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all alternatives (in addition to the ‘notch’)

26 mayo, 2021

Phones with a screen that goes from edge to edge are here to stay, but taking the screen to the extremes is the odd headache. And now what do we do with the camera?

This year we are seeing how manufacturers are using all their ingenuity to solve that dilemma with ‘notches’, retractable and rotating cameras, but the truth is that in the end there are few magic solutions and they all have their pros and cons. To see it visually, we have created a little Frankenstein monster exemplifying all possible solutions on what can be done with the camera when maximizing the screen.

Please take the following images as a mere rough visual representation created thanks to the magic of cinema Photoshop. The mobile is based on a Galaxy S8 and the wallpaper is from OnePlus, but more than looking for historical perfection, we were only looking to visualize each possibility.

1. Camera on upper edge


The previous creation is practically a Galaxy S8 / S9 with a smaller lower screen border and is the most classic design alternative. The camera, as well as other sensors are kept in a small upper frame, thus avoiding covering part of the screen.

The problem for all-screen purists is that this top strip has to be large enough to house the camera, so edge-to-edge screen effect is somewhat lost. Some mobiles that use a similar solution are the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S9, Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30.

2. Camera in centered notch


Another alternative when the screen really covers the entire front is to create an island where the camera may reside. In the previous image we have used the Essential Phone as it is one of the most discreet, but here we would include the ‘notches’ of all sizes and designs.

The ‘notch’ supposes an area of ​​the screen that is always covered and brings many side effects in experience as particularly thick black stripes or status bars. The problems are even greater when using the mobile in landscape, making the whole invention a slob. Some mobiles that use this system are the Essential Phone, Oppo R15, Zenfone 5 and many more.

3. Camera in ‘notch’ in a corner

Camera up

It was rumored that the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s would have the camera in a discreet ‘notch’ in the upper corner, and although it seems that in the end it will not be like that, the idea was at least original. Posts to put a camera covering the screen, better to do it on one side where it is less annoying than in the middle.

Aesthetically it is not a work by Michelangelo and we lack the symmetry of the ‘centered notch’ but to be honest, most of the time our mobiles are not symmetrical. The ‘notch’ on one side would have the advantage – assuming it can be small enough – of power camouflage yourself in the status bar with the mobile both vertically and horizontally. For now, no mobile uses this method.

4. Camera on the bottom edge

Camara down

Where it does seem that the Mi Mix 2S will have the camera, in addition to its predecessors, is on the bottom. The advantages are similar to those of the first assumption (upper edge), since the screen is not cut, maintaining the static experience. When holding the mobile, in addition, this lower edge is usually covered, so the experience is almost that of a mobile without frames.

However, the camera at the bottom has some side effects, as you have to choose between flip the mobile to take a selfie or do a picture of your double chin. The mobiles that use this method are the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 and Xiaomi Mi Mix, although Xiaomi included the camera on one side and I have placed it centered, which in my opinion is better.

5. Retractable camera


What if the solution to the dilemma was not to put things on the screen, but a camera that only appears when it is needed? Essential had the patent, but Vivo was the first to carry it out on the Vivo Apex. When you need it, the camera magically appears from the top frame.

The solution is certainly ingenious, although this moving parts they are already known to be double-edged weapons. The mechanical movement is also likely to result in more battery use and those who take selfies all day may not want to wait for the time it takes for the camera to be ready, but the idea paves the way for larger or zoom camera modules. optical. The most recent example we have in the Vivo Apex.

6. Rotating camera

Comrade rotative

A solution similar to the previous one is the one that Bluboo has had on its S2. In this case, it is the rear camera that can be rotated on a hinge so that it doubles as a front camera. It is not a new concept: something similar did the Oppo N3 in 2014, but then with a generous upper frame where the rotating camera was housed.

Economically, manufacturers can use a camera that is worth two, as they would need include only one sensor in the phone, although to you as a user it means that changing cameras is not just pressing a button but also doing a maneuver with the phone that can get heavy very quickly. Examples of this technology we have in the Bluboo S2 or the Huawei Shot X, from 2015.

7. Camera in a little hole in the screen

Screen hole

Halfway between ‘notch’ and there are no holes in the screen without more. It is not a technology that exists today, but Essential already has a patent on it. Regardless of the island in question, the camera lens is shown through a hole in the screen, being somewhat more discreet than a ‘notch’ as ​​it occupies more or less the same as an icon in the notification bar.

The behavior would be similar to that of the different types of notch and depending on where it had been, it could be better or worse camouflaged with the system interface. The main advantage is that, lacking the ‘notch’ itself, the covered area of ​​the screen would be greatly reduced. No mobile phone so far uses this technology.

8. Camera under the screen

Without camera

Another technology that is not available for now – and for which Essential also has a patent – is that of cameras below the screen, following in the wake of the fingerprint readers. It is an important technological challenge that will hopefully get rid of the ‘notches’ in the future.

With the camera under the screen we would have the best of both worlds– Huge, borderless displays with a camera that does not cover the screen or sits on an edge or corner. Of course, taking into account how long it takes to have the fingerprint readers under the screen, I would wait for the news about the cameras under the screen, which obviously no mobile has integrated yet.

9. No front camera

Without camera

Finally, the simplest solution: completely dispense with the front camera. Although this alternative will not appeal to those who take selfies at all hours, it must be recognized that it is another possibility. Your selfie needs could be met with a Attachable accessory camera or with the rear camera, maybe with some kind of additional screen on the back of the mobile to be able to aim correctly.

Taking into account that one of the most popular and publicized functions of mobile phones is precisely taking selfies and that it would also avoid video calls I highly doubt that this alternative will be considered.

Images | Own design based on this mockup of a Galaxy S8

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