You’ve been searching for a new phone and have devoted the past few hours to researching on Reddit and the rest of the internet’s dark nooks and crannies. No doubt by now you’d have heard of the the B-word being tossed around the wireless world here and there, but what exactly does it mean?
A “bezel” refers to the frame that surrounds a screen on your device, the same frame that encompasses the body of the smartphone. No, not the part of your mother’s ring that secures the diamond. Manufacturers have steadily decreased the bezel as modern smartphones move towards bigger screens, like Huawei P20 Pro slowly following suite in Apple's iconic footsteps. Newer phones might even continue to shave off millimeter by millimeter, inching slowly towards a phone composed purely of screen that could find its way into your pocket in the near future.
A larger screen is always better, right? Assuming the phone size stays the same and isn’t a clump of mass that won’t jam into your pocket like the larger “plus” models of many phones; well, not exactly. The shrinking bezel has several problems that are hidden to the average consumer.
Screens are a big deal when it comes to battery usage. It is the main component of your phone, after all. A larger screen can only mean shortened battery life, unless they improve the battery at the same time.
Having a slippery touch screen for the front of your entire phone can kind of make it hard to grab or hold, which can also mean more shattered screens when it slips out of your sweaty palm and onto the grimy downtown concrete.
3. A Notch or Sliding Camera
With the current technology, it’s impossible to incorporate the front camera into the screen directly. Instead, your bezel-less phone would have either a notch, or a sliding camera that somehow reveals itself when taking photos; and every developer knows that moving parts are prone to breaking (think of laptop hinges or wires).
Yet perhaps manufacturers will surely devise solutions to these problems as the technology improves. Or perhaps they’ll offer an alternative model with bezel to appease the protesters. What might phones look like in ten years from now?