Forget screen size, how thin are your bezels?

February 11, 2014
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We all prattle on about screen size when discussing Android devices, but what about bezels? Screen size is subjective to taste, but a thin bezel increases screen real estate and keeps smartphones compact. A chart of popular devices shows which reign supreme when it comes to bezels.


As expected, newer devices hold court at the top of the list, with the LG G2 as top dog. With 75.7% of the front being screen, it edges out the Note 3 by a full percent. The LG G Pro comes in third at 72.8%, proving that LG gets it when we’re talking bezels. Rounding out the top five devices for slimmest bezels are the Galaxy S4 with 72.1% of the screen on front, and the Nexus 5 just behind it with 72%. Tied for fifth with the Nexus 5 is another Google-y handset, the Moto X.

Perhaps more interesting than screen real estate on the devices are how they improve over time. For instance, the Note 2 has 68.4% of the front as screen, while the Note 3 has 74.6%. That’s a nearly 6% reduction in bezel. The Nexus lineup was nearly as improved, going from 66.8% on the Nexus 4 to a full 72% on the Nexus 5 — a 5.2% decrease in bezel.

Screen size may help a touch, but thinner bezels come from improved technology. Android OEMs push for devices that are nearly all screen, and this chart shows we’re getting there. With software buttons and edge-to-edge displays, we’ve come a long way from the Galaxy S, where just over half the front was screen. Our iPhone friends, however, remain behind in this metric, as all models past and present hover near the halfway mark.

smartphone-screen-real-estate

VIA: 9to5Google


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  • http://rhythmicnature.com/ Frank Fletcher

    Small bezels are not necessarily better. I personally hate really small bezels because I can’t hold the phone without touching something on the screen.

    It helps to get a cover that adds some thickness and depth to the bezel … but then I _can’t_ click or swipe from the edge because I’m blocked by the cover. If the bezels were not tiny, the cover would not prevent me from touching the edge and I wouldn’t need a cover in the first place to prevent me from “over-touching” the active screen.

    I’m sure Apple has done a bunch of usability testing on this. I doubt they are limited by their technology. I think they’ve found small bezels to be LESS usable and thus don’t make tiny bezels. Meanwhile, we will chase down the ultra-thin bezel spec just because it’s another point of competition … while quite possibly being worse in actual use.

    Please reconsider this spec-comparison. Why do we Android users focus on ridiculous specs like this? Everybody is different. Every need is different. Ultra thin bezels work for some and definitely not for others. Lumping everybody together for the sake of conversation on the relative specifications of our phones is pretty useless. What IS important is not how thin the bezel is that’s important. It’s how useful the device.is.

    • Gabernasher

      Small bezel = big screen and not quite as big a phone as a bigger bezel with the same size screen.

      • http://rhythmicnature.com/ Frank Fletcher

        I agree. But at some point the large screen/thin bezel becomes a trade-off in usability for some users. It’s nice and flashy (and light) to have a big screen with a narrow body … but personally I’d prefer to have an additional 4 mm of bevel on some phones. I will not buy a phone with a large screen and an ultra-thin bevel. I just can’t use it.

    • T.J.

      You say that you’re sure Apple had done usability testing so their bezels are big for a reason. Do you think Android manufacturers don’t do that testing? You think they’re just chasing a number just to say theirs is the thinnest? That’s a pretty costly mistake to make.
      And just because you accidentally touch the screen when you don’t have a case, doesn’t mean it’s a widespread issue. I haven’t heard that complaint as much as I’ve heard about bezels being too big.

      • James Stone

        I am loving my lg g2… Thinnest on the luau ;-)…i would love to have the whole front a screen…. I never have issues and mostly use one hand holding and swyping… So less bezel is good… Though this is only 5.2″ wish i had a note or mega..

  • Wolf0491

    If xperia ZL was on the chart it beats the LG g2 actually…