Gone are the days when phones were distinguishable when their screens are off. Before the iPhone came out, phones came in many shapes, sizes, and styles. These days, one can hardly tell one phone from the other when put together, especially Android phones with their screens on. They’re now mostly black, white, 50 shades of gray and silver, thin slabs of composite metal or plastic with a screen.
Apple, with their rather interesting design philosophy (it’s the best we can do, let’s just tell them it’s the next big thing) introduced the screen notch into the iPhone X. It’s the next best thing to having a completely bezel-less phone as the front camera has to go somewhere because we can no longer do away with selfies and video calls.
If anyone calls your iPhone X notch a stupid idea, beg to disagree since almost everyone’s eventually going to do it. The particular distinctions the iPhone used to have will be gone. Several phones have already done away with the headphone jack such as the Sony Xperia XZ2. Now several other phones will have a notch on top that at least displays phone status, clock, and battery life. The notch on the iPhone X does seem awkward at the start but can easily be dismissed with a little time. I’ve toyed around with my friend’s iPhone X and a colleague’s Samsung Galaxy S8. The notch on the iPhone didn’t bother me much but what bothered me more about both phones is them not having the Home button. That little tidbit has not escaped other phone manufacturers who already shed the Home button a while back. The notch is okay. It’s copy time.
At the latest Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, several phones have already appeared with screen notches of their own. The iPhone X was announced just September last year and released on November. It’s baffling how quickly competitors have already adapted to this technological workaround. Then again, everyone may have already toyed with the idea as there is currently no way to do away with the front camera in favor of having a bezel-less screen, the ultimate distinguishing feature. It was Apple who opened the floodgates with their ‘courage’ as they desperately needed a distinguishing feature to make a major upgrade. At least Apple tried to make their notch worthwhile by cramming a camera and an array of sensors in their notch to support Face ID.
The following phones are guilty of having notches of their own.
- The Ulefone T2 Pro – Apple’s purpose to the notch is to have a full-screen phone as much as possible. Except for the notch, the whole front should be a screen. The T2 Pro Android phone has a notch but still retains a small bezel at the bottom. It’s a totally weird decision not to move all the screen down and not have a notch, unless it’s a conscious move to copy Apple.
- The ASUS Zenfone 5 – has been branded as the king of iPhone X knockoffs by Techcrunch. If you want to fool anyone that you have an expensive iPhone X, pick up the 499$ ASUS Zenfone 5. The giveaway would be, is that it has a headphone jack. But for yours truly, the ASUS brand has proven itself in quality despite being inexpensive.
- The LG G7 – the upcoming LG flagship phone will also have a notch according to leaked images. The notch is noticeably smaller since Android phones cram a lot of status updates at the top of the screen, especially annoying OS and app updates.
- Huawei P20 – also features a smaller notch but like the Ulefone T2 Pro also has a substantial bottom bezel. The notch may be okay on the iPhone X but there’s that tiny itch that doesn’t really go away, so why put one on a phone that still has a bottom bezel?
- OnePlus 6 – and finally, there’s the OnePkus 6 that has not one, but two notches according to some leaked images. At least they believe in balance. The notches are wide but impressively thin.
The notch is really a small thing. What’s important is what the manufacturer does with that small space to make it worth having. Otherwise, why bother if only to add more monotone to the already monotonous smartphone form factor? Now if one just can’t do away with the front camera and the sensors, the only other option to having a totally full-screen phone would be a mechanical element that launches that array to come up from the top of the phone, much like a car’s flipping headlights. Anyone up for that?