Will it blend? A notch can never be 'hidden' on LCD displays


Not to rain on the phone makers' parade, but their push to fake-make droolworthy screen-to-body ratios by equipping their handset's screens with a cutout at the top, is a #metoo moment, and, no, not that #metoo, but the copycat variety. Once one manufacturer decided to do it on a mass scale, all the lemmings feared they will be left behind, unable to cite 90%+ screen-to-body ratios in their marketing materials, and Google happily sang along, introducing native support for the notch in the upcoming Android P edition.

Granted, some cutouts are huge (iPhone X), the original one is minimalistic (Essential), and some are in the golden middle between a notch and its reasons to exist (Huawei's upcoming P20 duo). Still, manufacturers are giving us the option to hide the notch, if we don't like it, by painting the horns in its color scheme to blend it in, and leaving the screen canvas below in a more orthodox rectangular format. Apple, however, went with OLED display on the iPhone X, and those apps which use the horns, as well as those that are trying to hide it by blending it in, can take advantage of the true black that OLEDs are capable of. After all, black on OLED means a pixel that is completely turned off, and blending looks fine, as you can see in the Halide photography app header above.

On LCDs, however... well, there is backlighting that is always on, and seeps light through the cracks, no matter how high-end the panel might be, so black actually looks very dark gray, if you are lucky. That is why we were a bit miffed to hear that Huawei, for instance, will give you the option to turn off the notch in the interface, by blending it in as if it's just the middle of the status bar. The problem is that, while the top-shelf P20 Pro is said to come with OLED display, the P20 and P20 Lite have LCDs, and, well, a picture of a "hidden" notch is worth a thousand words when it comes to LCD displays.

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P20
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  • Camera 12 MP / 24 MP front
  • Processor HiSilicon Kirin, Octa-core, 2360 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 3400 mAh(19h talk time)

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24 Comments

1. KingSam

Posts: 1465; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

Why hide it?

3. adecvat

Posts: 644; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Yeah, you are right. Notch is a style. Apple made it popular, so no one should hide it.

17. sgodsell

Posts: 7416; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The notch is ugly and it offers no real functionality. As a matter of fact the notch offers less functionality. Even apps have to be modified in order to use the space properly (the dumb cutout). Apple's implementation was the dumbest because it has the least amount of space to actually use. Plus Apple is FORCING it's developers to support the notch. Your app will be rejected by Apple if it doesn't support the iPhone X notch.

21. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

The notch allows you to put the notifications further up, freeing up more real estate. As much as I loathe Apple led by Captain Cook, not everything they do is bad. Also, looks are subjective. I wouldn't mind a P20 Pro, as it has the 40MP cam.

11. bur60

Posts: 981; Member since: Jul 07, 2014

Because it's a technological and aesthetical limitation

16. MarmiteTheDog

Posts: 192; Member since: Jul 31, 2017

Because Apple made it popular

2. youssef44

Posts: 547; Member since: Apr 29, 2014

This is good idea! It should be on all phones with notchs

4. cmdacos

Posts: 4248; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Just do it right and don't have a unibrow to begin with. There is no justified reason for it.

5. JMartin22

Posts: 2372; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

The only issue I have with the notch is that it cuts into multimedia consumption and the workaround with the black bars looks really bad. Other than that, I don’t see what’s wrong with it from a cosmetic standpoint.

18. sgodsell

Posts: 7416; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

It also effects VR and AR headsets as well.

6. rsiders

Posts: 1970; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

Let's make a notch to make it look like the notch isn't even there? What will they come up with next?:D

7. Nikolai90

Posts: 50; Member since: May 16, 2017

Why don't they just make it such like Samsung and LG styles? No notch at all. Notch is ugly and faking its real screen to body ratio. Apple iPhone X is ugly to begins with, compared to the more elegance Samsung S8 and LG V30. iPhone 8 could be much better in looks if only if its bezels trimmed down.

9. Cat97

Posts: 1920; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Well...Samsungs don't have a notch (yet), but their large display corner radiuses are even worse, they remind me of black and white TV's from the 60's.

8. Cat97

Posts: 1920; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Why hide the notch ? To make the phone look vintage ? No thanks.

10. Feanor

Posts: 1378; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

Are OLED displays really truly black? Everytime I see a Samsung Galaxy S8 switched off, I see that the actual screen colour is a greenish dark grey, which does not blend well with the black bezels. An LCD display looks blacker when switched off. Maybe the pixels of an OLED display remain switched off to represent true blacks, but they are not true black to begin with when they are switched off. The LCD screens may bleed some backlighting through their black areas but they are darker when switched off to begin with. Check your Samsung Galaxys and you'll notice immediately.

14. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

If you check gsmarena sunlight contrast ratio, It measures light reflection when screen turned off, you see that all AMOLED screen have the best ratio of black at room light. So you're simply wrong assuming LCD are blacker with screen off.

22. luis.aag90

Posts: 277; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

Wrong, that greenish dark gray color you're talking about may be caused by reflecting from a light source (e.g sun). However, get into a dark place and switch to a black wallpaper, you'll notuce the light bleed or grayish tone of the LCD panel while the OLED will effectively blend in with the black bezels

23. Feanor

Posts: 1378; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

This is not true and totally against reality. The black bezels of a Samsung Galaxy S8 and the switched off screen never blend together, no matter what lighting. On the contrary switched off high quality LCD displays blend very well to black bezels, when under one continuous glass.

12. T12RYK

Posts: 849; Member since: Jun 10, 2011

iPhones are better than any Samsung phone!!!!

15. Sunbae-min

Posts: 135; Member since: Mar 25, 2018

You wish! Samsung is the world's largest phone maker. Apple just uses Samsung components, and can't even assemble the iphone itself.

13. Fellwalker

Posts: 538; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

If my phone had a notch it could not show all of the notifications. The notch is just another marketing load of cobblers that cost more and gives little

19. lyndon420

Posts: 6815; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

This whole notch thing is just a proof of concept to show where OEM's currently are with screen manufacturing capabilities - curved screens, pieces of screen that are missing etc. No consumer ever asked for this thinking it would make for a better UI or better viewing experience. It's no different than removing the headphone jacks...but apple was right when they used the term 'courage'. Takes a lot of guts to force something like this on consumers...sometimes 'thinking differently' can sink a company. Having said that...it's hard to get away from the notch when other OEM's start using it, so there should be native support built in to all phones to help hide the notch. (Put a piece of black duct tape at the top/center of your tv and tell yourself that it looks good and isn't distracting) Got to admit that I'm a little disappointed...was hoping for another 'will it blend' video.

20. Subie

Posts: 2378; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Like I said in another article; If there has to be a notch - at least combine it with an oled display.

24. odachek

Posts: 126; Member since: Sep 01, 2012

Notch is a wastage design & horrible distraction for frquent mobile movie watchers, thus the hate. Potrait mode for browsing and stuff still ok.

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