Curved displays — practical or used just for looks?

Ever since the Galaxy Note Edge in 2014, Samsung's been betting hard on smartphones with curved displays. The Note Edge lead to devices like the S6 and S7 Edge, and then with the S8 this year, both the normal and Plus models are equipped with display edges that curve over the side.

It's clear that Samsung isn't going to stop curving its smartphone displays anytime soon, but that raises the question of whether or not there's any real purpose to this trend. There's no denying that curved displays on phones look nice, but do they offer any real benefit over ones without them?

One user recently posted this question in our forums, and this is what some of you had to say.

I like the curved edges, its one of the reasons I bought it. Yes it's a pain fitting screen protectors but I've removed mine so no issues for me, I think the curved edges look great, I've liked them since they were introduced on the Note edge, but the curves on the Note 8 are quite a bit steeper.

evohicks

I don't see why they couldn't have the edge panel functions with a flat screen. for me the edge screen has no function other than Samsung thinks it looks good and gives them a one over the other manufacturers. it's fine though. my main issue with it is I think the screen is more vulnerable to drops as cases generally stay below the edges

aldo82

IMO, the curved edge is COMPLETELY a design over function thing. Please don't try to convince me that you couldn't have edge apps the same way they are now but on a flat screen instead. The screen doesn't need to be curved to have a little touch sensitive button on it to be able to slide it over and utilize edge apps!! Yes, I use the function but it would still function perfectly fine if the...

srvctec

I like the edge as I found the bezel on the note 4 really caused me to lose the ability to write near the bezel. I get much more use of the full screen with the rounded edge of the 8. So for me, I like it.

daves221

Now we'd like to hear from you – What are your thoughts on curved displays?

Join the conversation in the forums!

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

59 Comments
  • Accidental screen bumps....
  • Not a thing... for me... on the Note 8.
  • It's purely for looks over function no matter how hard they try to include apps /features to make use of it. However, it's a great signature look for them.
  • I love my s7 edge's curved screen. I use the night clock every night. It's replaced an alarm clock for me. I'm sad to see that the s8 doesn't have the same curve or feature.
  • Have a S8. The longer I've had it, the more I dislike the curved screen. I miss tempered glass screen protectors. The wet applied screen protector I have is rubbery. With my jobs I'm outdoors a lot so a screen protector and case are a must for me. I see no purpose for curved edges except for looks. Although I personally don't like the look of the curve. If Samsung continues with these (and they will) I'll probably look at another manufacturer next time I get a new phone.
  • https://www.moshi.com/ionglass-screen-protector-galaxy-s8
  • This work with a case? I've got a Speck Presidio Grip Case but it's tight so that's a lot of money to pay if it comes off when you take the phone out the case.
  • You could get the S8 Active. No curve, rugged housing, and I believe a bigger battery. The Active version usually comes out a couple months after the new flagship device.
  • Isn't that only on AT&T?
  • Not the Galaxy 8 active. this year Samsung made the active line available on T-Mobile as well as att and I believe Sprint as well
  • No practical use whatsoever. It does nothing that cannot be done on a flat screen.
  • It can look nicer...
  • Or a lot worse, which I and many others feel.
  • I bought the Galaxy S8 Active just to get the flat screen. Curves are for...
  • smart intelligent people? people looking towards the future? Kitties? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Too bad the S8 active has a plastic screen or screen protector thing that scratches super easily. I would have considered it if it used a normal glass display.
  • Just get a screen protector to not get scratches. Super simple. I have a note 8, and wished it was flat. If LG didn't have crap software, I would of got the v30. IPhone x flat screen from Samsung is a beauty.
  • People with curved faces?
  • Maybe it's me...I know the screen on my Note 8 is curved but until reading this posting, I completely forget that it was.
    Is there a benefit to a curved screen? Sure, it's the only way you'll ever have a bezel-less designed phone..
  • no I agree I forget about it all the time. I was reading comics on my N8 last night and realised it seemed like 1% blurry on the side. so I moved the page and I was like "oh yeah curved screen"
  • The Note 8 curve seems great. With the S8 they went a bit too far and made it somewhat impractical. (It's hard touching things near the edge, yet it registers a lot of palm touches. Not great for hidden object games.) I'm glad they saw their mistake and dialed it back on the Note 8.
  • IPhone x? Less bezels than the note 8.
  • But that notch. I'm one of the people that would never get used to it. Looking at an S8+ and an iPhone X, to me the S8+ appears to have less of a bezel because of the curved edge. It blends in more where the iPhone X doesn't. I'm not saying the X has a big bezel. Just that I notice it more, so it feels like it has a bigger bezel. I also want a battery percentage, and iPhone X can't do that because of the notch.
  • Curve screens are not useful. I wish my S8 had a nice square edge. I odn't use the edge functions at all, I suppose they have some value. But a simple case with a slight raised edge would be so much more useful to protect the expensive computer in my pocket. Defiantly design over function.
  • The S8 Active sounds like it would be a better fit for what you're looking for.
  • That's why I'm sticking with my Mate 9 that has exactly such a case.
  • I like the infinity pool look when viewing from an angle and (with no blue tint) the beautiful content flows off the edges.
  • It's not only useless but detrimental:
    More expensive
    More fragile (there's a reason the Active has a flat screen)
    Harder to protect
    More glare
    More slippery Me no want.
  • The S8 is my first samsung device. I can't speak on past phones, but the curve on the S8 is fine. A wouldn't say practical or useful, I turn it's features off. But it looks great and doesn't get in my way. But that's me. I never wanted the edge features. I know a lot of people like it.
  • I had the s7edge now the s8+, not a problem for me. Kinda like it!
  • The only problem I see with the curve on something like the S8 is the ability to scrub on a long list. With your thumb manually scrolling on the side of an app, for example, scrolling a list in a music app. I've had a bit of issue with that activating, perhaps due to the palm rejection. I don't use a screen protector, but to me it's an issue with all curved glass screens, even with something like the iPhone or even the OG Pixel. The screen protectors just don't go all the way to the edge. Just make the glass flat in those cases.
  • I like the look of the curve but hate struggling to find a screen protector and case combo, as I've still not gotten it right and my protector bubbles at the side and it's totally not drop protecting at all, just scratches
  • I really like the aesthetics, watching content almost drip off the screen gives it a unique look. It serves a small amount of function - swiping to bring up my Apps Edge is useful every now and then - but it's mainly just a feature that allows Samsung to make their phones look different from the flat slabs out there and it does look cool. I have no issues with palm detection or false touches, so it doesn't get in the way of usability. You're already paying a lot for a high-end phone, why not have something a bit more unique to it thrown in?
  • If the curved screen is responsible for the sightly thinner width then I would prefer it Everytime. The S8 plus' thin form factor makes one hand typing sooo much better. And I stopped using screen protectors on all my phones since the Nokia Lumia 920. Most flagship devices these days have some sort of curved screen edges and having a screen protector just ruins the touch feeling.
  • Same effect from having a flat screen that is the same width as the useful flat bit of the curved screen.
  • The curve on the Sammies is exactly why I will NEVER buy one. Any other phone that tries to copy this stupid curve is also off my list permanently. It is useless. Cell phones are tools, not toys. I appreciate a certain look to a phone and consider this in my purchasing decision. But this trend towards curved screens is just as stupid as curved screen TV's! In fact, I can't stand even the 2.5 curved edges on nearly all phones now as this also deters from getting a good tempered glass screen protector to fit properly.
  • Exactly this.
    Similarly I will not buy a 2:1 screen, as reading the Web page of this site and others becomes a challenge. Maps and satnav are harder to see, games look wrong. The only "benefit" I can imagine (told to me by the sales staff in shops) is watching movies - but I cannot imagine why I would do that on a phone.
  • Had the S7 Edge and now using the S8. Love the curved screen. The edge panels are great for getting to contacts and apps quickly.
  • Wow..someone must really hate curved screens to go out of their way to downvote my comment lol.
  • For most people it is for looks even though Samsung has assigned some additional functionality to it.
  • it might look nice (opinion obviously) and it might have some legit useful function in some way (not sure what really) but the consequences are certainly not worth it (also obviously an opinion). curved TVs are also simply "because we can" and not adding any benefit. until it curves around to both sides of my head at the same time, its pointless. both are simply a manufacturer attempting to distinguish a product in an area of tough competition.
  • I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I see the benefits like how they make a phone easier to hold, and allow for quite a reduction in side bezels. It's also an incredibly ubiquitous look for Samsung phones. Like, everyone knows when it's a Samsung because of those curves, and I feel they've definitely locked down that look so much it'll always be associated with them in the same way the iPhone (for the longest time anyway) was associated with virtually any black rectangle phone. On the other hand though, I don't like how it lessens the overall durability. Almost every bad user review over at Verizon for the Galaxy 8 line has to do with how fragile the phones are. This is particularly evident for the S8, and something I myself experienced. I go through tons of phones, and yes, some have taken a tumble every now and then, but nothing major. Slipping off my bed, couch, maybe out of my pocket in the car, etc. Yet, one of the smallest tumbles that's ever happened for me (about a foot) cracked my S8's back after just two days of use. The point of impact was clearly the corner, which is typical for almost every fall, but because of the curved nature it got cracked. Heck, even a coworker of mine who had a glass screen protector AND a case managed to break the front of the display (but not the actual glass screen protector which was a huge WTF) because the impact point was the corner of the curved display. Having said all that, overall, I'm a fan...it just needs to be improved upon, and Samsung's clearly getting there. The Note 8 has probably the least dramatically curved sides of any Samsung phone yet, but it still retains the benefits I mentioned while at least feeling a little less fragile than the S8's, and the bad reviews for that one are less about its durability and more about quirks so yeah...rant over.
  • I disagree about the Note 8. I compared it in the shops to my Mate 9. Not only is it narrower, but it also loses width to those curves. It is a very narrow screen.
    *sarcasm follows* Oh great, it is taller. SFW.
  • No one can deny that the curved screen feels different in your hand, and many find that to be more comfortable. I had to return my S8 after one day because it felt like I was looking into a fish bowl. It's great that there is a form-factor like this, but unfortunate that so many other manufacturers are following Samsung's lead. I don't think this topic would come up unless a large amount of opposition was being displayed. The mobile market is being dominated by curved glass right now, but we should realize that trends change fast in aesthetic design, and something different is always around the corner.
  • I can't wait till the curved screen fad is over.
  • My S8+ is my first curved edge device, and while it's not practical I love the way the phone looks. The bezel on the edge seems nonexistent to me because of the curve. I only use Edge Panels, but that additional functionality makes it worth it for me. You could have it on a flat screen, but then it would be jutting into your main viewing area like the iPhone X notch does. I'm one of the people that would be annoyed by it 24/7.
  • For me its there for looks and Yes my next phone I want it to be curved as well they just look so sexy omg.
    The small curve on the S8 doesn't bother me like it did on my S6 edge.
  • I actually switched from iPhone not because of Android but because of the looks of S8 curved screen. I'v got tired of the stale Apple design and didn't want to loose headphone jack with X. That's how shallow I am! I still like the curved screen looks but, man, it's such a usability disaster. My pet peeve is typing on a keyboard in portrait mode. Tried many keyboards (stock Samsung, GBoard, Swyft, etc.) but on S8 they all extend to the very edges of the screen. As a result while typing, especially one handed, I'm constantly inadvertently hitting with my palm something that I really don't want to - Input Method selector, Emoji button or some sh*t like that. Also letters closest to the wrapped edges are very hard to press correctly when typing fast. Maybe anybody knows how to get rid of Input Method button at the bottom right corner f the screen that's always there when keyboard is on? Or maybe there's some keyboard I haven't tried that doesn't have keys close to the edges.
  • It's not only a useless design, it's a flawed design. It completely eliminates quality cases and screen protectors. Zero function exists that is exclusive to the curved screen, but many peripheral benefits are restricted because of one. It's a thousand dollar device that you carry with you in nearly every active moment. Screen protectors and cases are there to protect your overpriced investment. I understand making the device look pretty is somewhat a concern, but doing so at the cost of durability is just retarded. The curved screen is the very definition of a gimmick.
  • I really like it gives a whole new look plus videos look amazing with the curved edges ya I'm a fan.
  • As an S8+ owner, i find the curved screen to be more of an annoyance than anything else. The phone is extremely fragile, just about everyone I know with an S8 has cracked the front or back at least once. Cases can be hit or miss. Screen protectors can be hit or miss. Trying to find a good screen protector and case that work well together can be hit or miss Give me a Nokia quality Polycarbonite phone with a samsung quality screen and a Pixel 2 camera and ill be happy.
  • Just for looks (bad look imo but some people like it)... they are in the way of video and photos and egkext light!
  • hate them, people just like them because they are "pretty" but a flat display is easier to use.
  • I've got an s8+ and the curved display means no side bezels. No bezels means I can actually fit it in my side pocket perfectly. If they went with a flat screen with bezels it wouldn't fit. I fully understand everyone isn't me, but the curved screen does maximize screen size while minimizing phone size.
  • Ridiculous. If the screen was only as wide as the flat bit, then even with normal bezels it would be narrower than the curved screen version. Why on earth would you want a narrower effective screen plus pay for the cost of bent glass plus a significantly higher risk of damage (no protective bezels) and cost of repair?
  • I have the S7 Edge and HATE the curved edges, and don't find that they serve ANY useful purpose......I'm looking for a new phone now but can't decide which one (was leaning towards the HTC U11 Plus but they don't sell it in the U.S. :( ......).....
  • I have the Note 8 and it's annoying when you need to swipe in from the edge of the screen. It often takes a few tries to get it just right.
  • The Note 8 is my first phone with curved display and I like it. I find aesthetically pleasing and functional ( i.e. easier to swipe and utilize edge functions). I certainly hope Samsung continues to trail blaze on the display front - hopefully leading to truly foldable screen technology.
  • I like em