The controversial display notch is set to become mainstream this year. The Essential Phone was the first to pack in a small display notch (cutout), but Apple popularized it with a much bigger notch in the iPhone X. 2017 heralded the advent of taller 18:9 displays, and this year, device makers are interested in increasing the screen-to-body ratios of their phones even more.
Screen-to-body ratios of flagship smartphones reached more than 80 percent in 2017. This year, device makers are using the display cutout (that is now officially supported in Android P) to get screen-to-body ratios of around 90 percent. Device vendors can choose from either having symmetrical bezels at the top and bottom (such as on the Samsung Galaxy S9), or have a notch at the top of the display with a bottom chin. It seems that the bottom chin will continue to exist on new Android phones for the near future.
Other solutions include asymmetrical bezels and the front camera being placed on the bottom, as seen on the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 and the Mi Mix 2S. Vivo is developing something different by choosing to have an elevating front camera in the upcoming Vivo Apex.
This year, we have already seen the ASUS ZenFone 5 and ZenFone 5Z, new Oppo and Vivo phones, and the Huawei P20/P20 Pro/P20 Lite adopt the display notch. The upcoming OnePlus 6 is now confirmed to have a notch, and it is very likely that the Xiaomi Mi 7 and the LG G7 will opt for it as well. OnePlus has explained their rationale for adopting the notch in their upcoming flagship, as the company states that having a notch increases display screen real estate.
The case of the Huawei P20 series is different. We have known for a long time that the phones will have the notch, but the surprising thing turned out to be the fact that Huawei allows users to hide it. Users of the devices can enable the “hide notch” option, which will introduce a black background for the notch’s “ears”. This can also improve the media playback experience as the video content will no longer get cut off in the video crop mode.
OnePlus has also stated that the OnePlus 6’s notch will not interfere with video playback. When a video is being played, the notch will be hidden with a black bar, which ensures that video content will not get cut off by the notch.
Do you think the “hide notch” option in the Huawei P20 will improve its user experience? Also, would you prefer having an option to disable the notch in new and upcoming phones that have the notch? To how much extent will the option affect your purchase decision? Ultimately, would you buy a phone with a notch if you could hide it? Let us know in the comments below.
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