Tuesday 24 April 2018
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Samsung Creates The Best Screen So Far – iPhone Killer?

An explanation of a patented smartphone screen design from Samsung that gives true ‘edge to edge’ coverage to increase usable screen size and the screen-to-body ratio.

Korean electronics giant moves the bezel-free screen game even further on

A key design feature of more recent smartphones is in covering the front of the phone with as much actual screen as possible and reducing – or even virtually eliminating – the border, or bezel, and so providing more screen ‘real estate’.

With models such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and the more recent Galaxy releases, the South Korean electronics giant has reduced the screen bezel considerably. Apple’s all-new iPhone X came close to an ‘edge to edge’ screen design compared to the large bezels that have featured in their top selling smartphone since the original appeared back in 2007.

However, a new screen design from Samsung threatens to put the maker of what many consider some of the best smartphones in the world in a class of its own if their patented screen design manages to see the light of day.

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The attraction of reducing screen bezel size

For many, a very slim and barely noticeable bezel makes a smartphone look sleek, modern and attractive while larger bezels – such as those featuring at the top and bottom of all iPhones except for the X version – are now considered dated and ‘low tech’.

On a practical level, reduced bezels give the phone more screen ‘real estate’ relative to the overall size of the phone’s front. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Apple iPhone 8 are similar in ‘front size’ but the Samsung has a screen size of 5.8 inches compared to the iPhone 8’s 4.7 – indeed, the ‘standard’ Galaxy’s screen is .3 inches larger than the iPhone 8 Plus.

So if screen size is important – and many would prefer the largest screen possible without necessarily having to have an overall larger phone – then small bezels are a major advantage.

Samsung move the game on

It looked as if Apple had caught up with the release of the iPhone X late in 2017; it featured a very slim bezel design all round except for a ‘notch’ at the top of the screen to house the camera and certain sensors.

This brought Apple’s hugely successful smartphone into Samsung territory, helped by making the screen an OLED (organic light emitting diode) design. Samsung’s Galaxy has a slim bezel design but present technological limitations mean there still has to be some screen bordering to cover certain components such as sensors and camera lenses.

Now though Samsung – who make screens for certain Apple devices – are making headway with a new design that could mean bezels are removed completely. They’ve achieved this by finding a way of embedding sensors under the screen and making the camera lens hole so tiny it could be placed discreetly at the very top of the screen.

Will it appear soon?

Patented designs that have appeared in mock up or sketch form – such as this Samsung ‘bezel free’ screen – aren’t necessarily going to make it into production in the short term; indeed, it’s not always certain they’ll appear at all. Consequently, this ‘no bezel’ design likely won’t make it into the next version of the Galaxy, the S9 that is due to appear in the spring.

That said, predictions are that the S9 will feature an even slimmer bezel screen than the current S8 and increasing the ‘screen-to-body-ratio’ from an impressive 84% on the S8 to a remarkable 90% on the new model.  

So while not completely ‘bezel free’ the upcoming Galaxy will be pretty close to the ‘full front screen’ ideal, and it’s clear the technology is evolving for a completely bezel free type in the future.