The Race To Zero Bezel

In 2018, we saw the first truly ‘bezelless’ phones. We all know that smartphones of the future will be bezelless, but by what means? Let’s see.

Notch

The notch is quite a simple, cost-effective way of giving phones more screen in a smaller body. It takes advantage of the fact that, in most phones, the top centre of the screen isn’t used for anything, so it uses that space to house the cameras, and sensors. However, it is probably the most disliked method, because of the size of it, and how ugly it looks.

The notch doesn’t really bother me personally, but I understand that lost of people don’t like it, which is why I don’t think it is the future. The notch is a necessary stepping stone to getting to the eventual goal of having all the sensors and cameras under the screen. I think that flagships will get rid of the notch by 2020, at the latest, that is, if people can put up with it for that long.

“The notch is a necessary stepping stone to getting to the eventual goal of having the sensors and cameras under the display, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it.”

Hole-punch display

The hole-punch display has a small hole in it, just big enough for the cameras and any necessary sensors. The general consensus is that it looks a bit better than a notch, but still isn’t very good. It adds a sliver of extra screen real estate, but that won’t ever be used for anything, which makes it a bit pointless.

I personally think it looks cool and futuristic. I think this will be the final stage of flagship phones before putting the sensors beneath the display. In my mind, this design will continue into 2021, which is so far in the future, it is crazy to even think about.

Pop-up mechanism

We have seen only really 2 popular phones with this design; the Vivo Nex, and the Oppo Find X. The front camera is hidden behind the screen, and pops out when it needs to. This design never really caught on, mainly because it comes with a lot of negatives. No water resistance, adding a mechanism makes the phone more likely to break, and it is slow to open, meaning you can, take ultra-quick selfies, for all of you who want to do so.

I think this design looks very futuristic, but it is impractical. The lack of water resistance, the higher chance of malfunction, and the ugliness of the mechanism brings the design down. I doubt this design will ever really catch on, in fact, Vivo has ditched it with the Nex 2. I think this design was dead before it was born.

“I for one, think this design was dead before it was born.”

Slider

Possibly the best, and most popular design on this list is the slider mechanism, reminiscent of flip phones, back in the day. The rear of the phone can be physically slid upwards, revealing the front-facing camera. This makes for a very addictive motion, that is used in phones like the Honor Magic 2, or the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3. However, it too comes with its tradeoffs. The sound it makes when it slides is quite loud, and I could imagine it getting annoying after a while. Also, having a moving part makes the phone less durable, and not water resistant. However, this leaves no need for any bezel, like the pop-up design, so it can result in a completely bezel-less phone. This design has no motor involved, so it is inherently more durable than the pop-up design.

I think this design shows some real promise, at least for budget options, like those from Xiaomi, Honor, and maybe Oppo, in the future. I doubt many high-end flagships will take this design on, just because of its weaknesses in durability and water resistance. I personally really like the design, and the only part I dislike is the loudness of the click. I feel like that could be very distracting, especially if you take lots of selfies.

Dual Displays

The Vivo Nex 2, and the ZTE Nubia X are two of the most popular attempts at this design. It basically consists of having no selfie shooter, and a display on the rear of the phone, so that you can take selfies using the main cameras. This means that your selfies will have much better quality, because they are taken with the primary camera, which is almost always better quality than the selfie camera. However, this means that most cases will not work, because there is a display on the back, so it will need a cutout. Also, it will drain much more battery, especially if, like the ZTE Nubia X, the rear display is always lit up, providing decoration to the back of the phone.

I love this. This is by far my favourite of all these designs, because it allows for such creativity. Don’t like the colour of your phone? That’s fine, change it. It will make selfies much better, and higher quality. However, the battery of the phone will have to be pretty big to be able to handle both displays, sometimes even on both at once.

So, what do you think the most popular type of bezel-less phone will be in 2019? Let me know in the comments below.