Back in 2007, Apple launched its first flagship smartphone, called the iPhone and it was subject to world-wide acclaim which has led them to become a TRILLION DOLLAR company as of today. The iPhone came with a “whopping” 3.5 inch display.
Fast forward 10 years later, and Apple launches the iPhone 7 Plus, with a larger 5.5 inch but is a large screen enough? With a disappointing 67.1% screen-to-body ratio the design of the iPhone 7 Plus is no different than the very first flagship announced by Apple.
It is very frustrating as a tech enthusiast to be presented with the same design – a block of plastic or glass with a screen in the middle with fat bezels around it – year in, year out. Fortunately over the course of the last two years, smartphone companies have heard us out and are coming up with fascinating and unique technologies and ideas to revolutionize the design concept of our daily drivers.
The bottom and side bezels weren’t difficult to reduce, only to have sacrificed mechanical buttons in the process. The real challenge for a unique all screen design was the bezel at the top which houses the phone’s front facing camera, speakers and different sensors such as proximity sensors. So developers had to think outside the box to come up with ways of achieving this feat without the need to sacrifice the essentials and so far have produced promising results which follows.
The notch was one of the very first indications from the smartphone companies that they listened to us and tried to redesign the concept of a smartphone. The notch displays have a small cut-out at the top of the screen to house the front camera, speakers and various sensors. This allows the smartphone displays to extract more screen real estate.
The Essential Phone was the first phone to be released in this form, back in 2017, followed by none other than the iPhone X, and we have come to a period of time in which this design is considered as the norm by all the flagships.
The notch display has many variants, each trying to maximize the screen to body ratio.
The Hole-Punch display
Developed only recently by Samsung, the hole punch display is one of the prime features on the new Samsung Galaxy S10, released in 2019. It gets the name from looking like a small hole “punched” in the corner of the screen, just like a mechanical hole the punch machine makes on a sheet of paper. The camera module sits here, so the screen edges are untouched by a notch, while the other sensors are neatly tucked under the display. Consequently, the Galaxy S10 provides us with an impressive 88.3% screen-to-body ratio.
This sort of display essentially redefines the mobile design space and with the small camera barely noticeable up top, it makes the look much less intrusive and introduces freshness to how we perceive smartphones.
The slider “notch” can be a mechanical or motorized function. This means some phones slide the front-facing camera out, while some will use a motor that will slide the hidden “notch” out once triggered. It is a brilliant piece of technology to pull off, and the initial results seem very promising. It completely hides the camera and provides a full view of the display- no cutouts, no obstructions. The only draw backs presented are the moving parts of the phone, which may affect the durability of the phone, but that’s the trade-off for a beautiful all screen display.
The fact that developers have shaped technology to create such elaborate and intricate methods to maximize screen real estate truly signifies how they have listened to the tech community and are really pushing the limits to bring forth exciting and eye-catching designs that we all desire.
What will manufactures come up with in the future, we don’t know, but we do know that we are headed in the right direction. Be it the stylish notch, the quirky hole punch, or the futuristic slider, which style catches your eye the most and which device do you see yourself using as a daily driver?