Do you want a notch on your next smartphone?

Ever since the Essential Phone was announced last May, there's been a heated debate over the notch. Later introduced on phones like the iPhone X, Huawei P20 Pro, and upcoming LG G7, the notch has become a heated point of debate for smartphone users everywhere.

The notch does technically allow for more screen area at the top of a phone compared to having a full strip of bezel, but at the same time, can be an unsightly eyesore when watching videos or playing full-screen games.

Witch the notch becoming more and more popular, we decided to see what our forum users had to say on the matter. Here are just a few of the responses.

Hell no. I think the notch is a horrible idea that needs to be stamped out now. What's so wrong with having the screen 4 or 5 millimetres shorter?

nomzamo999

I'd prefer not to have it but if they got the really important things right like screen quality and camera performance I really wouldn't care as much. Still prefer a seamless screen experience though.

RaRa85

The notch would give me extra screen. The area below the notch would be the screen if the notch didn't exist. Glass half-empty vs. glass half-full, IMO. Bring on the notches.

Ry

I prefer things symmetrical, so no notch for me. Unless it's something like the V20's secondary display that gives me additional functions without taking away from main screen real estate. I know info could be displayed on either side of the notch, but you're losing a lot of space for that area, limiting visibly of notifications. IMHO this is just the manufacturers bowing to the, "The bezels...

Mooncatt

There's plenty more to say on this subject, so we'd now like to hand the microphone over to you – Do you want a notch on your next phone?

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.

137 Comments
  • Definitely don't understand all the upset . . The notch doesn't intrude on the screen and take away real estate, it actually adds screen space to either side. Most of the time I have things on the left and right of middle and the middle is empty anyway. Obviously everyone is entitled to their likes, dislikes, and personal opinions, but I just don't understand the deal-breaker rage that seems to be so prevalent.
  • Play a full screen game or watch a full screen video. The unibrow is in the way
  • Think the facility to crop stops this.
  • Actually no it isn't. Play a video and you have black bars on both sides. Same as if the phone had bezels. If you want to zoom in, then yes you can do that and have the notch interrupt the full image. But that's only if you choose to zoom in.
  • With Android p maybe but screenshots I've seen on the iPhone eks have had the unibrow cut into the game.
  • Yeah, most images of the iPhone 10 show games and movies with the notch cutting into it. However the default setting is notchless, which hides the notch and adds a bezel to the bottom. Ok, ok... it's a pillarbox, but the result is the same ;)
    It's complicated because the iPhone is skinny and makes the movie small. If you want to make it bigger then you need to zoom in, and then the notch takes a bite out of your picture. Then there's this to think about: The iPhone 10 and the HTC U11 both have about 13 square inches of screen area. The difference? The U11 viewing space is all screen, the iPhone space is not.
  • My problem with the notch is that it's unoriginal and a pathetic ripoff of a useless Apple feature.
  • Why does that matter?
    So basically if Apple hadn't done it you wouldn't mind?
    Sounds like my 3 year old.
  • Nooooooope. Unless it's cheap.
  • I don't think it's a matter of wanting a notch, as willing to accept the notch. Personally as long as there is a software option to make it look like there is not a notch (like the LG G7 reportedly has), I'm fine with it. I've seen the notch on an essential phone, and you don't really notice it very much. with the notch, smaller is definitely better. The notch on the iPhone X is too big, really wasn't worth the narrow horn section.
  • This. Small one or hidden option is best imo.
  • Exactly. I done care of there is a notch as long as I can hide it if I want like on the P20 pro. I like how it essentially let's you put the notification bar in the top bezel but I just don't like the way it looks if you can't black out the area next to it.
  • Why don't they just make an all screen display, and move the sensors and ear speaker to the back of the phone?
  • Lol You want to put the proximity sensor on the back of the phone?
  • MKBHD has a good YouTube video on the state of bezels and goes into the limitations of what manufacturers are and aren't able to relocate within the phone when trying to go to a bezel-less display. The sensors and speaker as you mentioned are obstacles that can be worked around, but the inability to have a front facing camera (which unfortunately is important to a lot of buyers) on an all screen display is a bigger hurdle. There's a concept phone in the video too where an all screen display phone has a front facing camera that pops up above the screen from within the phone, but cost to manufacture (and in turn price to consumers) and durability of the mechanics with that many moving parts are still making that unlikely in the near future. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIvaQ1Hv2Ug&t=470s
  • The screen turns off when you're talking on the phone, so why does it matter which way it faces?
  • It turns off because the sensors detect the screen against your face.
  • He's talking about moving the speaker, microphone, and proximity sensor all to the back of the phone, so the screen can take up the entire front. It's an interesting idea, but someone pointed out that people still want a front-facing camera, so you still couldn't take up the entire front with screen.
  • Ok, here's my thoughts. I hated the notch with a passion.... And I still will avoid a phone with one. But if there's a phone that meets my needs I'm not going to let a notch get in my way. If I can hide the notch that's even more ideal.
  • You're going soft on the notch. ( Compared to your previous posts)
    I think the big issue is how it's hidden and how it looks while watching content.
    I have yet to hear a reasonable complaint about the "notch" when the sides are blacked out.
  • Did you just contradict yourself? Sounds like it.
  • I couldn't care less whether it's got a notch or not. Make it twice as thick and install a battery that will last a few days.
  • +1 on this the notch is not that big of a deal. Give me a device that runs smoothly, is a flagship with specs that count and a huge battery and I'm in.
  • Think im more annoyed that Android OEMs aren't capable of thinking of themselves and have to follow the fruit company! before anyone jumps in I know other phones had it before Apple but if Apple had not have done it for the iPhone X I guarantee you we would not be having this discussion today.
  • Think the timing is more to do with Samsung being able to produce the screens rather than Essential starting the trend.
    Didn't see all the manufacturers dropping the FPS just like Apple.
  • Not every manufacturer has a facial recognition tech that is as secure for payments to replace the FPS or the new underneath FPS tech. Eventually those manufacturers with the back FPS will replace it for one of those new techs I mentioned. They just can't now.
  • More to do with it being a dumb idea.
    Apple have had a few that have been ignored.
    Good ideas will be adopted. (Touch screens)
    Bad ones will be ignored (mods).
  • Removing the headphone jack was a dumb idea but they did it for their reasons. Google made fun of that and followed the next year with the same. Samsung made fun of the notch in their commercial but reports have said Samsung has patented a new notch design. So we ll see
  • They're not following the fruit, they're following "everyone" who's screaming about having bezels . . .
  • No they really are following the fruit Apple.
  • All manufacturers have been chasing screen to body % for years.
    So Apple nicked an idea before some others and put a Samsung screen on their phone.
    It's going to be strange when Samsung use their own screens that they developed and get accused of copying.
  • No.
  • I don't care
  • No notch, and go back to actual rectangular screens.. It took decades to get rid of rounded corners on televisions - now we're *adding* them to phone displays. Stop it. Thank you
  • Really don't care.
  • definitely not. a lot of times i have the whole top bar filled with notifications. that would look awful if there were some on the right side, left side, and where do the rest go? under the notch? or just not displayed?
    plus, it's just an eye sore, like having a piece of dust under a screen protector.
  • Really?
    Getting dust under a screen protector and notifications in a different order?
    Must say not deal breaker for me.
  • An eyesore is having the top bar full of notifications. I can't stand seeing them up there so I clear them asap.
  • Cloning Apple is not the answer for all these OEM'S copying Apple. When they are finally released with the notch the sales will speak for itself. Yes, at first the X sold very well, but after the first of this year their sales have dropped immensely due to the notch & price!
  • Yes copying Apple with touch screens was a disaster too.
  • What evidence is there that the iPhone isn't selling because of the notch?
  • Some reports are coming out from suppliers like demand for components are down for the iPhone X. Or so they say. To me the iPhone X's design is a success. The only thing that held it from selling more and still is is the high price
  • This! 100% correct. 1000 bucks is a hard pill to swallow.
  • Don't want it but if it can be hidden in all applications then I can live with it if I absolutely had to.
  • Then why have it if it's being hidden? Hiding it would be adding a digital bezel on the screen. Might as well save a few dollars on a traditional screen and have a regular bezel.
  • Although it will look like a bezel it will hold the notifications thus allowing the screen to be 3-5 mm taller.
    Not a big deal either way in my opinion.
  • This
  • Many of my apps including Samsung browser drops the notification bar on top so I'm not really gaining.
  • Those same apps can use the extra screen in the bezel.
    It may look crap but it's more screen.
  • That's my point. If I'm getting a better experience without the unibrow I'm going to avoid it with small but straight top bezels
  • How's it better?
    You get the choice to have a small but straight bezel or a notch.
    Choice is good.
  • I personally don't care. I do think that phones with notches look more modern. But every android phone with a notch seems to have a big chin. Only Apple (from what I've seen) has the notch and minimal bottom bezel. That looks the best imo.
  • Agreed. Best looking design and the only one who has a no bezel at the bottom
  • As an OG Pixel XL holdover (this is the longest I've held on to a phone in over a decade...) waiting for the Pixel 3 XL, I really am hoping there is not a notch. It won't be a deal breaker necessarily, but I much prefer the Samsung approach with very skinny bezel and no notch over the iPhone X approach of very VERY skinny bezel with a notch. When it's announced, depending on the total package, a notch on the Pixel 3 might lead me to picking up a deeply discounted Pixel 2 with no notch. If the price were the same I'd suck it up and get a notched Pixel 3, but to save hundreds of dollars I could roll with a Pixel 2 for a year.
  • You're joking right?
  • short answer: no.
  • Let's pretend this: By the time I decide to adopt (meaning, buy) a notch-having phone let's say in a year, Apple would decide to do away with it and the rest of industry would soon follow. So why bother? Symmetry. A notch just makes part of the screen asymmetrical.
  • I want an SD slot, a jack+FM radio, a large battery, and core A7x. Once that's in, if they want to play silly with a notch they can. I'd rather not, but it's not a deal breaker. The smaller the better though.
  • I will not buy a phone with a "notch".
  • If they ship with the notch hidden feature enabled you may never know!
    The phone you're using now could have a notch!
    Time to panic...
  • Heck no!
    Die notches! Die!
    On phones of course...
  • I don't care. The G7 is on my radar for a new device in 2018.
  • what I don't want is glass all the way to the edges. I want some degree of bezel going all around so I can grasp firmly around it without touching the screen. The notch doesn't bother me otherwise.
  • No. I will never own a phone with a notch and I think after a year or two there won't be a whole lot of them available.
  • Only if Apple does away with it will that happen
  • Phones with a notch are lazy design. I don't see anyone complaining about the minimal bezel at the top of recent Samsung phones. iPhone X dictating that pulling down from the left or right side having different actions is poor UX design. Android and Windows know that users can handle having their quick actions and notifications in one area. Essential phone has my least disliked version of a notch, but it's still poor design. How can a manufacturer say they have a bezel-less screen when there is a bezel nub jutting into the screen? Until manufacturers figure out how to place the front camera beneath the screen like the fingerprint reader, leave the minimal top bezel and get rid of the bottom bezel unless you have front firing speakers.
  • No notch. Period
  • Nope. Why go from a full to notch. Looks like moving backwards
  • No.
  • I've said It a dozen times and I'll say it a dozen times more: without a practical use for it, the notch isn't necessary and is plain stupid and intrusive as a design element. Apple did it to house their laser guidance system and Essential did it as a mostly unintrusive design element that worked because it was so small. Every other OEM is doing it to follow Apple because for some reason the notch is now a trend. It disgust me that none of these designers except Vivo (that Apex phone is amazing) and Doogee (the mix 4 has a slide function to reveal the front sensors) even tried to come up with their own idea for hiding the front sensors. The entire industry is becoming a bunch of copy cat players in a game that the we, the consumer, ends up losing. Does the actual notch bother me? No. But what the notch represents: the new found and accepted lack of innovation for our mobile devices, does. These designers and manufacturers need to do better. I exclude Essential and Apple from this rant, because they were the originator of this trend, they had valid reason for it. Pretty much everyone else are simply "me too" sheep.
  • Screen % has been a thing for a long time. All manufacturers have been chasing it and the "notch" gives a bigger % of screen to body.
    The next thing is in screen FPS. They are all looking at it.
    Does it matter who does it first?
  • What a question. Of course everyone is going to say no lmao
  • Yes
  • Yes to no?
  • Personally I couldn't care less. After looking at the picture at the top of this article, if screen real estate is such a big problem, why have the notch at the top but still have the physical buttons at the bottom. Put as much effort in to on scene fingerprint readers and home buttons and you would then truly have a full screen phone. Otherwise just make the phone a bit taller, and remove the notch.
  • There's really no need for a notch. The "extra screen" gets used up by notifications and icons, so you're not gaining anything other than altered aesthetics. The notch was a novelty when Essential and other niche makers did it, but then Apple put one in their top-of-the-line model. Now every two-bit Android OEM is stumbling all over themselves to ape the notch, whether it's needed or not. I'm not a huge Samsung fan, but thank god they eschewed the notch to show that you don't need to imitate everything Apple does to be successful. I hope more manufacturers stick to making a good phone and avoid the silly gimmicks that turn their phones into me-too devices.
  • Samsung will do a notch. You watch lol
  • The extra screen is the few mm where the notifications used to be. So you gain a few mm of screen.
  • There is a reason Apple did it. Everyone else, not so much....
  • Same reason for all.
    Maximum screen to body %
  • No notch for me. Just don't see the point. Can't access that part of the screen single handedly so pointless imo. I'd rather have stereo front facing speakers
  • uhhm, notched Down all the way
  • I prefer no notch, but if my future phone has one I'm sure I'll survive, somehow. Meanwhile, the ever-fickle public seems to want such tiny bezels that they have convinced themselves that a notch even as large as half the width of the display is acceptable. Go figure.
  • No! Just make the top/bottom bezel as small as possible (w/ speakers, sensors, camera, etc.). I'm fine with bezel, and even prefer a small amount to make holding the phone easier (without triggering a touch).
  • No
  • I welcome the idea of a notch, even on the essential phone. I thought it added screen real estate. I have a GS8+, and if they can add a little more screen space and where the black is, I'm for it. But add in a software fix to create a straight black line for games, so it doesn't look weird or lose that notch spacing.
  • Hell NO!
  • NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
    I'm not paying 1k for a notch
    The V20 had a better options that was useful. A notch would be so annoying.
  • I have an iPhone X, I don't even notice the thing. Everytime change occurs people scream. Non removable battery and headphone jack come to mind
  • Right. If this is the standard a year from now, people will deal.
  • I would hate my phone not to have a headphone jack, adaptors are a pain in the neck, as for the non-removeable battery, one of the worse things they have done to be honest, they say it is about getting slimmer phones, but i think it is so they can sell more as well. How many people will go through the hassle of fitting a new battery if they have to take the phone apart?
  • Waterproof is why, IP68..
  • So long as phones like the Pixels or the Nokias exist, without a notch, I will pick one of those every single time. The notch is ugly, and has absolutely no redeeming qualities as far as I'm concerned.
  • And what if they do have a notch?
  • I posted a similar sentiment above. I'm on an OG Pixel and skipped the Pixel 2 waiting for the Pixel 3. I would be very disappointed if they go the iPhone X style route rather than the Samsung style route, but it wouldn't deter me from buying. The software experience and everything else that comes along with having a Pixel would trump having to deal with a notch, but I'd prefer not to have it. Some dual front facing speakers and improved battery life would also be great and I'm still buying in.
  • It literally took less than a day for me to no longer notice my tiny Essential phone notch
  • Same
  • No notch for me. I don't hate it, I'm just not "feeling" it.
  • If you don't like the notch, then wait the industry out, there's bound to be a better solution. I don't care, but others do.
  • Nope, i only recently got my phone, so I hope it will last for a few years, i really hope by the time i get a new phone the notch is not the standard.
  • Stupid notch. It doesn't add screen space if apps have to black out the spaces next to the notch so it is less apparent.
  • The blackout space has the notification bar.
    The notification bar becomes normal screen.
    You gain a few mm of screen. (When vertical)
  • The only issue I have is if they don't "black bar" it for landscape use. Whether it be games or media or just web browsing, that notch will get in the way. Otherwise, I don't care unless it's costing us more. In that case, I don't need the extra cost.
  • That's only on the iPhone I believe.
    Most android phones with a notch adjust for landscape.
  • Android tech blogs are really milking notchgate. Keep the fluff articles coming! Must be an eternally slow news day at AC.
  • Maybe some of the manufacturers are curious to know, they want us to voice our opinion about it.
  • Also, why is this an issue anymore? Most new notched phones have an option to black out the screen to hide it. Problem solved. Yet people are still complaining for some reason.
  • I would rather not have a notch. In fact, I'm not a fan of the popular 18:9 aspect ratio, either. And frankly, if I had to choose among the notches, I'm more likely to get an iPhone X.
  • Nope
  • No notch and I want square corners too on a flat screen.
  • Dumbest question you ever asked
  • Hell no. Hate the notch! I like things smooth, neat and practical. The notch is anything but neat. Makes the screen look like a mess.
  • No notch for me...Don't think it serves any purpose
  • I don’t care. Notch-o-cheese or not. As long as the phone is a notch rocket, I’m good.
  • Wouldn't mind a notch at top and bottom if they each contained premium sounding front-facing speakers, the bottom had a home button on the notch, and you could move the back and opened apps selector buttons to either side of the notch so the real estate wasn't wasted.
  • I don't care how you get to no bezel on the top and sides; just get there.
    Mount the selfie camera at the bottom. I never use it anyway.
    Notch? I don't care. I don't want bezels. I do want a flat screen. I would like to use a screen protector.
  • No. I still do not know why I need a notch on my phone.
  • I'd prefer to wait until the technology is mature enough to not need a notch. My home screen, like many other's is uncluttered. I'm not crying for a few extra pixels of space when the screen is mostly empty. And, I'd rather not have aesthetics compromised, or the distraction during media consumption.