It's (almost) all-screen: 2017's hottest bezel-less phones, ranked

It's (almost) all-screen: 2017's hottest bezel-less phones, ranked

2017 has undoubtedly turned into the year of the bezel-less smartphone, to the point where it's easy to forget that a year and a half ago most phones didn't look like they were taken straight out of an 80s sci-fi flick. Just for fun, take a look at this 2015 article of ours listing some of the highest screen-to-body ratio devices on the market — oh my, those bezels! The horror!

But why not explore this space once more? After all, the competition will be considerably more fierce (and, admit it, better-looking) this time. Plus, there's several different ways manufacturers go about maximizing screen real estate, which will be quite fun to explore in detail.

But before we start, it bears mentioning that measuring screen-to-body ratio is quite hard these days, since displays have started picking up features like rounded corners and notches. So while we try our best to be as close to the real measurements as possible, we may be off by about a percent or so with some devices, though this shouldn't impact the ranking too much.

Essential Phone: 85%


It's (almost) all-screen: 2017's hottest bezel-less phones, ranked

The winner in this year's bezel wars (unless, of course, someone doesn't surprise us with a better device at the eleventh hour) is also one of the year's most conflicting devices, the Essential Phone — or PH-1, depending on whom you ask. While the brand-new company dropped the ball in terms of camera and performance (our own review gave it a 4 for these and other problems), it's hard to argue against the device being one of the most intriguing releases of the year.

And the reason it's achieved a screen-to-body ratio of a whopping 85 percent are a couple: it only has a single thick bezel at the bottom, but rather than thicken it further by shoving all of its sensors inside, it also has a small display cutout at the top. Which is an interesting decision, although many users have expressed concerns with the usability problems posed by it.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8, S8, S8+: 83-84%


It's (almost) all-screen: 2017's hottest bezel-less phones, ranked

Meanwhile, the second place is taken by Samsung's Galaxy S8 duo, which was also one of the first to put the bezel-less fad into the mainstream. But unlike the Essential, there are two thin bezels at the top and bottom with no notch in sight, which makes this ranking even more impressive. Or in other words, manufacturers can do just fine by taking the old school approach to increasing relative screen size, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.

Okay, almost: it is worth noting that Samsung's choice to go all in on curved displays has had a positive impact on its devices' screen-to-body ratio as results in noticeably decreases side bezels. Also, it provides a striking visual experience which further enhances the effect (though, of course, there are people who would prefer to  have their displays flat).

But despite its extremely similar design, the newer Note 8 actually has a lower screen-to-body ratio than its older siblings, although the difference is less than a percent. And the overall result is one of the most comfortable to use bezel-less experiences a phone of this size can offer, so we can't really complain.

Apple iPhone X: 82%


It's (almost) all-screen: 2017's hottest bezel-less phones, ranked

Appearances can be deceiving, and the iPhone X is all the proof you'll need: its display sure looks like it's covering the entirety of its front, and yet the numbers say otherwise. Its measly (okay, not really) 82-percent screen-to-body ratio is a result of a combination of factors: there is, of course, the issue with the notch perched at the top of the display, but there's also the bezels — Apple has done a great job of covering these up, but they're still there if you know to look for them.

But the iPhone X's notch is considerably thicker than that of the Essential Phone's, and for a fairly good reason. The brand-new Face ID tech requires a special-purpose IR camera and dot illuminator, though there's also your regular selfie cam, proximity and ambient lighting sensors, as well as an earpiece (this is still a phone, after all). And while we have yet to see for ourselves whether the notch is a good tradeoff for removing Touch ID, we imagine this particular design decision is here to stay for a while.

LG G6 and LG V30: 79-81%


It's (almost) all-screen: 2017's hottest bezel-less phones, ranked

But while Samsung's bezel-less devices have had considerably better success, its rival LG was actually the first to introduce the new-ish form factor to the West with its flagship G6. and there was quite a bit of difference between it and the S8, especially in the design, since LG opted not to go the curved display route. The end result was a device with a slightly lower ratio of 71 percent, but one that looked quite good nonetheless.

However, the brand-new V30 and its 81 percent are the true champions in LG land: a two percent increase within the same smartphone generation is quite impressive, especially considering LG used no tricks like notches or curved displays. And even though the V30 is bigger than the G6, its bezels are actually thinner on all four sides — so major props to LG for pulling that off.

LG Q6 and the curious case of the bezel-less mid-ranger


It's (almost) all-screen: 2017's hottest bezel-less phones, ranked

But just like all major ideas in smartphones, the bezel-less design has started trickling down to mid-rangers as well. Kind of? Right now, there's only one such device sold outside of China, and it's the LG Q6 (or Q6+, or Q6α — boy, does LG like giving its device different names).

And at least when looked at the front, the Q6 is almost exactly the same as the G6 (though the rear is an entirely different story). And the math agrees: the Q6 has the same 79 percent screen-to-body ratio as its big brother, but stuffed in a smaller package.

Those looking for similar options should be happy to know that Samsung isn't far back behind its rival — the latest rumors show that its A series lineup will have at least two bezel-less models of its own,  and we imagine other manufacturers will also start jumping on that train soon.

The Chinese contenders


It's (almost) all-screen: 2017's hottest bezel-less phones, ranked

But there's a whole bunch of other devices fitting under the bezel-less design umbrella, with their common link being their country of origin — China. As such, most of those aren't officially sold in the West and usually remain unknown to local consumers.

...With one exception. Huawei's Mate series just got a new refresh with the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro, both which boast a screen-to-body ratio of about 82 percent. In fact, Huawei claims this is more than that of the iPhone X — which could actually be correct (as mentioned in the introduction, our measurements aren't perfect), though the differences quoted were less than half a percent. However, we've been burned by similar claims before, so for now we'll refrain from taking Huawei's claims as gospel.

But this is far from the only interesting bezel-less device from the country. Take the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2, for example — it's the sequel to one of the first devices following the design trend, but even on its own the single-bezel design on the MIX 2 is quite unique. Its 81 percent screen-to-body ratio isn't too shabby either, though it is still lower than its predecessor's 84 percent.

Other players like Vivo and Oppo have also jumped on the bandwagon with their X20 and F5 (not yet official), respectively — and we're expecting their sister company OnePlus to do the same very soon. Then there's also Sharp, which is technically a Japanese company, but whose bezel-less Aquos S2 is a China exclusive, or even the countless other, lesser-known companies also participating in the bezel war.

Conclusion


But looking at all these phones, there seem to be two main approaches to maximizing this particular (albeit arbitrary) metric: there's the conventional method, which is doing away with as many bezels as possible leaving only one or two horizontal ones, and the other is cutting a notch in the display and placing the front camera and various other sensors in it. Or if you're Samsung, there's also the option of curving the sides of the display for an even greater effect.

Or in summary, the bezel-less fad is definitely here to stay, and almost everyone has either already tried their hand in it, or are going to do so very soon. So whether you like it or not, your next phone will have considerably more relative screen estate than your last.

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45 Comments

1. Medoogalaxy

Posts: 232; Member since: May 25, 2017

S8 the revolution, each one has his own taste, but it is no different that he is the most beautiful curved screen, front and back Masterpiece Genius design, samsung mastered designs, no notch or bezels on the sids. S8 he first phone removes the edges of and the reason that the technical they saw is the practical and succeeded in removed properly without the work of any damage to experience the user, also Samsung is available tools to extend the video and applications fully and take advantage of the new aspect ratio.

5. amasog

Posts: 552; Member since: Aug 22, 2013

Remote control is the most beautiful? Really?

11. pecapello

Posts: 105; Member since: Feb 19, 2015

Exactly.

15. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Must make you feel like a man to just parrot what others say. Don't like it, you don't have too. But you don't have to trash it, because you like something else. Liking one thing, doesn't mean you have to hate the other. Just because I may hate idiots like you, doesn't mean I have to hate everyone else too.

38. ecmedic4

Posts: 520; Member since: May 02, 2013

Yes Techie, liking one thing doesn’t mean you have to hate on another or trash something because you like something else. Please take your OWN advice and apply it to yourself. You do that exact thing pretty much every day. You trash the iPhone every day because you don’t like it. But if anyone says anything remotely negative about Samsung you get all up in arms about it. So your being a total hypocrite with that comment. I couldn’t care any less if you don’t like the iPhone. But when you sit and trash it every day, then tell someone else “you don’t have to trash it, because you like something else”. Your nothing more than a hypocritical troll. And have no right to tell someone that when you do the same thing.

43. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

HAH! First off my name isn't "techie". And next. I own an iPhone so I can talk bad about it from an owner perspective. Not from a fanboy perspective. Also the notch on the iPhone X as an example, I don't need to own that to talk bad about it. Its not even about liking or disliking it. That notch deserves to be ridiculed.

28. tedkord

Posts: 17094; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Pull down your skirt, your hurt is showing.

30. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

Your comment is the most idiotic? Really?

23. adecvat

Posts: 600; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

First was Sharp Aquos Crysta; X

24. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3938; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

LG does bezel-less the best!

31. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

Meh.......

2. ryq24

Posts: 873; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Seems Sony is the only one who did not get the memo.

19. KingSam

Posts: 1346; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

And HTC.

3. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2253; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

I'm wondering when they calcuate the screen to body ratio of the S8/Note 8 if they take into account the fact that it's a curved screen. In other words, the actual screen size is larger than a flat device due to the extra curved part. I'm just curious if they take that into consideration with the calculations or not. If it isn't taken into consideration, I wonder what the percentage of screen to body ratio is of just the flat part.

7. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3090; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Becareful there. Criticizing the Sam fans’ deity will get you spanked really hard. Watch out.

29. tedkord

Posts: 17094; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

He's not criticizing. If it weren't taken into consideration, the the ratio is artificially low, meaning the screen to body ratio might be even better. Either way, it wouldn't make a huge difference.

37. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2253; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

I would hope not. I mean I am a fan of certain brands too, but I also accept criticism. I mean if you're the type to buy a product and then bash on anyone that has anything negative to say about said product, what does that say about you? To me, it says you're very insecure about your buying choice. I have bought Apple products, Android devices, Windows Phones, and even Palm when they were around. I've liked and disliked certain things about each of them. If someone told me tomorrow "Wow why would you buy a phone with such huge bezels?" I would respond "You're right, it does have huge bezels and that's the part I wish could be improved upon, but let me tell you what I do like." I feel like a lot of people on this site have gotten so hypersensitive in the past few months. I don't know if it's just the new people coming on board or what, but everyone just needs to stop name calling and instead have a discussion or dialogue as to why they like or dislike certain things.

39. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3090; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

You're right. Nothing is immune to criticism but the fans here are getting hypersensitive about touching their beloved product of choice. They should be more civil.

9. Nutcase4u2

Posts: 42; Member since: Oct 15, 2015

I was wondering the same thing. If you took into account the entire screen up to the bezels then I think it would still be around the same percentage. But... for making the accurate percentage claims posted above I think they're just using a top-down approach where the sides have almost no bezel and it's only on top and bottom.

10. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

It's a strange one because the curve is technically a distortion, it bends the light and therefore the image, you also will nearly always have a light reflection on the edge of the curve, so looks pretty but not always ideal in use... I'd imagine the measurement is taken from the widest part of the screen and just ignores the curve as if taken from a straight-ahead photo.

16. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

What's being distorted? I've been using curved screens since the S6 edge. All the content is in the middle of the display. The only thing that spills over the sides is your background image and if you are watching a video. Even though the video spills over and is somewhat distorted, its not easy to even see the distortion, and if you are actually looking at the movie, 99.9% of the movie in in the middle. The screen is measure from the visible corner to the other visible corner. Yes also light does reflect on the curve, as it does on any glass. A simple shift of the phone and this is no longer an issue. The reflection is cause by light hitting the light bouncing from the display itself. If the OEM's would put enough reflective coating on the display, this wouldn't happen. But then to much of it makes the display to dark. But you don't sound like you own a curved phone, and the things you mention, well at least the distortion I have yet to see, because for one I'm not staring at the curve because there is nothign there to look at. Also the distortion isn't as apparent due to the very high resolution. If this was a 720p display, then it woudl be obvious because it would be less pixels for he image and thus the distortion would be more obvious. Much like if you bend a low resolution drawing or text. But at 1440p+, unless you are using a magnifying glass, you won;t see any distortion because there are enough pixels for the image to remain constant. I know you don't like curved displays and that's fine, not everyone does, but repeating something that through everyday usage isn't even visible, is more than just dislike.

20. kiko007

Posts: 7469; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Bruh...

22. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

I've got no issue with curved displays, they look nice. I'm just talking factually about curved glass and how it bends/reflects light - that's physics. I don't use an S7/8 so I've not got any experience of it, good or bad aside from having a look at a friend's one. I don't like big phones so unless some manufacturers put some effort into smaller phones I won't be buying any current flagships - annoyingly the smaller phones are the ones with most to gain from reduced bezel designs but it's just not being done. I think it's a pretty stupid move, I know plenty who don't care about price but DO want a high spec device they can comfortably use one-handed, most are still using iPhone 5/SE's (myself included). @HansP (below) - The notch on an iPhone X (or Essential phone) isn't distorting content, it's obscuring it, not the same thing. I'm not buying an iPhone X so personally I don't really care.

35. ShaikhJGI

Posts: 356; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

Dude where you get all the Patience from? I mean seriously? :O

18. HansP

Posts: 542; Member since: Oct 16, 2011

Here's a thing that definitely distorts the content on a screen. The Notch.

13. Lois13

Posts: 61; Member since: Nov 20, 2015

Pretty certain they don't because screen to body ratio calculation involves aspect ratio, screen diagonal, phone width and phone height. Curved screen edges and curved screen corners don't get calculated. Neither does curved corners of the phones body such as the S8.

27. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

Curved or not, technically they are part of the screen space so yeah i would say they did included curved area in measurements.

4. DFranch

Posts: 511; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

I eventually came to hate the curved edges on the S7 Edge. That's why I went with the V30.

6. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3090; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Stupid trend that needs to die.

12. pecapello

Posts: 105; Member since: Feb 19, 2015

It won’t. Bezels will only get thinner and thinner. Deal with it.

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