so special about a phone with a curved screen. Honestly, it looks like someone took the Note 3 and ran over it with a rolling pin. Samsung says the Round is thinner and lighter than the Note 3. The Note 3 is 8.4mm thick and weighs 5.93 ounces, while the Galaxy Round is 7.9mm thick and weighs 5.43 ounces. Are these differences enough to set it apart? Barely. LG is prepared to announce its own curved-screen smartphone next month. Here's hoping that LG does something a little bit more interesting.