Dec 11th, 2018

As an HTC user, one thing I’ve never had to worry about are notches. But now with the “hole punch” being the next screen/camera craze seemingly about to storm the smartphone market, I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that my next smartphone might include an ugly black spot on the screen.

But why are we being forced to sacrifice screen real estate for notches or the aptly-named hole-punch camera cutout? Is this simply a design trend that will fade away as quickly as it showed up or are the notch and punch-hole here to stay?

I mean there are even seriously viable alternatives emerging such as the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 with their sliding phone throwback and the pop-up cameras of the Oppo Find X to name but two both adding functionality while maintaining full-screen real estate. Personally pop-up and sliding cameras aren’t for me, I’m not sure I like the added possibility of mechanical failure. But at least they are trying, right?

Notches flew on to our screens in August of 2017 with the introduction of Sharp’s Aquos S2 overshadowed swiftly by the Essential PH1, then followed by countless other manufacturers. Fast forward just over a year and we see the internet recoiling in horror when the sheer size of the Pixel 3’s notch was revealed. I can’t help wonder if this has sparked some kind of retreat? Boardroom meeting across the globe discussing how they’d break up our full-screen experience over the next 18 months of smartphone releases. “I know let’s just punch a hole out the screen” – Le sigh. Let’s not even mention LG’s patent for an oval cutout.

This still leaves me asking the question though: why? Notches are ugly. Dead space is ugly. Are my dreams of true edge-to-edge screens really that crazy? Any way you cut it, the notch and the punch-hole aren’t really a step forward in my book.

It can certainly be argued that the hole is aesthetically not that bad — but as consumers, we’re constantly being asked to compromise screen space for dead space. I’d rather have a modest bezel that houses the cameras, speakers and fingerprint sensors (That’s right I think rear fingerprint sensors are useless too) rather than see my handsets getting more and more erm edge to edge “glassy”?

Yesterday’s unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy A8s and Honor View 20 were just the beginning. Lenovo’s Z5S has already received certification by the TENAA in China and then there’s the upcoming Huawei Nova 4 is expected to be the first Huawei-branded phone to feature the hole-punch camera and is likely to be introduced on 17th December 2018.

Needless to say, I like display notches and holes as much as I’d like to see a cluster of dead pixels.

I’m merely opening up a conversation here, manufacturers are producing the units, consumers are buying them. However, I see opinions to the contrary all across social media. Do people really like notches and cutouts are much as we a led to believe? All i know is the punch-hole is just as bad as the notch and I’m almost dreading what might be coming next unless of course, it’s a return to nice sturdy bezels and aluminum bodies.

 

 

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