Disappearing Bezels on Smartphones

When I hold smartphones with very thin bezels — Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is a good example — I feel uncomfortable. It’s not a physical thing. The curved screen and the body feels smooth, a nice feeling. The discomfort is more psychological.

The feeling that I might make the phone do something I didn’t intend to do. That’s the uncomfortable feeling I get when I’m holding a smartphone with very thin bezels. The only surefire way of holding a smartphone like a S8 is to slightly cup my hand, let the smartphone rest in it, while using my pinky to prevent it from sliding down.

If I try to grip the smartphone using my thumb and pointy finger I don’t get a reassuring experiencing. I don’t get the feeling I have a firm hold. I am not sure this expensive thing won’t slide out of my hand if I try to do some things with it. There is simply not enough non-screen bezel to firmly hold on to. There’s none on top, bottom, left, or right. LG’s V30 might have just enough, but I haven’t had the chance to play it with yet.

The bezels on the iPhone X seem a little thicker on the sides (in the portrait orientation) than the S8, but I don’t think there’s enough bezel for me to hold with my pointy finger and thumb; I’m fairly sure I’ll have a similar psychologically uncomfortable experience.

Although I have knocked the design of fat foreheads and chins on modern smartphones — the latest being Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium — I think I’m changing my mind, a little bit. I don’t like huge foreheads and chins, but I do like and want there to be enough so I can get a good grip without worrying I’ll engage something on the touchscreen I didn’t intend to, or drop it. I don’t think there’s an optimal absolute thickness; the thickness of the forehead and chin will depend on how long, thick, and heavy the smartphone is so it will vary among different smartphones. The goal of the forehead and chin is to engender confidence that we can firmly hold the smartphone and that we won’t accidentally touch-engage something we did not intend to.

Yes, software can reduce unintentional touches to some degree but I’ll bet it can’t completely eliminate them. And because of that the uncomfortable feeling will remain, just less and less intensely. This is the reason why I will probably not jump on the iPhone X bandwagon. I want to be able to firmly grip my smartphone knowing I will not unintentionally touch-engage something and that it won’t slip out of my fingers because there’s little to nothing to grip; I want a psychologically comfortable experience, and I’m willing to deal with a little more forehead and a little more chin than the latest and greatest smartphones with ultra-thin bezels.

OnePlus 5 Focus on Dual-Lens Camera

Dan Seifert:

Even with the advantage of being based in Shenzhen, OnePlus still can’t always get the best components other companies might have. After all, both Apple and Samsung make their own processors, and Samsung is one of the leading manufacturers of display technologies in the world. Those in-house display and chip technologies show up in their phones long before they make it anywhere else. (Or in the case of Apple’s chips, they never show up in other companies’ products at all.)

For the OnePlus 5, that meant the company wasn’t able to utilize the tall, edge-to-edge screens that Samsung and LG have pushed this year. “This is something we want to try,” says Lau. “But we don’t currently have the resources or access to those displays.”

So OnePlus zeroed in its efforts on the part it can get: a better camera. The OnePlus 5 features a dual-camera system, a first for the company.

The “tall, edge-to-edge screens that Samsung and LG have pushed this year” are not merely tall and edge-to-edge; it is not just a different form factor. Those screens are the best screens that have been integrated into smartphones; they are even better than some of the best TV screens. These two companies’ smartphone displays are at the top or very near the top in color gamut, color accuracy, contrast, reflectance, brightness, and a plethora of other display metrics. Samsung has OLED, and LG has IPS LCD; Samsung’s OLED is curved, and LG’s IPS LCD is not. Either way you can’t go wrong with their tall, edge-to-edge screens, but the truth is as Seifert wrote: it will be a while before these beautiful displays get into the hands of other brands. The one exception would be Apple with its next iPhone expected to be announced around September with OLED displays that will likely be supplied by both Samsung and LG.

I expect the OnePLus 5 to have a good implementation of a dual-lens camera, especially the camera’s portrait capabilities. Similar in design and in function to the dual-lens iPhone 7 Plus. But the focus on making a better camera is not good enough. The challenge is to make the display as good as the camera. The display has to be just as good at transforming electrons back into photons as the camera is at transforming photons into electrons. For smartphone photography a great display with a so-so camera is just as useless as a so-so display with a great camera. The two go hand in hand. This camera-and-screen one-two punch is one of the many reasons why the Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6, and the iPhone 7 Plus are considered to be the best smartphones on the market today. The OnePlus 5 launches tomorrow at noon in New York City.

Source: The Verge

Samsung Galaxy S8 & S8+

Samsung Galaxy S8 S8+ Front

[ Samsung ] The Samsung Galaxy S8 comes in two sizes: the regular version, simply called S8, sports a 5.8-inch OLED display while the larger S8+ is equipped with a slightly larger 6.2-inch screen. The main design difference between the S8 and the S7 is the thickness of the forehead and the lip: those are much thinner on the S8. And by incorporating a longer screen Samsung incorporated a larger display without making it wider. The overall look is quite nice, handsome even.

The iPhone 7 Plus is physically wider and taller but sports a smaller 5.5-inch LCD with a lot less pixels (1920×1080), thanks to the now relatively huge forehead, lip, and bezels on the sides. The Galaxy S8 is similar to the LG G6, which features a longer 18:9 (2:1) aspect ratio 2880×1440 display, both Samsung’s S8 and S8+ have a tiny bit more stretch with a 2960×1440 pixel format and a 2.06:1 aspect ratio. The extra 80 pixels comes in handy as they are used for the Overview (Menu or Open Apps), Home, and Back soft buttons. The remaining 2880 pixels can be used to have two 1440×1440 square windows, while still having access to the soft navigation buttons.

The smaller S8 has a slightly higher 570 ppi resolution while the larger S8+ features a resolution of 529 ppi. These displays have a name, like they always do, and are called: Quad HD+ Super AMOLED. Meaningless, but I guess someone’s getting paid to have fun.

DisplayMate president Raymond Soneira took a battery of display-related tests and found impressive results for the Samsung S8 and S8+.

Color Gamut 100% DCI-P3, thanks to the new high saturation “Deep Red” OLED. The Galaxy S8 can display the latest 4K video content. The measured absolute color accuracy is 2.7 JNCD, which most likely is more accurate than the 4K UHD TV in our living room.

In the AMOLED Photo screen mode the Galaxy S8’s color gamut is 98% Adobe RGB, the color profile many photographers prefer due to the 17% larger color gamut than sRGB/Rec.709.

UHD Alliance Mobile HDR Premium

HDR First smartphone to be UHD Alliance certified for Mobile HDR Premium. This little bit here is a big deal. We watch a lot of view on our smartphones and the format has gone from SD, 720p HD, and 1080p HD. Some enjoy 4K. HDR or High Dynamic Range improves contrast and color making those pixels even more enjoyable to watch. But beware of brands touting HDR without OLED displays or without a LED-backlit LCDs with a bunch of LED zones; that type of HDR combines edge-lit backlights and “intelligent” software, which is not as good, and sometimes terrible, compared to the real hardware version.

Brightness 1000+ nits. This is bright, and will be good when we’re out in the sun and need to check our phones. For comparison the iPhone 7 has a peak brightness of 602 cd/m2 (same thing as nit), test results by Soneira. Brightness can significantly help us see out in the sun, but combine that with low screen reflectance and sunlight viewability becomes greatly improved. The S8’s screen reflectance is 4.5%; the iPhone 7 beats it by a hair with 4.4%. Combine brightness and screen reflectance and it’s a no brainer which smartphone is better out in the sun: the Galaxy S8/S8+.

Night Mode Blue Light Filter reduces the amount of blue light. On an RGB OLED night mode is effective, because the B (blue) OLED sub-pixel’s brightness can be turned down. Night Mode on an LCD is non-sense: all the light coming out of the backlight is generated by a blue LED with a yellow phosphor coating. The combination of the blue light coming out of the LED and the yellow phosphor results in white light. This white light however is not full-spectrum, meaning more saturated colors such as red are not rendered very well.

The reason why brands such as Samsung and Apple are coming out with Night Mode is to reduce the negative effect of blue light on our circadian rhythm, or our sleep cycles. Light, especially light in the blue wavelength region of the spectrum, is the most powerful signal for shifting or resetting our circadian rhythm. Low levels of melatonin is present during the day and those levels go up a few hours before going to sleep and peaks in the middle of the night. Melatonin is a natural hormone found in the body that regulates sleep and wakefulness; in other words melatonin is what synchronizes our mind and body to our sleep cycles. Light suppresses melatonin. When we are watching our LCD or OLED TVs, working on our LCD monitors, watching movies on our tablets and/or smartphones we are letting a bunch of light especially blue light into our eyes that suppresses melatonin. Light in the evening causes a circadian delay and shifts our circadian rhythm to a later schedule. The more we look at our devices in the evening the harder it is for us to fall asleep when we want to. The best thing to do to reset our circadian rhythm to a healthy cycle is to put down our devices in the early evenings, but if that’s not possible having a display with an effective Night Mode is essential to prevent your circadian cycle to be shifted toward later in the evening. Finally and most importantly all of this is to sleep well, which is paramount if you want to feel good and be productive the next day.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Camera System

Camera Most of us have one camera: our smartphones. That’s why having a good camera on our smartphones has become so important. The S8 and S8+ has a fast ƒ/1.7 aperture lens, on both the back and front lenses. The iPhone 7’s lens is fast too, at ƒ/1.8 (the wide-angle lens), but falls a little behind. The faster the lens the more light it brings into the image sensor. In other words, we can take photos in darker settings without resorting to the flash.

The image sensor pixel size is important too. The larger the pixel size the more light it can absorb. The S8 and S8+ has a 1/2.55-inch image sensor, coupled with 12 megapixels, results in the pixel size of 1.4µm. According to Chipworks the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus sport the same 12 megapixels but image sensor pixels are smaller: 1.22µm. We will be able to take photos in darker environments with the S8 than we can with the iPhone 7.

Selfies are huge. And Samsung made sure to update the front camera. The selfie camera sports an 8 megapixel image sensor, an improved face detection algorithm for faster and more accurate autofocus. The aperture is the same as the rear camera at ƒ/1.7, but with a slightly smaller pixel size of 1.22µm. The FOV (field of view) is a wide 80 degrees. Often we are taking selfies with a group of people and that’s when a wider FOV becomes important.

EverythingApplePro took the Galaxy S8 and the iPhone 7 out for some side-by-side comparison testing. The conclusion? The S8 had the upper edge, but it was quite close. Take a look for yourself.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ is without a doubt a much more beautiful smartphone than the LG G6 and especially the iPhone 7 Plus. How our smartphone looks is definitely important, but beauty isn’t everything. In terms of overall system speed, that’s a different story: check out EverythingApplePro’s “Samsung Galaxy S8 vs iPhone 7 Plus Speed Test”. iPhone 7 Plus wins, especially when already opened apps are relaunched. The multicore performance GeekBench benchmarks are similar between the two, but the single core performance of the iPhone 7 Plus is a little less than 2x that of the Galaxy S8.