The race to the bottom with respect to bezel size, started by LG’s G3 in May of last year and propelled by the release of the bezel-less Sharp Aquos Crystal in August, has become a fierce battleground for smartphone manufacturers in 2015. Samsung has opted to completely curve the display around the sides of their smartphone with the Galaxy S6 Edge, thus eliminating side bezels altogether. Other manufacturers such as Oppo and ZTE have opted for 2.5D glass, which has moderate curves along its edges, giving it the appearance of having zero bezels on its sides. LeTV recently joined the camp of manufacturers touting bezel-less displays during the announcement of its latest smartphone lineup, which has garnered some attention from Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun.
The Chinese streaming service turned smartphone manufacturer LeTV unveiled its latest “super phones”, as the company calls them, on April 13th at an event in China. During the event LeTV claimed its latest line of devices the LeTV One, LeTV One Pro, and LeTV Max (in particular) are the world’s first bezel-less smartphones. Although the Sharp panels utilized by LeTV sport “suspension glass”, which was introduced on the bezel-less Sharp Aquos Crystal in 2014, they are not exactly entirely free from bezels. Xiaomi CEO, Lei Jun, recently pointed out that incredibly thin black borders do not equal “bezel-less” as LeTV has claimed, and by this logic the Xiaomi Mi Note could also be considered bezel-less.
LeTV’s COO, Liang Jun, was quick to respond to Lei Jun’s criticism in a post on the popular Chinese social media platform Weibo. The post compares the LeTV Max and Mi Note side by side, complete with measurements of each phones bezel (see below). Based on the Mr. Liang’s measurements the LeTV Max has side bezels that are 1.6mm thick, while the Mi Note’s bezels are nearly twice the size at 3.1mm; although not exactly bezel-less the LeTV max certainly has an impressive screen to body ratio. In addition to quashing Lei Jun’s criticism Mr. Liang also stated that if anyone can find a QHD equipped smartphone with bezels narrower than 1.6mm LeTV will award the individual $1 million.
Regardless whether or not LeTV’s claims are true, executives busting out their rulers and touting the thinness of their bezels seems like it will be a common occurrence in 2015. Despite its recent popularity the development of bezel-less smartphones may not tangibly improve the user experience in a way that say, improving battery life would, which makes it tough to determine whether it deserves the attention it is receiving. That being said they certainly look beautiful and the advances in display technology resulting from this competition is nothing short of marvelous.