This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Samsung’s latest flagship family, the Galaxy S20
, has a lot going for it: 5G, fast processors and memory, big batteries and, of course, all the cameras! But none of that is what made me excited about the new phones. In fact, for me, the nice surprise the Galaxy S20 and Co. brought wasn’t even considered important enough by Samsung to be mentioned in the announcement presentation. And I can understand why.
How to fix your mistake without admitting you’ve made one: a lesson by Samsung
I know you’re wondering what I’m talking about and I won’t keep you on the edge of your seats anymore. My favorite change in the Galaxy S20 series is the smaller display edge curve.
The curved edge of the Galaxy S10+ vs that of the Galaxy S20+
In the past, I’ve talked about how much I don’t like curved display edges before and how manufacturers adopting that trend in full force is not a good thing. But while Huawei, Xiaomi and OnePlus are releasing flagships with curved edges, Samsung has been quietly moving the other way.
We saw the first step last year with the Galaxy S10
devices. The radius of the curve was considerably smaller but the annoying reflections and color distortion were still there, so it wasn’t good enough.
Reflections along the edges on the Galaxy S10 vs the Galaxy S20, still some reflection but not nearly as intrusive
But this year! This year it’s something else. The new models have a curve so small, the display is practically flat. It’s the best of both worlds. No one can point a finger at Samsung and say they abandoned curved displays after bragging about them for so long.
At the same time, users are getting more usable screen real estate and fewer annoyances. Curved edges often lead to accidental touches or problems navigating apps (games especially) that have buttons along the edges and haven’t taken into account models with curved displays. And more aggressive curves come with additional problems...
Don’t go chasing waterfalls
With this move, Samsung not only pleased its fans but also separated the design of its phones from their Chinese competitors. It’s like subtly saying to them “Go on, learn your lesson the hard way.” And I hope they do because the sooner the curve-edge-display fad ends, the better.
The so-called waterfall displays might look cool but as soon as you have one in your hand, you realize that when it comes to touchscreens, utility is more important than appearance. The Huawei Mate 30 Pro’s display goes so far down the side that the volume buttons had to be removed and replaced with touch functionality which is a major pain in the butt to use.
Huawei has gone too far with the display-bending
I know that besides displays and camera bumps, smartphone designers don’t have much to work with, but change for the sake of change is not a great strategy.
I like to think that what Samsung did proves that companies actually do listen to feedback from their users. While we’ll never see the headphone jack on another S-series phone, at least we have the small win of getting rid of the curved display (or close enough). And for that, I say: Thank you, Samsung!