- Thanks to a slew of leaks over the last few months, we know almost everything about the design of the Samsung Galaxy S10.
- Samsung will announce three new phones at its Unpacked 2019 event on February 20, including a Galaxy S10 “Lite,” a Galaxy S10, and a Galaxy S10+.
- The new Galaxy phones will break from a design trend popularised by Apple’s iPhone X: These phones won’t have a traditional “notch,” or a cut-out at the top center of the phone.
- Samsung appears to have created a solution that features a less-intrusive cut-out for the selfie camera.
The current “Notch Era” is one of the most unfortunate chapters in smartphone history.
While you could argue smaller players like the Essential Phone started the trend, it was Apple that popularised the notch when it unveiled its first $US1,000 smartphone, the radically-designed iPhone X, in 2017.
While the notch allows for gorgeous edge-to-edge displays and facial recognition systems that can unlock your phone, it’s still an imperfection. If the goal is to make an all-screen smartphone, the notch isn’t it.
Some smartphone makers are rightfully trying to find solutions to the notch problem. And thankfully, one of those players is Samsung, currently the biggest smartphone maker in the world.
On January 3, prolific gadgets-leaker Evan Blass posted a couple of images to Twitter, claiming to show off the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
People are calling Samsung’s selfie-camera solution the “hole punch,” as opposed to the “notch.” Samsung calls it its “Infinity-O” display, and it’s already a feature on the Galaxy A8s smartphone (not sold in the US).
Samsung reportedly plans to release three phones: a 5.8-inch Galaxy S10 “Lite,” a 6.1-inch Galaxy S10, and a 6.4-inch Galaxy S10+. All three phones are said to feature the “hole punch,” although the Galaxy S10+ is said to have a bigger cutout for two selfie cameras.
The Infinity-O design may be off-putting to some, since the uncentered camera effectively makes the phone asymmetrical, which isn’t very pretty. But in practice, this could actually be a brilliant move.
First of all, very few phones use the space in the top corners of the screen. That area is usually filled up with notification icons, or stats like the time and battery life.
It’s also a big plus that the hole-punch camera cut-out on the Galaxy S10 would be small. Notches are bad enough to begin with, but they’re made worse by smartphone makers that don’t make them as small as possible. (We’re looking at you, Google Pixel 3 XL.)
Putting the camera cut-out in the corner has another benefit: When you’re watching videos, there’s a great chance the hole-punch won’t cut into your content. Meanwhile, the notch on my iPhone X will cut into every single video I watch in landscape mode.
Apparently, the hole-punch camera will also have another nifty feature: It can glow. According to prolific gadgets leaker “Ice Universe,” the Galaxy S10 may be able to manipulate the display pixels surrounding the camera to create a digital light ring effect, so you’ll always know where to look when it’s time to unlock your phone or take a selfie.
For what it’s worth, the Galaxy S10 might not be the only phone with a hole-punch camera cut-out. Ice Universe suggests this could be an upcoming trend.
Of course, these are all just rumours at this point, so it’s important to take this information with a grain of salt. That said, Evan Blass and Ice Universe are two of the best people at what they do, and we fully expect to see these leaks, including the hole punch design, become a reality when Samsung announces its phones toward the end of the month.
Samsung will debut the Galaxy S10 lineup at its Unpacked event, which is being held on February 20.
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