Apple goes for aesthetics, Samsung adds symmetry: display engineer explains why thin chins are bad

Apple goes for aesthetics, Samsung adds symmetry: display engineer explains why thin chins are bad
A recent brouhaha over the broken screen of a Pixel 3 XL has brought along the most illuminating explanation on why some manufacturers go with thick over thin chins in their phone designs. The Pixel 3 XL in question got a few permanent pink lines running from the bottom of the display which it allegedly received from a short foot-long drop. 

The Reddit thread dedicated to the issue has turned into the oh-so-rare quality discussion on why screens are prone to do that after a self-proclaimed Apple phone display engineer entered the fray.

While he tipped the audience on some known facts - namely that OLED screens bend towards the bottom to fuse with the connector that drives their pixels. This fragile bond is extremely prone to having traces that run screen lines detach upon bottom impact with the ground, especially if the chin is thin. The pink lines that form are the result of said broken traces leaving pixels they command permanently on. The phenomenon even has a name in display engineer lingo - a VLD (vertical line defect).

Given that this 180-degree bottom bend is done on most OLED panels with plastic substrates like the ones most flagships are now using, everyone's OLED models are prone to VLDs, especially if they have thinner "chins," i.e. bottom bezels. When asked why isn't every OLED phone made with thick chins then, the purported Apple display engineer dished out the following fascinating answer:

There you have it - Apple loves aesthetics and is willing to sacrifice some fragility for thinner bezels (no worries, the iPhone XR is safe),  Samsung, on the other hand, as the only one among the top smartphone makers that don't have a notch-y phone, prefers a frontal symmetry making Notes and Galaxies less prone to VLDs. 

Such Samsung design concept may even be brought to the extremes when the Galaxy S10 lands, as rumors are swirling that it will have even thinner top and bottom bezels than the S9, achieved by tucking the front camera within a tiny hole in the display itself instead of the top bezel. 

We can't wait to see if such a new design paradigm will indeed go to fruition in a potential hit phone like the Galaxy S10, as this could be the next great thing in the quest to the "all-screen" phone after sliders.

source: Kymbb (Reddit)



1. rouyal

Posts: 1583; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

If a bottom bezel is made thin with no true functionality, at the sacrifice of durability, I’d say both manufacturers or any other thin bezels are doing it for aesthetics. I mean, symmetry is an aesthetic decision.

20. Phullofphil

Posts: 1830; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

I do t agree with this arrival. I sounds like a weak attempt to appease the Samsung fans on the site. I have had the iPhone 10 and now the 10s max and I drop it all the time and I never had any issues. Samsung May make the screen but they don’t assemble the phone on the iPhone. That being said apple May have done something to prevent the same damage. I have always had worse luck with Samsung phones breaking the screens. Just my personal observation and may be just that.

22. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Again, you ifans always are first to say, well because it didn't happen to me it isnt a problem. First of, when you dropped your phone how did it land? I thought so. If it doesn't apply to you, stop acting like it doesnt to someone else. The bezel does offer some protection on drops. After all, when Samsung phones had side bezels, how many times did those bezels save the glass? Now that they dont have a bezel or because it is so thin and so low and exposed more of the sides, as soon as you drop it and it hits the sides, the glass most times; instantly breaks. You really need to come out of your distortion field and stop acting like Apple doesnt have problems. Because if they didnt, 62% of the IPhone 6 line wouldn't have had issues at all according to you. But they did and was the worse phone in modern times. In fact it took all of Samsung phones to even reach 44%. Which means even if you include the demise of the Note 7, Samsung still has far and away more quality products sold and in people's hands vs Apple.

28. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

In mkbhd's video he said nothing about dropping it. He said it was a defective Pixel 3 XL.

2. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3166; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

When smartphones are $500 you can take a flyer with thin bezels, etc. People are fickle and they want manufacturers to put 10 lbs. of s**t in a 5 lb. bag. Now that the majority of flagships are at or near $1k, I don't want form over function. That b***h has to last.

23. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

It only needs to last a year. For each buyer. Even if bought a year later.

26. hansip87

Posts: 230; Member since: Nov 10, 2015

unfortunately, the cheaper you get, the more lasting it will get these days..

3. Whitedot

Posts: 867; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

Not the other way around. On the frame tiny sensor holes in the frame " achieved by tucking the front camera within a tiny hole in the display itself instead of the top bezel. "

4. middlehead

Posts: 467; Member since: May 12, 2014

This is exactly what I've been saying on every article where people crow about phones needing to be absolutely bezel-less. They have no idea what they're talking about.

5. DefinitiveKid

Posts: 264; Member since: May 15, 2013

"making Notes and Galaxies less prone to VLDs" Funny then that all VLDs I've seen so far have been on Samsung devices, and now the Pixel 3 XL which has an epic chin as well.

29. mootu

Posts: 1541; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

Apple had quiet a problem with VDL's when the X was released, it was reported on all the tech sites.

6. Peaceboy

Posts: 640; Member since: Oct 11, 2018

And everyone mocking apple’s king of bezel. Now that flagship phone are almost bezel-less, they bitch now the notch. Always looking for bad when it comes to apple.

16. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Apple's old bezel is just thicc for no good reason.

17. whocar3s

Posts: 20; Member since: Oct 28, 2014

Apple’s old bottom bezel is there to house the Touch ID. The top bezel is for aesthetics, like samsung

7. ninjajoe96

Posts: 11; Member since: Nov 22, 2013

This would make sense if the Samsung phones were actually symmetrical... The S9 series still have a thinner bottom bezel than the top!


Posts: 945; Member since: Feb 23, 2014

Um its called "Courage"

9. Jrod99

Posts: 778; Member since: Jan 15, 2016

So no matter how strong the glass you May get pink line through your screen if dropped. Ugh.

24. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Glass and strong in the same sentence Really? Are you sure you are talking about glass? Is there a such thing as glass that doesn't break? Because I dont think there js. In fact what you seem to be missing is the fact what actually causes glass to break and why nothing you do can ever prevent it from breaking. Shirt kf replacing it with something else. Even sapphire glass will break

10. haruken

Posts: 308; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

I'm not saying he's not reliable but if all those phones are bending like the iPhone, wouldn't we have seen it already in let's see teardown videos?

12. syntaxlord

Posts: 239; Member since: Oct 01, 2018

Most teardown videos don't really focus on the screen. IFixit might give you some answers though.

13. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1473; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

It's not an issue related to bending, rather due to impacts that affect the plastic substrates that connect to where the screen/display bends at the bottom. They're very fragile. The thinner the bottom bezel, the higher the risk of damaging them. Long story short those thin bezels come at increased risk to your screen. If you never drop your phone, you're good. A lot of Android phones have retained the bottom bezel likely to reduce the risk, because within the expected 2 year lifespan of a device(1 year in Apple's case), it's likely to be dropped a few times. Probably why you see so many topics on the web about VLD on iPhone X models and for Apple it makes a nice cashcow to milk because replacing the screen ain't cheap.

19. phonedroid

Posts: 32; Member since: Dec 15, 2017

Yeah it’s because android phone companies want to reduce the risk........hahahahahaa. Love brand loyalty. Apple is replacing those Samsung screens with more Samsung screens, of which they purchase from? So Samsung might make a buck too. Since we know pixels, Samsung and apple phones suffer from this condition they must be the companies that don’t care about their customers. My pixel has no vld and I have dropped it a few times. Make no mistake though if it had the problem, I would love to walk into a google store and walk out with a new or repaired phone, instead of waiting for a phone to ship to me, and then shipping mine back.

11. dimas

Posts: 3419; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Sony engineers be like: "Yo apple and samsung, learn design from xperia's big chin.

25. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Xperia. Poor selling ugly phone that uses the same design for a decade. Yeah good luck with

32. dimas

Posts: 3419; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Hey numbskull, why bring up the sales topic? I'm also making fun of xperia's big chin. Please use your brain before writing your comment.

14. DolmioMan

Posts: 346; Member since: Jan 08, 2018

From an engineering standpoint he’s probably right, but I’ve seen far more complaints of vertical line failures from Samsung users than from the iPhone X line which shouldn’t be the case when the iPhones sell far more units.

15. Vokilam

Posts: 1369; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

.... and has no chin.

18. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1473; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Then you clearly haven't looked very hard. Apple's own forum has a lot of topics on VLD for the iPhone X.

21. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Samsung cares about their customers, whole Apple wants going to spend a fortune for a more fragile piece of junk, and then charge more than it cost to make to repair or replace it. Samsung is simply the. Better company of the too. The fact Samsung makes it's own stuff if why they make a bit less profit. But you dont need profit when you sit at the top. You just need to make more than everyone else and they do this perfectly. Samsung phones are of better quality. Drop any fragile product and the risk for breakage is high. But at least Samsung had this in mind with design, while Apple basically doesn't GAF.

31. rouyal

Posts: 1583; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

So Samsung had drop durability in mind with its curved display edges? Get real, everyone knows who’s the most fragile of the two.

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