Over the past few years phone with slim bezels have become all the rage. But the latest solution for slimming the top bezel has been causing a lot of rage: some folks see notches as an ingenious way to give you more screen space by moving the notifications up. Others see it as an intrusion that makes photos and videos look awful.

Either way, it looks like the notch is here to stay… at least for the current smartphone cycle. Around a dozen notchphones were unveiled at Mobile World Congress this year, and more are coming all the time.

While OnePlus hasn’t officially unveiled its next smartphone yet, the company is preemptively defending one design decision: the OnePlus 6 will indeed have a notch.

OnePlus 6 (credit: The Verge/OnePlus)

Speaking with The Verge’s Vlad Savov, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei pointed out that the company’s notch is big enough to house a camera, earpiece, and proximity sensor, unlike some phones with smaller notches. But unlike Apple’s iconic iPhone X, there’s no need for special face scanning technology, so the OnePlus 6 (if that’s what it actually ends up being called) will have a smaller display cut-out than Apple’s flagship.

But talking about which company has the biggest notch is kind of beside the point, because Pei’s primary defense of the design element is that a notch gives you more screen space, not less. Phones with notches generally have slimmer bezels than those without them, allowing for a higher screen-to-body ratio.

The first OnePlus phone with a notch is expected to have a 90 percent screen-to-body ratio. Pei notes that you can’t easily get rid of the bottom bezel, because there are electronic components where the display connects to the logic board. Apple ditched the bottom bezel by using a flexible display that wraps around and puts those connectors on the back, but that’s a complicated, expensive solution that results in a thicker phone.

Anyway… I totally see Pei’s point. And I also totally think notches look funny.

The thing is that if notches only move the notifications a bit further up the screen, there’s not much problem. But if they intrude on full-screen apps including games, video players, and photo viewers, then they may provide more screen space… but they also seem to take a bit out of that screen space in a visually distracting way.

So OnePlus plans to do something Apple hasn’t done with the iPhone X: when you’re looking at photos or watching videos, the OnePlus 6 will put black bars around the notch so that your images and movies don’t look like they’re missing a piece.

OnePlus 6 (leaked by @evleaks)

OnePlus isn’t the only company developing this sort of software-based solution. In fact, Google’s building better support for notchphones directly into the next version of Android, currently code-named Android P.

Huawei’s new P20 and P20 Pro smartphones also effectively let users decide whether they want to see the notch or obscure it with black bars that create a virtual bezel. And the upcoming LG G7 is expected to have a similar camouflage-the-notch option.

So maybe display cut-outs really are the future… and maybe the future’s not so bad after all.

But it’ll certainly take some getting used to.

Support Liliputing

Liliputing's primary sources of revenue are advertising and affiliate links (if you click the "Shop" button at the top of the page and buy something on Amazon, for example, we'll get a small commission).

But there are several ways you can support the site directly even if you're using an ad blocker* and hate online shopping.

Contribute to our Patreon campaign

or...

Contribute via PayPal

* If you are using an ad blocker like uBlock Origin and seeing a pop-up message at the bottom of the screen, we have a guide that may help you disable it.

13 replies on “OnePlus defends the notch (and will have one in its next phone)”

  1. With respect, I’m not sure some of what you’ve said here applies to how everyone (aside from Apple) is implementing the notch. The goofy cutouts in video, games and apps I believe is exclusive to some company’s and their poor design choices. I believe the aspect ratio of the Zenfone series allows them to have content unaffected in any way by the notch. I could be wrong but at the same time, at the very least one could say that Apple has created a lot of negativity because of their implementation and design choices. Because of how they did it, everyone thinks notches behave the same, which they don’t. I think we should start suggesting Apple did a shitty job with it and not paint everyone with the same brush.

  2. These people want to enlarge the screen but they’ve all been cowards with cowardly solutions selling their wares to people who don’t care one way or the other. The amount of self-importance from these companies is too d*mn high.

    They’re bending over themselves by reducing the bezels, adding eye sores like the notch, pumping out new phones with 18:9 aspect ratios in some lame attempt at optical illusion (larger phone but it still feels small). The disconnect between what consumers demand/want and what these phone trolls produce is a chasm as large as the Grand Canyon.

    1. partially agree with you.
      It seems that to lead in technology means to prescribe what the mass will follow. I’m waiting for some day when we see a new brand to hit the sales by just simply returning to the basics of an organization: hear the consumer, follow the consumers needs+desires, then we will see a new phone with the innovation of a replaceable battery, long lasting battery, FM radio, audio quality, headphone jack, infrared port and privacy based software.
      That doesn’t mean that new iterations are not bringing good stuff, -I like the notch because i want smaller frames so i can handle a bigger screen in less space, and the solution to add a bar when needed is just simple.

  3. At least they kept the headphone jack. I could live with the notch but removing the headphone jack is absolutely unacceptable for me.

    1. I dont see why they included the headphone jack again. The previous models were all noisy, OnePlus isn’t making any efforts for audio quality. Since Bluetooth 5 I can live without the jack now.

      1. Obviously absolutely every other customer thinks the exact same way and has the exact same use cases as you. So of course, it follows that no one ever uses the headphone jack on that phone and it’s completely ridiculous to include one.

Comments are closed.