I Miss Smartphone Bezels Already

The iPhone X came out this week. Google Pixel 2 XL a few weeks ago. Both phones promised to bring us closer to a world without glasses. I already want them.

For those who do not meticulously follow new inept techniques, a quick definition: "bezels" refers to the space between the edge of your phone's screen and the edge of the phone. device itself. All phones have at least a bit of a telescope, but in recent years technical critics and phone manufacturers began a push to minimize them . The idea was to take as much as possible from the front of your phone with the screen.

Left: iPhone X with almost nonexistent glasses. Right: The iPhone 8 with reasonable borders at the top and bottom.

This race to get rid of the glasses started in large part because the phone makers were bored . The phones were great, but there was not much to improve except a miracle in battery technology. Yet with every manufacturer pursuing smaller glasses and every criticism demanding them, there must be a good reason for that, is not it?

Large screens and tiny little ones make an ergonomic nightmare

If there is an advantage for the tiny glasses, I do not see it. A telephone (for the most part) without a telescope catches the eye and this can make it a status symbol but from a practical point of view, they are almost useless. Even worse, small glasses (or not) make the use of the phone more difficult. For starters, the range of motion of your thumb is limited. Most of the time, this is not a problem – although the problem worsens as the phones get bigger – but on a frameless phone, the screen starts to expand beyond where your thumbs can reach comfortably.

To show it in the picture below, I've superimposed an approximate green circle where my thumb can reach while holding the 5 "pixel 2. This is my range of motion while holding it in the basic position where my index finger is on the power button.

Even with the smallest camera, my thumb can only reach so far. I can hit most things in the middle of the screen, and I can press home and back buttons with a little stretch (though the back button is painful). Yet it is feasible. The lower bezel is firmly in the fall area where it is easier to type without readjusting.

Now here is the same picture on the 6 "Pixel 2 XL.

Damn, the whole navigation bar is outside this range. No wonder he feels so much more boring to use, and that is without the addition of a case. Holding it in one hand, I should adjust the way I hold it whenever I want to press Home or Back, then adjust again to slide to the notification shade or press a button on the top. Part of this is due to the fact that it's a bigger phone, but it's also very clear that a telescope comparable to that on the Pixel 2 would push this bar of navigation at least within reach of my thumb. The fact that many applications place important navigation buttons at the top or bottom of the screen only exacerbates this problem.

The inability to reach the main elements of the interface without using two hands is a compromise that we should not have to do.

The iPhone X is even more frustrating to deal with than the Pixel 2 XL in this regard. It has no home button, opting instead for a swipe gesture. This means that to access the home screen from anywhere, you have to reach that tiny ribbon from the bottom of the screen and then slide it up, while taking care not to hold it by the bottom of the phone. This last point should be particularly tedious for iPhone owners who have got used to holding the iPhone or putting their thumbs on the Home button since the very first iPhone. This is not an insurmountable burden to settle, but it is not the first time that Apple users feel the sting of by mistaking .

Without glasses, you constantly fight to rock your phone just

The usability problems of the lack of glasses do not stop there. An upper and lower bezel gives you a place to rest a finger or hold a phone outside the edges. When phone manufacturers push the screen area up to the bleeding edge, they often associate it with a technique called "palm rejection" that cleverly ignores the accidental touches of, say, that little fleshy part at the base of your thumb.

Try to reach your thumb on a big screen without letting that part of your palm touch the screen. It's hard, right? The rejection of palm trees ignores this and, instead, takes only the fingertips as commands.

Holding a phone with a tiny bezel becomes an uncomfortable balance game.

When trying to hold your phone down, however, this technique does not work as well. What's the difference between accidentally tapping the phone with the tip of your thumb and doing it intentionally? I can hardly say it at times, and apparently it's even harder for the software to make a difference.

Often, when I was using the Pixel 2 XL, I accidentally tapped the Home button or accidentally activated the Google Assistant, which is associated with the same button, simply by pressing my thumb on the tiny butt of bezel that stays.

These problems seem minor and nitpicky, but they are everyday. You could watch a video where you want some extra real estate screen a few times a week, but you will try pressing the home button dozens of times a day. Your shades of notification and settings are also at the top of the phone, which feels more and more far from the bottom. When most of the things you need to do with your phone begin to require gymnastics fingers, it turns into death by a thousand paper cuts.

We must sacrifice too much to live in a world without eyewear

Web sites must code around the notch because we will never have a phone really without a bezel.

Of course, everyone holds their phone differently, so what annoys me may not be a big problem for you. However, we are also making tangible sacrifices to obtain these displays without glasses.

While Apple was a little mother about their reasoning to get rid of the headphone jack, Google openly admitted that they did it for to make room for frameless screens . The 3.5mm jacks are one of the thickest components of a phone, and they extend far and wide into the phone's body. To have room for this port, you must have a good size bezel.

The headphone jacks are not the only sacrifice that a phone really without glasses would have to do. The Pixel 2 XL mercifully keeps the same double front speakers as his little cousin, but he must also keep a small telescope to make this possible. If Google pushed the display as far as Apple with the iPhone X, these speakers would necessarily go away.

How much are we willing to give up in pursuit of a full-screen phone that ultimately leaves us with no place to comfortably hold it?

The iPhone X, thankfully, has at least one speaker facing forward on the front in the notch, with another on the bottom, but some phones like Note 8 only have a speaker on the bottom which is very easy to conceal.

This existence of this notch also highlights just how impractical a completely unglazed phone is. To make a phone that is really 100% screen, you have to give up or move tons of features from your phone. In no particular order, these sensors are located inside the notch of the iPhone X.

A front camera, for your selfies.
A proximity sensor, which turns off your screen when you put the phone to your ear to make a phone call.
An ambient light sensor, which adjusts the brightness of your screen according to the brightness of your environment.
A speaker, for, you know, phone calls.

And these are just the basics. Apple also packs a point projector, a second infrared camera, and a flood illuminator to make face recognition work. Without a black box from the front of your phone, you lose access to a ton of functions that you use every day.

It is highly unlikely that we have ever seen a 100% screen-less phone without glasses, so perhaps we have reached the point where the glasses are as small as they ever will be. The apocalyptic scenario where you abandon front-facing cameras and good speakers to get 3% more screen out of your phone may never happen. However, we have already made sacrifices and what have we received in return?

I have trouble finding an answer, frankly. It does not help much when you watch videos. In the screen capture above, you can see a thick mailbox the size of a telescope in YouTube because it turns out that the videos do not change their report. appearance simply because your phone is bigger. This does not really give you more space to scroll through the content. In any case, not at all if you buy a bigger phone, if that's what you want.

Heck, it's even harder to design around these weird bezel dimensions. Apple has an entire section on its designer guidelines for to work around the "notch" problem . This is not just for people who create iOS apps. This is for anyone who is creating a mobile website. IPhone users are an important part of the Web users, and now web developers need to update their sites to make sure their content does not appear cut off and stupid on the Web. IPhone X.

If there is a practical advantage for small glasses, I just do not see it. It can be said that they make a phone more stylish (although it's simply a matter of taste), but they make it harder to use, they require useful features to sacrifice, and a totally unglazed phone n & # 39; 39 is not possible. The telescope is a useful and underrated feature that has served an important design purpose. We had our pleasure without them, but it's time to bring them home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.