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Samsung's phone design experiments

In a world of cell phone sameness, it's hard to stand out. Yet Samsung, above all other phone-makers, seems to take special pride and joy in doing different, even if it's only to do different.

Editors' note: This story originally published on October 14, 2013, and was last updated on September 18, 2014.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

Take the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge. A bend in the right side of the screen shows off a neat waterfall effect, one that might actually have some practical use. This rounded rim will highlight shortcuts, widgets, and menu options for a whole heap of apps, and it contextually changes depending on what you're doing.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

By the fourth time around, the Samsung Galaxy Note series isn't so large or out of place. In fact, it's helped popularize a whole new category of phone. Not so in its early days, when the then-monstrous 5.3-inch behemoth with a throwback stylus didn't know if it wanted to be a phone or a tablet or a digital-art pad. It didn't help that the old-school stylus had problems with sensitivity and accuracy.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom

Remember the half-camera, half-phone that was the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom? It's baaaack. Sort of. 2014's Samsung Galaxy K Zoom is a less bulbous sharp-shooter than last year's attempt, but the smartphone-camera hybrid is still awkward and has limited appeal, despite the promise of an optical zoom lens.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Samsung Galaxy Round

The Samsung Galaxy Round may have been the first smartphone to feature an arched display beneath its surface, but it wasn't as well distributed as its chief rival, the LG G Flex, which bends in the opposite direction, from top to toe, rather than from side to side like the Round. And while you can't rock it to sleep, you can rock it awake.


Samsung Galaxy Beam 2

The niche Samsung Galaxy Beam 2 inserts a projector into the top of the phone, so you can beam videos, photos, and presentations onto a wall, wherever you are.


Samsung Galaxy Beam

The Beam 2 is the slimmer, sleeker sequel to the Samsung Galaxy Beam, which, when it debuted in summer 2012, was a brighter, boxier midrange Android with a yield-sign-yellow, sporty-chic finish.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Hennessy

I still haven't had a chance to go hands-on with the Samsung Hennessy, but believe me, I really, really want to. This crazy dual-screen handset for China puts Android on both sides of a retro clamshell design.


Samsung Galaxy Golden

South Koreans wanting Android inside and out will get the Samsung Galaxy Golden, which one-ups the Hennessy when it comes to both the size of its two Android screens and its internal specs.


Samsung Galaxy S Lightray 4G

What's that thing, right there, sticking up from that phone? Oh, yes, ladies and gents, it's exactly what you think. The antenna made a grandiose return in August 2012's Samsung Galaxy S Lightray 4G for MetroPCS. The pluses? The Lightray offered streaming digital TV and 4G. Unfortunately, the big, clunky, outdated phone only served up four channels.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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