Throughout the past few years, many smartphone makers have decided to go the “bigger is better” route in terms of smartphone design. Samsung and other companies started introducing phones with 5-inch displays a few years ago, which was considered by many users and critics to be too big for people to handle. Nowadays, we see 5-inch displays starting to become the baseline for smartphones, with 5.5-inch and 5.7-inch screens becoming more and more common. We have also seen phones go even higher, up to 6.4-inches for the recently-launched Lenovo Phab 2 Pro.

However, in the race for bigger screens, there also comes a time where the smartphones themselves are also getting bigger as a result. Many people might resist putting in a phone with a display bigger than 5.7-inches simply because they cannot comfortably handle them in their hand or put them in their pants pocket.

It would appear that 2017 could see smartphone companies come up with a solution that promises to offer large displays without increasing the overall bulk of the phone. That solution: bezel-less smartphones.

See also:

Xiaomi Mi MIX Review – all screen, almost all of the time!

November 16, 2016

A look back, and a look forward

Near bezel-less screens on phones are nothing new, of course, even though they haven’t made their way to the mainstream quite yet. We first started seeing an influx of bezel-less phones pop up a few years ago, from companies like OPPO and Sharp. Then in 2015, Samsung introduced the (sort of) bezel-less Galaxy S6 Edge to the masses. While the S6 Edge may have only featured little-to-no bezel on the left and right sides of the device, the top and bottom still featured as much bezel as you’d see on any other smartphone. Later in the year, the S6 Edge+ came to market with a similar design language, and 2016’s S7 Edge did the same.

Now, we’re beginning to see some evidence that the near-to-no bezel design is about to break into the mainstream. Xiaomi launched its Mi MIX concept phone in late 2016 in China, which almost got rid of bezels on the top, left and right sides entirely. This got a huge response worldwide, even though the phone itself is not slated to be made available outside of its native country. Xiaomi even went so far to launch an all-new White color variant at CES 2017, hinting that this bezel-less phone project isn’t just a one-off thing.

We're now seeing some evidence that bezel-less phones might actually break into the mainstream

Xiaomi’s bezel-less phones aren’t the only ones making headlines lately. The Samsung Galaxy S8 rumor mill has been in full force over the past few weeks, and one of the more interesting rumors to appear recently is this new purported image of the Galaxy S8’s display shell. If this leak turns out to be real, the S8 will have basically no bezel on its left and right sides. This would appear to be yet another change for the Galaxy S lineup, but it’s also something of an evolution for the phones, as previous Galaxy S models have been designed with smaller bezels.

The Galaxy S8 might have some competition in this space, though. Rumors about the upcoming LG G6 seem to suggest it won’t have much of a bezel for its display, either. The screen is also supposed to have an 18:9 aspect ratio, compared to the normal 16:9 format. That means LG wants to have a different concept for the G6 display, and combining a taller screen with not much bezel could make for a very interesting look for the phone overall.

In addition, the mysterious phone that’s being developed by a startup headed by Android founder Andy Rubin is also rumored to have an edge-to-edge display. Rubin’s company is rumored to be called Essential and this new phone is supposed to be its flagship device, one of a family of connected home and mobile products. Obviously, Rubin has a lot of experience in the Android market, so if he thinks an edge-to-edge display on a smartphone is a good idea, it probably is.

Reports are also coming in that at least one model for Apple’s iPhone 8 could launch with a larger curved screen, which may get rid of most of the bezel borders. The rumors center on how Apple wants to use OLED screens in the iPhone 8, with some reports claiming that the company will launch a high-end 5.8-inch version with a wraparound display. We still have several months before the iPhone 8 launches, so it’s possible Apple could stick with its 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models for the next iPhone. However, the prospect of an edge-to-edge display for a premium iPhone already has Apple fans pumped up.

See also:

Galaxy S8 or LG G6: which are you most looking forward to?

March 29, 2017

All of these devices with their near bezel-less designs have yet to be confirmed, of course, so there’s no way of telling if the majority of the most popular smartphones will launch with this design cue or not. We’ll ultimately need to wait until each one of these devices are officially announced, but there does seem to be quite a bit of proof that “bezel-less” will be the big design trend of 2017.

What prompted this trend?

You may be wondering, why has this trend started in the first place? While many of us love the extra real estate offered up by big-screened smartphones, that usually comes at a price. Phones with big screens are also big and unwieldy in the hand, making them difficult to hold most of the time. Now that many consumers are used to having a phone with a display larger than 5 inches, it only makes sense that keeping a big screen size without increasing the size of the phone itself is a plus for everyone. People are used to big-screened smartphones now, and we think everyone can agree that a smaller chassis on these phones would certainly be welcomed.

We think everyone can agree that a smaller chassis on big-screened phones would certainly be welcomed

Smartphone displays are continuing to evolve, too. They’re tougher and more resilient compared to a few years ago, which means we can do more with them. Many high-end smartphones now also feature OLED screens, which are thinner than LCD screens, meaning they can be more easily utilized for curved or wraparound smartphone displays.

At this point in time, the move to ditch the bezel looks like it will be the next smartphone display trend, and by 2018 we may see many more smartphone makers offering those kinds of models in their flagship phones. In fact, this trend may even extend to new mid-range phones by next year as well if it is successful on the higher end.

Does getting rid of bezels work for you?

Whether or not you’re ready for it, we think bezel-less (or at least near bezel-less) smartphones are on their way to the mainstream.

Are you interested in trimming down the bezel on your smartphone, or are you happy with the extra room for handling? Also, would you rather smartphone makers focus on features like resolution, brightness and lower battery use rather than making them bezel-less? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

John Callaham
John was a newspaper reporter before becoming a technology and video/PC gaming writer in 2000. He lives in Greer, SC with his wife and five cats.
  • Daggett Beaver |dBz|

    “the top and bottom [of the S6] still featured as much bezel as you’d see on any other smartphone”

    Not ANY other smartphone. The iPhone and Bezel XL both have huge bezels. At least the iPhone has a button on its chin. The Bezel XL’s huge chin has no purpose other than to make it look more like an iPhone.

    • YaboyZavii

      l came to these comments looking for your Bezel XL comment and wasn’t disappointed haha thank you!

      • Daggett Beaver |dBz|

        Happy to oblige.

    • Alexandre P.

      Have to agree with you. So much real estate Google could have used for physical buttons, front speaker, microphone or whatever else your imagination could imagine. I’m all for bezels… if they have a purpose.

  • Marcellus1

    I’m looking forward to shrinking bezels.

  • SignalStealer

    I miss an LG G2 reference, which started all of this minimal bezel craze (and thus was a love at the first sight for me). But yeah, all that I can say is finally – this should have been around for a few years now, not just starting

    • Grant Ding

      The galaxy s4 was released before the G2 and the bezels on it were pretty slim. Not minimal, but I wouldn’t say it’s just LG. I think that the popularity of reduced bezels started purely out of a need for better usability with more screen real-estate.

  • I’d like a 6.4″ screen in a 5.5″ sized phone.

    • Pranav

      The Mi mix!!!

      • Yep, if it had Tango I’d already have bought it, I’ll wait until the next Pixel phones to see what they do before buying my next phone, my Nexus 6P still works reasonably well.

    • Mother’s pie

      Dream phone

  • Ian Campbell

    I just want to know how many people are going to say Apple innovated this if and when they do their own Bezel-less iPhone. I think the phone’s that don’t have a bezel will look sexy AF but how will it handle accidental touches and whatnot.

  • Remodel Guy

    Quick, someone tell this to Google before they design the Pixel 2!

  • Bezelless is definitely a looker, but I’m looking forward to next next big thing, which is the 2 in 1 phone that unfolds to a tablet. I was really in awe when I saw Lenovo’s prototype. Now I’m looking forward to Sammy’s Galaxy X.

    • Grant Ding

      IDK if the Galaxy X is even happening. Think about it: If you put the earpiece where it normally goes on a phone, then when you unfold it and it’s off center of the top/side bezel. Also, how does anyone plan to put a case on that?

      • Well yes it will be off center but you definitely will fold it back to phone mode when you want to answer a call, you’re an idiot if you answer the call on tablet mode so no problem there. It’s kinda weird your more worried how to put a case on the phone guess it’s up to the makers to figure it out. Still if this kind of the device will be available for the consumers, I’m definitely getting one. And it’s not just Samsung, Lenovo and LG also has plans making this thing real, the only question is, will it be made available for the consumers?

        • Grant Ding

          I just thought it would look awful unless they can conceal the earpiece a little.

  • YaboyZavii

    Apparently not since the pixel is so popular.

    • Grant Ding

      I think the pIxel is popular because of all the Nexus loyalists who thought that they had nowhere else to turn.

  • Michael W.

    Take it from someone who has a Xiaomi Mi Mix the bezel-less display is amazing. I love it and would have a hard time going back. Though I admit the front facing camera isn’t great in low light and the standard headset speaker isn’t great (though it isn’t bad, just could stand to be a bit louder). But otherwise they are super cool and I don’t have any problems holding the device or using it with one hand. Nor do I have any issues with “ghost touches”. I don’t have a huge hands either.

    • Grant Ding

      My issue with the Mi Mix isn’t actually the size of the screen, but the god awful aspect ratio.

      • Michael W.

        Its a tad strange but I got used to it within a day. I don’t even notice anymore really. In fact, I used my wife’s iphone today and thought the aspect ratio on her phone was weird. Different tastes I guess.

  • Žydrūnas

    I’d rather prefer stereo speakers on front of the phone than pseudo-bezel-less designs.

    • Badelhas

      Me too. Love my HTC one m8 because of that.

      • stan gurule

        I agree, I had the HTC m7 and m8 now have the 10. Kinda miss the two front speakers

        • Badelhas

          I’ve been thinking about upgrading but the lack of front stereo speakers is disappointing since I used them a lot to see youtube videos. Do you think it’s worth it, nevertheless?
          The last flagship htc launched is made of glass, which I think is stupid, so that also mad me sad since I believe they will not launch a htc 11.

          • stan gurule

            So far I’ve been really satisfied with my HTC 10. The speaker are still good. Plenty loud enough for me and snappy fast.

    • scott

      Good point. Also, I have S7 EDGE and I like having at least one place to hold or touch the phone without messing up whatever is on my screen. In other words, accidentally swiping.

  • joanna wong

    I hope manufacturers give a choice of both “bezel-less” and some “bezel” in their offerings, much like the 2 models offered as S7 and S7 Edge. I owned the S7 Edge and have so much grief with the side display (edge) activating items and absolutely hated the S7 Edge which I paid so much money for. Also, it is easier to break the display with the glass edge. I want functionality over beauty. I would want a flagship phone with some bezels, it allows me to have a firm grip on the phone, have no accidental activation of items on the edge and offers some protection from breakage on the edge.

  • The Focus

    I like bezel less displays.

  • Badelhas

    I want a high end, full feature 4.7 inch Android smartphone. If they can reduce the bezels a little more than the ones we have right now (without removing the earpiece like Xiaomi Mi did, which makes the phone calls sound terrible) it will be, in my humble opinion, the best size to hold the smartphone with one hand only, while maintaining a firm grip. The outer limit to a proper Ergonomic smartphone.

    • Grant Ding

      Congratulations, you must have Donald Trump sized hands. Seriously I don’t even have big hands and I can hold a Galaxy Note 7 with no discomfort and almost full access to the whole screen. For most occasions, a firm grips isn’t even necessary.

      • Badelhas

        I want to hear you say that when your using your smartphone and someone bumps to you. Then we will see if a firm grip was needed or not.

        • Grant Ding

          I can run while listening to music and holding my s7 edge (the note 7 was at a carrier store, but It’s larger so I used it for the contrast). My friend even tried to knock it out of my hand when I was checking facebook once, and I still didn’t drop it. But that rarely happens. If people constantly bump into you then you need to find a better place to live.

          • Badelhas

            Why do you americans have to be so aggressive and sarcastic when you comment on the internet?

          • Grant Ding

            Why do you always insist on sharing your opinion if you think that’ll happen?

          • Badelhas

            i will share my opinion every time I want to…hoping that I get into a conversation where the other person is not arrogant, sarcastic, arrogant…much like the president you refereed and that your people elected. :)

          • Grant Ding

            Actually Hillary Clinton received the popular vote, and I voted for her. But thanks for your ignorance and insistence on making this isolated situation both political and a generalization of a nation. If America wasn’t an ethnically diverse nation, you would technically be a racist. Feel free to put your opinion out there, but stop being a little bitch when people disagree.

          • Badelhas

            lol

          • Daggett Beaver |dBz|

            Take California out of the equation, and Trump won the popular vote. If it wasn’t for the electoral college, other states wouldn’t even need to participate in an election. California would decide every president.

          • Grant Ding

            True, I just didn’t want him to make it political. This is an Android blog, our discussion should generally center around “all things android.”

        • Grant Ding

          And I like how you didn’t acknowledge that a large screen doesn’t really impede your ability to hold a phone firmly because you pretty much know you’re wrong.

    • Gregg Long

      4.7? Seriously? I think I have a Texas Instruments Calculator from High School that has a bigger screen than that.

  • Timothy Higgins

    I anticipate the industry will ignore ergonomic design once again, engaging in one-showmanship in the size of nearly, until the phone is nigh unusable due to false touches, until the pendulum swings back the other way.

  • Bay_Ranger

    Who started the minimal bezel craze? Wasn’t it LG? I see no mention of their leadership. I like small as possible bezels but not the curved screens which are a nice look but negative in operation.

    • Grant Ding

      No it was definitely not them. You what they did pioneer? Bootloops and poor sales for generally good devices.

  • NoNotTellingYou

    It’s nice but not in my top 5 reasons for buying a phone. #1 must go 48 hours/10-12 hours screen on time before needing recharge.

    Happy with my Moto Z Play for now.

  • Gregg Long

    Nexus 6 – Huge screen, small bezels, dual front facing speakers. The S8 renders look pretty good. Just wish they’d cool it on the edge thing. They make the phones a lot more prone to screen damage for no useful functionality

  • mcnuttly

    Bezeless or near bezeless maybe nice .. but a lot of makers are not putting front facing speakers .. which is important to me cause that totally changed my experience with Android or any smartphone for that matter .. so I much have some bezel an great audio experience then a wrap around or an less bezel for a mono , or a downward stereo speakers .. with crappy speakers.. if they could do bother now that’s we’re it’s at.. that’s my opinion on that matter . I

  • Benjamin Haube

    In short….I hope to hell not.

  • Pat

    Bezelless phones! Thank you!!!!!!

    My only question is … Why has it taken so long. The freaking bezels offer almost nothing in actual value, outside of real estate needed for sensors. Have been begging companies to trim this waste away since the PDA days of the early 2000s.

    Better late than never. Looking forward to more and more options in this area.

    • knudknud3

      Meizu concept phone.

  • Nicholas Conrad

    It’s just the next dumb ‘premium’ design element they’ll charge an extra $200 for.

  • nahaluk

    How about for the next trend, bigger, better batteries that last two days?!

  • Tom Naber

    Just so you guys know, your website doesn’t work on my Dell XPS 13 (2016) and never has worked. Using Microsoft Edge (Chrome works fine) with a high DPI display (13 inch, 3200*1800). Deleting cache memory and cookies and all that stuff didn’t fix anything, so I think it might be something on your (or Microsoft’s) end. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4d210147e815ea0bc2cd3d9149bb683030623c9fb9daf5695ab93f6bb08caba1.png

  • David Dickerson

    I just hope a phone manufacturer will continue to offer variants with removable battery. I realise for some it seems prehistoric but for me the freedom to change batteries allows me to keep my phone longer to avoid pointless upgrades. I am a heavy phone user on my days off from work and batteries simply don’t last long enough. Quick charge and wireless charging is still inconvenient to me. My best option has always been swapping the battery. Many of you will simply explain me away saying I need to move on and adapt but this is my choice.

    • Happy

      I’m with you there. No better feeling than the spare battery in the jeans pocket.

  • The One

    Yawn… The tech community has been hoping for bezel-less designs since before the Galaxy S5. Every year ask for it on mainstream devices and every year we are disappointed. I refuse to get my hopes up again. I’d rather have loud, front facing stereo speakers like so many others in this comment section have mentioned.

  • Rohan Vaddiraju

    I still am using a Honor 5x as my daily driver. I installed CM 13.1 and plan to get lineage.

  • Riko Syahrir

    i love the design

  • hromun

    Thery are becomming better and better!

  • George Dabanis

    Great design and specs in nice price.

  • john-rambo

    very good budget phones , awesome bizzels , i think they neet a physical home button

  • Hgegic

    I’ve never heatd about company called Honor before. I’ve only heard about Huawei Honor phones.

  • Hugo Marques

    I have an Honor 6 and Honor 7 so you can see that I love Honor brand..

  • Batman

    Seems like it’s going to be an amazing phone

  • Jon310

    Looks good. I like the size of the phone and the placement of the buttons.

  • I3iggy

    small bezel, big screen, just the way I like it.

  • Alessio

    Honor’s smartphones are GREAT, like Huawei devices! :-D

  • Janez Logar

    Looks great! :)

  • Ike Aguma

    Really awesome build am in love with that more…

  • Martine

    Great new design!

  • leart369

    Great phones

  • Lamont Shuman

    Nice phone, ty for the giveaway!!!

  • Jim Fusco

    I agree most phones nowadays really need to have quality stereo speakers, otherwise it’s s decent phonr

  • Mini0n

    So cool!

  • Gordon Green

    Sleek and attractive phone. I would like to own one.

  • rob fenton

    Huawei sure make nice phones now.

  • Alexandre P.

    I believe bezels are still needed for phone sturdiness. Being frequently used, a phone is often at risk of falling on the ground. Not sure how well a S7 Edge falling on its side would survive vs the S7 non-Edge, for example.

    Still, having bezels for having bezels, not enough. Make use of this space and put physical buttons, front speaker, better front camera, microphone… Make the bezels useful.

  • Andrej Čuščak

    Honor smartphones will soon replace Samsung as android flagship phones.

  • Fabrizio

    You forgot to mention the almighty LG G2, back in 2013

  • Ashwani Korpal

    Best Smartphone in Best Price

  • burdebc

    Honor is doing an amazing job at offering a lot for your money with their phones. I currently have the Honor 5x which is more than fast enough for anything I can throw at it. It is the first phone I have had where I didn’t have to compromise in any way.

  • bn100

    looks interesting

  • Víctor Antonio Lotrecchiano

    Awesome smartphone! ^_^

  • James Childress

    I will buy no bezel-less phones or curved screens. I don’t like screens that trigger just because I am holding them and a buffer zone is needed for occasional drops.

  • deBruinx

    Awesome smartphone! Looks amazing.

  • Tripwire

    Got to have this phone!

  • davidpeltz

    Recently bought my wife the Honor 8 and am very impressed. Still a way to go with UI choice but the hardware is great.

  • Warren Henry Fabe

    Great phone

  • Sean Hanna

    Looks like a sick phone!

  • Tracy James

    fab phone..x

  • Prajankya Sonar

    Bezel-less phones!! Great!! Love it !

  • Nemanja

    Luv it

  • Florian Paler

    awesome, promiscuous

  • Dayz

    Looks cool

  • danababei

    It’s good,but not expensive

  • rduranb

    Nice phone, awesome specs, Huawei is doing it very well

  • Luis Miguel

    awesome device

  • metapod

    the smooth round back looks really nice, the use of plastic kinda worrisome.

  • Gabriel Potestades

    Bezel less is the way to go!

  • Daggett Beaver |dBz|

    Lots of people don’t seem to know what story they’re commenting about.

  • Krunal G

    I love its amazing Dual Camera :)

  • Robert Price

    It looks a great smartphone

  • Handsome Rob

    I thought we were done with this bezeless nonsense. Let’s move on to reasonable bezels and phone thickness so we can fit lots of battery and the phone doesn’t shatter if it falls. Enough already.

  • Asgor Reidaa

    I love its awesome specs, but not expensive.

  • Luca Luca

    Looks decent !

  • Choda Boy

    If “bezel-less” means the phone is even MORE fragile and prone to break, then no thank you.

  • n73asser

    Awesome

  • Claudia Brodowski

    Nice phone

  • humptydumpedme

    I love the 2nd honor 6x smart phone mostly for the camera quality pics and awesome sound quality, the new features are also amazing, I want this phone so much

  • Mano Mano

    looks pretty cool hm

  • TheRobertxon

    I love Honor :D

  • Shreyas Gupta

    HONOR !!!

  • none

    I hope it is not a big design trend.
    IMO for hardware design, and software design, we need to go back to 2013 and early-mid 2014, and start again from there.