THE WAR ON SMARTPHONE BEZELS
Screens might be the only thing left on the front of smartphones soon.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen smartphone bezels get thinner and thinner, until this year when they’ve started to disappear almost all together.
Ever since the launch of last year’s Xiaomi Mi Mix, almost all major smartphone manufacturers have attempted to increase the phone’s screen to body ratio and reduce the bezels. LG was the first major brand to do so, with the launch of its flagship phone for the first half of 2017, the LG G6. Samsung closely followed suit with the launch of the S8 and the S8+.
The phones introduced new aspect ratios of 18:9 (18.5:9 in Samsung), making the displays taller and increasing the screen to body ratio while keeping the size of the phone similar to the phones of last year. The G6 and the S8 have a screen to body ratio of 78.6% and 83.6% respectively, compared to the sub-70% screen to body ratios of 2016, but the new smartphones are very similarly in size to the phones of last year.The S8 has a 5.8-inch screen compared to the 5.5-inch screen of the iPhone 7 Plus, but is actually smaller in size than the latter.
The idea of a smartphone having nothing but the screen on the front is certainly pleasing, but a smartphone has to house some of its hardware on the front too. Samsung and LG reduced the bezels but didn’t completely remove them, placing the front cameras and other sensors on the tiny bezels. The Essential Phone released later in the year decided to further remove the bezels, and had a cut out for the camera in the top center of the screen. Xiaomi decided to move its front camera to the bottom right of the screen, leaving the phone with virtually no top bezel and just a chin.
The newly announced iPhone X also arrives with no bezels, and a cutout for all the sensors at the top of the display. Even Google has followed suit, with the new Pixel 2 XL coming with very small top and side bezels holding the front firing speakers, cameras and sensors, and an aspect ratio of 18:9.
This new trend of whole screen smartphones is here to stay, and the bezels are not part of it.