Mind the notch! Pros and cons of the iPhone X interface vs iPhone 8 (apps, video, browsing)

Apple employed some clever solutions for the interface navigation on its first "bezel-less" handset, the iPhone X. Instead of hitting a home key, you simply swipe from the bottom to get to base, or hold the touch to access your recent apps. 

Alternatively, you can swipe left and right at the bottom where the home indicator is to go back and forth between apps, neat. Pulling down on the left or right of the "notch" will get you the control and notification centers, while holding the lock key will start Siri. 

That's it, with a few little gestures, Apple negated the demand for a physical home button, got around the bezel "notch" at the top that is the only thing eating into the 5.85" display space, and at the same time avoided replicating Android's virtual navbar that's been around for a while. When it comes to actually displaying stuff on the iPhone X, though, developers are advised that their apps need to account for the new aspect ratio and the notch that eats into the actual display area. Here are the troubles and UI differences that native and third-party apps are supposed to adjust to on the "all-screen" iPhone X.

Display area

We know you are curious how does the new bezel design and aspect ratio of the iPhone X affect its actual viewable screen size when compared to the iPhone 8/Plus. Well, it offers about 20% extra vertical space than the iPhone 8, says Apple, but the screen area is a tad smaller than what the 8 Plus has - about 12.8 vs 13 square inches - on account of the difference in aspect ratios and the notch.


The iPhone X is wiggling into the trendy 2:1 Univisium aspect ratio that most new movies and TV series are being shot with. While it technically has 1125 x 2436 pixels resolution (2.17 aspect), taking into account the status bar around the notch, which Apple advises app developers not to cover unless it will contribute to the experience, the iPhone X covers the Univisium standard to the letter. Samsung does something similar with its 2.05 ratio on the S8/S8+/Note 8, while the LG V30 directly goes to 2:1 (1440x2880 resolution).

That's all fine and dandy, but how many movies and TV series are there recorded in 2:1? The answer is not that many, and for now the vast majority of content has been made with other standards, including YouTube clips. The result is that on all these new flagships, the iPhone X included, standard videos get cropped, letterboxed or stretched out of proprtion - pick your poison. How did Apple address this issue? 

Well, it seems that regular vids show letterboxed, but double-tap on the screen, and they fill out the display completely, save for the notch area, of course. Some may find this distracting, but remember that the S8 or the V30 also crop, stretch or box, there's just no other way around it for now. Letterboxing will diminish the viewable area probably to around the size the video is on the iPhone 8, while stretching will bring you the notch eyesore while watching - again, pick your poison.


Reading and browsing is where the new aspect ratio shines on phones like the iPhone X, S8 or V30. Since we get a much larger vertical space compared to the 16:9 brethren, the iPhone X displays more of the page than the 8 Plus, despite having a similar screen area, not to mention the iPhone 8, where you will have to scroll much more to read the same amount of content.


Well, here things get trickier. Apple is advising all developers to account for the notch, and not to cover the status bar area on its left and right unless it is necessary, and brings something meaningful to the interface of their app. This means that for the majority of apps, their display will end up to the notch, reducing the actual screen area from the official 5.85" screen diagonal. Moreover, Apple warns devs to be aware of the margins at the rounded display corners, and at the home bar indicator at the bottom, hiding it only in situations where it is needed, like watching vids or pics. Mind the gap, as the Brits would say.

Landscape mode

One thing is becoming increasingly clear - landscape mode on the iPhone X will present a bigger challenge, as even Safari appears with white bars on the sides, depending on the website background, and as a result the vertical space of the iPhone X in that position is said to be in the realm of iPhone 8. Check out all the ways that developers are battling with the new iPhone X interface in order to circumvent or incorporate the "bezel-less" design:


Long story short, the new aspect ratio of the iPhone X presents the same challenges as it does on other flagships with it like the S8 or V30, with the added trouble of working around the notch, as on the also-"bezel-less" Essential Phone. It does have disadvantages when watching "standard" video, but is better for reading or browsing, while if an app is designed well, the display outcome is neutral. 

Given that such phones are now Apple's, Samsung's and LG's flagships, though, the trend is clear, and, when comparing the iPhone X interface to the iPhone 8, we may want to keep in mind that one is made to be futureproof, while the other is here to satisfy the legacy iOS crowd. It will be interesting to observe and mark when apps and media made with the new aspect ratio in mind will receive enough critical mass to make 16:9 handsets look strange in their turn. What do you think?

source: Apple

Related phones

iPhone X
  • Display 5.8" 1125 x 2436 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A11 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2390 MHz
  • Storage 256GB
  • Battery 2716 mAh(21h 3G talk time)
iPhone 8
  • Display 4.7" 750 x 1334 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A11 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2390 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 1821 mAh(14h talk time)



1. abdoualgeria

Posts: 928; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

Yet phonearena rating of iPhone X will be 9.7 ...

23. ibend2

Posts: 159; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

When Samsung release S8, they getting salty..https://www.phonearena.com/news/You-got-cropped-Galaxy-S8-and-S8-video-display-grief-comes-in-stages-heres-why_id93264 And when apple did something even worse (just look at that weird crop, or huge bezels of letterbox) they defend it..

25. omnitech

Posts: 1131; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

lol Double standards like a mother f. Well, to be fair, Apple are experts at working the double standards and ALL mobile phone media to an extent abides by these double standards, its just that iphonearena and the Verge are the absolute worst.

31. whatev

Posts: 2444; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

Yet you keep clicking compulsively especially on apple articles, you are doing amazing sweetie, keep clicking and making them rich, you’re really smart

33. ibend2

Posts: 159; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

It's not like they'll lost any money if I didn't visit those articles.. And just like most commenters here, I use adblock..

37. whatev

Posts: 2444; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

And what can you tell me about the fact that you are a regular visitor on this site which is supposedly biased towards a brand you hate?

34. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 896; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

That notch should put iPhone X over the top. They should score it 10 out of 10 for it's ugliness alone.

2. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Apple seems to be proud of the notch. They design a entire phone around a notch it seems.

35. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 896; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

You are right, they designed the phone around the notch. It was an easy solution to an even easier problem. Their stupid engineers couldn't figure out how to fit a forward facing camera, proximity sensor and speaker onto the bezel, so they put a notch into the screen to accommodate it. Smart right? That kind of thinking should have cut a hole on the bottom to accommodate the home button as well, so that is kind of counter intuitive.

3. iphoneXIII unregistered


14. abdoualgeria

Posts: 928; Member since: Jul 27, 2015


15. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1529; Member since: Nov 28, 2016


4. Sakeem

Posts: 865; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

The notch makes me think of a screen protector. Just like the flat tire on the Moto 360 watches, I don't like the notch in the Apple X screen.

5. YeahYeah

Posts: 251; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

This is just bad.. worse than i thought.. damn they messed up..

10. pecapello

Posts: 108; Member since: Feb 19, 2015

I know, right ? The notch ruined the phone as a whole. I was seriously considering getting one but the use of the "ears" are a deal breaker to me. Besides, when I saw that the iPhone 8 Plus battery capacity is 2.675 mah I decided to stick with my iPhone 7 Plus another year - which is powered by a 2.900mah battery. It's actually a good thing for me since I'll save some cash.

6. cmdacos

Posts: 4383; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Hahahhhahhha that is an atrocious design choice. Wtf. Also, you show iPhone pulling YouTube to full screen (minus the notch of course, Jesus Christ) but you fail to do the same (you mention it but fail to show the better implementation) with the s8/+/N8 example as well (with no notch tumor btw)and instead make it seem like you are constricted with letterbox bars. Nice work hack authors.

7. slannmage

Posts: 289; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

Get rid of the face scanning crap, then the Notch goes away and you put the finger print scanner in the power button.... not so hard Johnny Ive you hack fraud.

8. TheOracle1

Posts: 2340; Member since: May 04, 2015

Full screen is the operative word for me and the iPhone X doesn't have one. The Mi Mix 2 does.

9. omnitech

Posts: 1131; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

Woah! Never thought it was possible but that letterbox is worse than the notch. The LG and GS8 black bars were very minor. This is terrible. Lol

11. tedkord

Posts: 17509; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Actually, most movies are filmed in 1.85:1 or 2.39:1, that's why on your 16:9 TV you have to choose between pan and scan or black bars at the top and bottom. 2:1 will minimize black bars for movies while not hurting 16:9 content.

24. ibend2

Posts: 159; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

And this phone can't even display 2:1 content without cropping it with weird shape

12. jack11141

Posts: 73; Member since: Sep 30, 2015

Fragmentation on iOS. No more Android fragmentation excuse.

13. jack11141

Posts: 73; Member since: Sep 30, 2015

Fragmentation on iOS. No more Android fragmentation excuse.

16. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1529; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

That notch is really going to annoy some users while gaming.

17. youssef44

Posts: 547; Member since: Apr 29, 2014

without this s**t will be much better!

20. HDguru7

Posts: 3; Member since: Aug 06, 2012

Have they added the ability to record videos in stereo yet??

21. Af1rPA

Posts: 712; Member since: Jun 12, 2014



Posts: 120; Member since: Sep 30, 2015

So when watching a video in 16:9 aspect ration the usable area on the IPhone X will be around 5.2?

26. Mr_Maverick

Posts: 18; Member since: Nov 06, 2016

Thank You phonearena for always posting biased articles? Do you employ your staff on a condition to worship iphone? No matter how pathetic it is? Or is Apple secretly funding you?

27. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

If you don't like it, GO AWAY.

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