New trend or false start?
2017 has come to an end, but since March one thought has been spinning in my head. Nobody has paid attention to her yet, not good. It's about the myth of 'frameless' phones. They don't exist yet, despite the words of industry representatives.
It all started with the release of the LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8. Suddenly everyone started talking about frameless smartphones as if they were glass bars. But in the case of these smartphones, and with many subsequent models, this was not the case. All these devices have frames. Minimal, but there is. The G6 and S8 pioneered the 18: 9 aspect ratio. These two features have become interrelated, but are not synonymous. The new aspect ratio has its advantages: a narrower screen and the ability to more easily operate the device with one hand without having to reduce the screen real estate. The reduced frames coincided with the transition to 18: 9, but one does not at all imply the presence of the other.
Julian Chokkattu / Digital Trends
Lack of clear definition
Frames are often found at the top and bottom of devices. They are definitely smaller than in previous generations of devices, but they have not completely disappeared. Even the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 has a rather large 'chin'. The situation is similar with the Essential Phone. The 'chin' is slightly off-putting, to be honest.
I don't want to point a finger at anyone. Just wondering if it’s time to actually define what we call 'frameless'. Every phone has a frame. The Essential Phone has a display-to-body ratio of 84.9%. Less than I expected, but if you look at the list of phones with minimal bezels, the numbers are similar.
• Essential phone – 84.9%
• Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus – 84%
• Samsung Galaxy S8 – 83.6%
• Samsung Galaxy Note 8 – 83.2%
• iPhone X – 82.9%
• LG V30 – 81.2%
• Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 – 80.8%
The list goes on, but all devices have frames. A little less than 1/5 of the device is occupied by a frame. This is not so much, but it cannot be called frameless either.
Where is the border?
What about cutouts and 'monobrows'? Could Essential Phone and iPhone X be bezel-less if they use this trick? It's not an accusation, but a smartphone that claims to be bezel-less shouldn't disappoint with such moves. But even with cutouts and chins, these smartphones failed to overcome the 90% milestone. According to rumors, the Samsung Galaxy S9 will do it.
If history (read 2017) has taught us anything, it's that the framework will continue to shrink. Earlier this year LG impressed us with a 78.6% case-to-screen ratio. After a little over 9 months, we are already talking about 90%. Are we using the term too broadly, especially when compared to what may await us in the next two or three years? Does it not mean the need to completely abandon the framework? This is a fair question. Can we only call a phone 'bezel-less' when it really has no bezels? A smart choice. The working definition is likely to evolve over time.
By Adam Dowd
Not to say that I am delighted with the trends described in the material, the past experience and impressions from a fleeting acquaintance with devices with minimal frames and 18: 9 are reflected. But, apparently, the industry is confidently moving in this direction and at a certain stage it will have to join this trend. Who knows, maybe you can actually get used to the onscreen navigation keys? In the case of Honor 8 Pro it almost worked out.
How do you feel about this trend? Can we consider the existing devices frameless in the full sense of the word?