Don't panic, the hole on the Galaxy S10's display won't be that bad

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Don't panic, the hole on the Galaxy S10's display won't be that bad
It seems like “the notch”, which was the bane of smartphone fans in 2018 is about to get upgraded to “the punch hole” in 2019, which is again stirring controversies in comments and preliminary reviews. Personally, I did not understand the cause for concern in the past, neither can I agree with it now.

But what am I talking about?


Real short and sweet — “the notch” is the cutout (or cut-in) you can see at the top of modern smartphones. Since displays have gotten taller in the past couple of years, with aspect ratios of 18:9 and above becoming the norm, manufacturers still needed room to fit a selfie camera and earpiece (as well as the Face ID sensors, in the case of Apple’s iPhones), so instead of a top bezel, they have a “notch”, cutting into the display to house these hardware elements.



“The punch hole”, as it has been nicknamed, is not a cutout, but the camera itself embedded into the display, with on-screen content surrounding it. It seems Samsung’s next Galaxy flagships will have that, instead of notches, which has some fans up in arms.

The notch hides on-screen content, so will the punch hole. Will it?


I never subscribed to any of the notch worries. The main complaint about it is that it would eat into the on-screen content. Which on-screen content?

When using the phone as normal, in portrait view, the notch is just as deep as the phone’s notification strip, basically implemented as a part of it. Sure, OK, there’s not a lot of room for notification icons now, but nobody likes icon clutter up there anyway.



What about watching clips in landscape? Most media is currently in 16:9, which means that there will be two black bars on the sides of your screen, boxing the video in. One of these black bars coincides with the dreaded notch. OK, if you are watching film, I concede that 21:9 is the most popular format, in which case the picture will extend enough to be obstructed by the notch. But do we really watch films on our phones on a regular basis?

Games and other apps? Sure, I have noticed the notch eating into content in a couple of games. Like taking a bite out of the text in Vainglory’s tutorial — now that’s not very cool. But I dare argue that this design has been so popular throughout 2018, with multiple Android phones adopting "the notch", that it really falls on the app developers to make sure that these bloopers don’t happen.



Same with the punch hole


From all the leaks and renders that we’ve seen of the Galaxy S10, and from the couple of existing phones that have already been announced, we can see that the “punch hole”, just like the notch, resides at the top of the screen, embedded in the notifications bar. So, there aren’t really that many cases where it would break your experience unless you watch blockbuster movies on your handset on a daily basis. Even then, Samsung's UI might readjust the image to hide the hole, as reported here (which doesn't sound all that thrilling — I hope we are not talking about some major letterboxing here).


Hey, it even leaves tons of spare room for notification icons up there!

So, don’t panic, it’s not that bad


I agree that the hole design might look a bit awkward or off-putting at first sight. It’s not exactly the futuristic, all-screen smartphone we were all hoping to see. With reports that manufacturers are looking for ways to hide the camera under active screen pixels, we may not even have to “put up” with the hole for that long.

But for the time being, it’s not really as bad as the Internet might be making it out to be. Don’t worry, it won’t ruin your games and it won’t hide the videos of your favorite YouTubers. In fact, in a couple of days’ use, you will hardly notice it.

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35 Comments

1. SmartPhoneMobiles

Posts: 176; Member since: Oct 16, 2016

black hoole in the phoone :)

2. paul.k

Posts: 293; Member since: Jul 17, 2014

Wo-o-ont you come... and wash away the bezels

8. NexusX

Posts: 613; Member since: May 16, 2013

am i the only person who thinks that punch-hole is somehow worse than the notch? think about all the wasted real-estate around the hole and the issue this would create for ui. especially with android phones, you goinng to get all these different implementation of punch-hole with different phone makers, This is a ui designer's worst nightmare. now where the hell are we supposed to put the app buttons?

10. cmdacos

Posts: 4110; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

A teardrop notch would be better but anything else, I think the hole is better although I would rather not have either if given a choice.

16. sissy246

Posts: 7081; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Agree I feel the same way cmdacos.

18. Cat97

Posts: 1863; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Sorry, theardrop notches are just ugly. A regular notch looks much better.

22. sissy246

Posts: 7081; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

LMAO No it doesn't Tear drop is much better and takes up way less screen.

12. paul.k

Posts: 293; Member since: Jul 17, 2014

Fair point @NexusX

23. wickedwilly

Posts: 668; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

Your thought process is confused, compared to large notches like those on the iPhone and Pixel, the small hole takes up far less real estate. All the holes I have seen, sit in the area where the status bar is located, however, there is still ample space to house the most important information, unlike on the iPhone or Pixel. I understand that different positions for the hole may cause extra work for developers, but the same applies but worse for differently sized notches.

34. TheOracle1

Posts: 2215; Member since: May 04, 2015

The Vivo Nex has the best solution for now. End of discussion. I would wager that consumers use their phones to watch YouTube more than anything and since you can go full screen on YouTube now it sort of blows his theory away.

3. BLUEBLASTER

Posts: 926; Member since: Feb 23, 2014

We know it's not that bad. It's the double hole in the S10 Plus which is what we don't like.

4. paul.k

Posts: 293; Member since: Jul 17, 2014

The point is the same, though. Will it really obstruct anything? Yeah, it looks a bit weird, especially on the leak-based images we have now, but a month after release, it'll probably be "the new normal".

5. j_grouchy

Posts: 173; Member since: Nov 08, 2016

I guess my take is...why not just make it a full notch? I mean, what is showing around the thin area around the sides of the hole? Surely nothing useful? Seems like they're just making a notch while still being able to say "see, we didn't make a notch!" I guess they made the haircut joke when the iPhone X came out, so they kinda forced themselves to avoid the full notch.

11. NexusX

Posts: 613; Member since: May 16, 2013

At least ios can standardize UI design to accomodate the notch. when every android phone maker starts punching holes left, right, top and bottom, how do developers are going design ui for them?

6. AngelicusMaximus

Posts: 674; Member since: Dec 20, 2017

When you have to preface something with "it's not that bad", that tells me that while it isn't the worst solution, it's definitely not the best. Hole punches are the answer to a problem that doesn't need to exist.

7. Xxtoxicskittlexx

Posts: 189; Member since: Jun 11, 2018

I dont mind this little punch hole at all. Not as obstrusive as the notch.

9. bucknassty

Posts: 1325; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

why not just have thin bezels with good amount of open speaker grill for good dual speakers? have the necessary component for flight of time items and there you have it... a great phone

13. Leo_MC

Posts: 7216; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

The "notch" is a invention of the press. When companies decided to extend the display, they designed a maximum way to do it. Essential - which had no special face recognition system - left out only the front facing camera, while Apple designed the display around the entire Face ID system. Going back to holes, I liked what I have seen on Huawei leaks and images (I don't remember the model), I didn't liked the way Samsung designed it, but for me it's a psychological thing: I'm ok with a bigger border (S/Note 9 style), I'm not ok with a hole in the display.

24. wickedwilly

Posts: 668; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

The notch is real, not an invention of the press and certainly not an extension of the display but an intrusion into it, as are teardrops and holes. The drive is for 100% screen to body ratio, a notch reduces the screen to body ration far more than a teardrop or hole.

27. Leo_MC

Posts: 7216; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

You are saying that manufacturers are taking the panels, they cut them and made bigger displays? Yes, the purpose is a 100% stb ratio and the first step to get there was to extend the display, by creating ears around the ff camera.

31. wickedwilly

Posts: 668; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

"No I am not saying that manufacturers are taking the panels, they cut them and made bigger displays? The first stop that happened way before the notch was to reduce the bezels, whether it be on the top, bottom or sides. This was being done while the iPhone stuck with its all around the bezel and huge chin and forehead. When Apple eventually started to catch up they got rid of the bottom bezel extended the height of the screen, then TOOK OUT a big chunk from the screen area gained by the notch. We have had this discussion and you know full well the S9 and X have virtually the same screen size at around 5.8", but the X has a smaller usable screen area and worse screen to body ration because of the notch.

33. Leo_MC

Posts: 7216; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

What "screen area"? There was no screen area at the top of the iPhone, it was only bezel that Apple shrunk, by EXTENDING the screen around the ff camera.

14. Godlymansean

Posts: 337; Member since: Apr 14, 2017

If Apple had done this everyone would flip ever since the first leak. Just a weird design choice imo. Gonna be another great Galaxy phone, but I don't understand the off centered hole.

25. frozz

Posts: 32; Member since: Jul 10, 2017

it's fugly as f**K just like the notch or teardrop ... sammy please don't be an apple s**t. We want a good nice phone not s**tty apple style fancy brick !

30. ebilcake

Posts: 1227; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

I'll pass, I'll hold onto the Note 9 next year. The hole is a better solution to the notch but not by much.

32. uvaman

Posts: 45; Member since: Jan 14, 2013

For me this article is again PA trick :) We all know this year Apple will do the notch and they are protecting this design as usual they protect everything Apple does. NexusX I agree but thats true for this year, next year only Apple will end up using notch for flagship phones.

36. monoke

Posts: 1157; Member since: Mar 14, 2015

Gawd awful design choice. Putting a distracting eyesore on a screen around a front cam in which majority of users care for selfies 0.05% of the time. Either find a better solution or don't do it all. Small upper bezel been fine for years. It'll be fine til u figure out the ultimate solution. Not this half-assed cyclops Frankenstein abomination.

37. riteshrkm

Posts: 150; Member since: Apr 15, 2015

i still don't get it whats the obsession with going bezeless. It doesnt help in looks neither anyway in durability. Note 9 has perfect design, just reduce the top n bottom bezel lil bit n u have a great looking Phone which it is already!

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