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CNET First Look
Curved Samsung Galaxy Round surprisingly comfyThe arched Galaxy Round is Samsung's most comfortable phone to hold and carry to date, and top-tier specs make it extremely competitive...for Korea.
At long last, one of Samsung's curved AMOLED smartphone displays has made it into a finished product, and lo, it is named the Samsung Galaxy Round. I'm Jessica Dolcourt for CNET, and I'm gonna tell you why the Round is more than just a gimmick. Let's start with the phone's shape. There's a pretty subtle curve from edge to edge which does indeed make it conform well when you hold it up to your cheek, and stuff it into a pocket; but its thicker spines and subtle inward angles also make it a lot more comfortable to hold for longer periods of time than, say, a straight-edge phone like the Galaxy Note 3. This comes in handy if you're reading, or playing games, or watching a movie. I can definitely hold it one-handed in both landscape and portrait mode without fumbling the phone. You may ask if the curved surface affects visibility and typing. I found that it did distort reflections, but in a positive way making them less distracting. My typing, however, was very slightly off since the screen looks flat, but it actually isn't. However, it's a pretty minor adjustment, and one that I got used to relatively quickly. Now the Round isn't without some gimmicks. If you enable motion-control settings, you can tap the side of the phone to skip around musical tracks, but it only works for tunes I had on my phone, not for any streaming songs. Also, you can press and hold down the side of the phone for several seconds to see details like time and battery levels. Or you can just go to the lock screen the usual way, and find out the same details faster without chasing your phone around on a flat surface. Beyond the bent HG screen, Samsung did well to keep the Round high-end. It has almost the same specs as the Galaxy Note 3: Android 4.3 with Samsung's TouchWiz interface on top, a 2.3 gHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, and a 13-megapixel camera. There's no stylus of course, but that's an optional feature anyhow. The Round's biggest problem, in my opinion, is that it's limited to South Korean carriers for now. However, for about $1,300, you can get it from US distributor Negri Electronics. With the LG's rival G Flex coming into AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile, you'd better believe that Samsung will have an arched phone for the US market soon. I'm Jessica Dolcourt for CNET. Be sure to check out my deep dive with the Samsung Galaxy Round at CNET.com