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LG explains why it dislikes curved display panels, and why there isn't one on the G6

Posted: , by Rado Slavov Rado Slavov

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LG G6 is among the first 'all-screen' phones we're going to see in 2017

The biggest design trend in phones this year is going to involve manufacturers using massive display panels, while shrinking the bezels around them to almost nonexistence. LG is first out of the gate with exactly such a proposition: its 2017 flagship, the G6, is ready to roll, and guess what – it's rocking a stunning 5.7" screen in the body of a phone no bigger than last year's 5.3" G5!

Samsung and Apple are both believed to also follow similar design approaches with their own flagships later in the year, but if we take a closer look at the rumors, there's an important detail that pops up: while Samsung and Apple are expected to implement curved display panels into their handsets, LG is unapologetically sticking with a good old flat one. Hate it or love it.

Curved display panels are a sophisticated subject: while they serve a mostly aesthetic purpose, some could argue they help manufacturers build phones with better screen to body ratios – allowing bigger diagonals in narrower bodies. This claim does have some weight, although we could argue how much of a benefit there is in inflating the diagonal figure while also skewing the picture along the edges. Anyway, it appears that LG has had some bigger considerations when it came to whether it should join the curved panel bandwagon, or stick with a 'classic' flat screen. Here's what made LG's product team ultimately decide on mounting a flat LCD display.

LG gave us the opportunity to spend some quality time with members of the team who made the LG G6 possible, and you may be surprised at some of the arguments they had against curved screens. 

REASON #1: Curved "edge" screens are uncomfortable to hold


LG argues that using 'edge' screens and 'edge' interfaces can be tiring cause muscle strain.
According to LG, curved "edge" screens, not unlike the ones Samsung is using in recent phones like the Galaxy S7 edge, are simply uncomfortable to hold. And while Samsung has made tangible improvements in terms of comfort when operating an 'edge' handset, the experience is not yet ideal. The Galaxy Note 7 introduced some welcome progress in this area, but... well, you know how that ended up. Not only are curved screens more uncomfortable, LG says, but they can also cause more tension build-up and tiredness in hand muscles when used for longer periods, which may or may not be the case, we aren't sure. Let's say there could be some truth to this if some sort of 'edge' interface is in place, requiring you to interact more with border areas of the screen.

A side effect of the edge panel can also be an increased number of accidental taps, which could prove to be annoying, indeed.

REASON #2: Curved "edge" screens are easier to crack


Curved glass along the edges of a handset could mean frequent trips to the service center. | source - Cnet
It's hard to argue here – curved screen panels do seem to be easier to crack. Because more of the expected parts of the phone's body are now made of glass (read: the sides and edges), LG says there's an increased risk of screen cracking, should you hit or drop your device. Makes sense. Is the fancier look of the phone worth the bigger risk of shattering, and increased costs of service? That's obviously the customer's call.

So LG believes that by using a flat touchscreen panel on the G6, it's doing consumers a favor by delivering a handset that is both more comfortable and reliable. Both points make a lot of sense, but what we're wondering here is if these design decisions are going to truly resonate with customers, enough to make them look away from Samsung's (and later Apple's) shiny, curved pebbles. Time will tell, but until then, we're just going to enjoy LG's more pragmatic approach with the undeniably awesome G6.

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This story is part of: LG at MWC 2017(17 updates)

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