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Android Headliner: Are Thinner Bezels Really All That?

May 11, 2015 - Written By Kristijan Lucic

A lot of manufacturers these days are trimming bezels on their smartphone offerings, mostly side bezels. Many smartphones released in the last year or so featured very thin side bezels, and manufacturers like Sharp took it even further. The Sharp Aquos Crystal is a very interesting device which sports a rather big ‘chin’ below the display, but has no bezel on the side or on the top of the device (if you don’t count the frame, of course). Other OEMs, like Letv for example, released a smartphone which sports no visible bezel until you turn the screen on and see rather thick black bars on the sides… and then there’s ZTE. This China-based company has announced their Nubia Z9 flagship a couple of days ago, a device which similar to Aquos Crystal, sports no bezel on the sides. The Nubia Z9 is a rather regular looking device though and its camera and sensors are located above the display, not below it, as it’s the case with the Aquos Crystal. Unlike many other devices which claim to be bezel-less, the Nubia Z9 doesn’t have any black bars on the sides, only the metallic frame.

Recent analyst reports have stated that we can expect more ‘bezel-less’ devices by the end of the year, which actually makes sense considering the smartphone displays are getting bigger and bigger, manufacturers need to find a way to make the devices at least somewhat compact. Trimming down bezels seems like a normal and logical step, but is it? Yes, you do get a smaller devices overall and it probably looks better than it would with some bezel on the side, but how useful it is to have small bezels? On one hand, it does make the device more compact, which is a plus, but there are trade-offs to be considered here. Let me give you an example, I personally am using the LG G3 as my daily driver, a very slim device which has thin side bezels. Sounds good, so what’s the problem? Well, while using the device, I often press the lower right portion of the screen by mistake. So I have to wonder what would happen if the device had even slimmer side bezels.

So, the question is, do we really need bezel-less devices? There’s no direct answer to that question, but we’ll find out in the coming months when / if the majority of smartphone OEMs come to that point, at least as far as side bezels go. There are solutions to avoid the accidental palm presses, of course. Manufacturers could implement some sort of a software solution in there for the phone to avoid touches in certain scenarios and what not, we’ve seen it done before. Another possible solution might be in making the frame of the device stick out a little bit above the display, though that might annoy a lot of people because their fingers won’t slide off the edge(s), and it would be just weird to use. All in all, a software solution to this ‘problem’ seems like the best solution.

That being said, do you have any such issues with any of your devices? Not that this is a big issue in my case or anything, but it does happen from time to time, and it does make we wonder what comes next. The level of annoyance also depends from person to person, of course. One thing is for sure, bezels on smartphones will become even thinner than they are right now. Let us know what you think in the comments, do you want even thinner bezels on smartphones, or are you happy with the things the way they are right now?