back to article The Notch contagion is spreading slower than phone experts thought

Once thought to be one of the most contagious design features on a smartphone, the spread of the "Notch" appears to have been contained. GSMArena's survey of 150 phone models released in 2018 finds that only 22 per cent have been infected with the Notch. At the height of the outbreak, in the first week of March, over 20 new …

  1. Lee D Silver badge

    Because it's pointless, that's why.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      ->Because it's pointless, that's why.

      I didn't understand why the Apple one was called a "notch" when it really looks like two little horns.

      I guess people might have confused ExpensiveAppleUnix with FreeBSD.

      1. herman Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: ->Because it's pointless, that's why.

        So, a Notch Phone is a Horny Phone?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I have to disagree. Ideally the screen should cover as much as the phone's front as possible. It can't cover all of it at present due to to needing space for a camera, loudspeaker and microphone so it either has a notch or doesn't go to the top of the phone. I also want the symbols for reception strength, wifi, notifications, airplane mode etc. to almost always be displayed. What better place for them than either side of the notch leaving a dirty great big rectangular unobstructed area below for content.

      1. DJV Silver badge

        And I think they should extend the display to the sides, the back, the phone cover, the charging lead and the box it came in. But what do I know?

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Besides the subjective aesthetics of a notch, what are the functional downsides?

          Whilst the first notch was the Essential phone, the functional equivilent was done by LG on their V20 in 2016 - a secondary display for notifications was placed in line with the camera and earpiece.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          And I think they should extend the display to the sides, the back, the phone cover, the charging lead and the box it came in. But what do I know?

          Democratic contenders have been spotted running on a platform which promises that this will be implemented.

          1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

            RE: "Democratic contenders have been spotted running on a platform which promises that this will be implemented."

            Whereas the republican contenders promise to keep all such superfluous frivolities behind their beautiful wall...

            WTF are you on about???

            Or, perhaps, WTF are you on???

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              I've known people for decades without any idea what their political views are

              but they're not 'Merkins

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Relax, as a left wing radical I find the comment hilarious. We certainly don't lack our own foibles, and comedy should be held sacrosanct.

              Reminded me of the jobs guarantee platform idea that's been circling around lately, how in the world can you make it policy without serious implementation issues.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Democratic contenders have been spotted running on a platform which promises that this will be implemented."

            sorry, but you have to try harder Trumpian supporter, we all know Trump and the republicons promise the earth then not deliver but still claim to have done it.

        3. onefang Silver badge

          "And I think they should extend the display to the sides, the back, the phone cover, the charging lead and the box it came in. But what do I know?"

          Give them time, there's a few technical issues to solve before they can put a decent display on a charging lead. A string of Christmas tree lights is just too low rez.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        "Ideally the screen should cover as much as the phone's front as possible."

        I disagree with this. I want a bezel.

        "What better place for them than either side of the notch leaving a dirty great big rectangular unobstructed area below for content."

        The space left over on each side of the notch isn't large enough to hold those icons, though. At least not on my phone, and I don't want to have to sacrifice functionality. That makes the notch an actively undesirable "feature" to me that would absolutely stop me from buying the phone.

        Also, it's highly irritating from an aesthetic point of view, although that's a subjective thing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "I disagree with this. I want a bezel." ......

          Bezel's have almost been eliminated from modern TV's. People want a large TV screen not a large TV with a small screen in the middle of a fat bezel that seems to be there for no reason. It used to be where the screen illumination was housed. As technical advances allowed the bezel to shrink towards nothing people chose models with little or no bezel.

          Are phones going to be any different? A bezel will provide some mechanical protection to the screen when the phone is dropped, so it has "some" value. It it hard to see why a fat bezel is needed top and bottom while a narrow bezel at the sides suffices. People like big screens on phones, but don't like big phones. Screens that cover as large as possible area of a phones front surface address this desire.

          1. snozdop

            > It it hard to see why a fat bezel is needed top and bottom while a narrow bezel at the sides suffices.

            Isn't it obvious? You generally don't have required hardware (front-facing camera, ear speaker and proximity sensor, and the once common hardware home button) in the narrow side bezels do you?

            1. DropBear Silver badge

              Well guess what I want a reasonable bezel too. Aesthetics aside (which are murder on my OCD requiring neat, straight and symmetrical things) it's annoying enough never quite knowing whether just grabbing or holding my (currently quite traditionally bezel-ful) phone on its sides will result in activating something accidentally - or quite the opposite, blocking an intentional slide because the phone senses my hand near the edge and it thinks I'm "holding" the slide...

          2. juice Bronze badge

            And as a result...

            >Bezel's have almost been eliminated from modern TV's. People want a large TV screen not a large TV with a small screen in the middle of a fat bezel that seems to be there for no reason. It used to be where the screen illumination was housed. As technical advances allowed the bezel to shrink towards nothing people chose models with little or no bezel.

            The move to thin, bezel-free TVs resulted in the creation of a new market: the soundbar. Because it's very hard to get good sound out of something which is as thin and borderless as a modern TV. So arguably, they've actually lost functionality as a result of the drive for form over function.

            Plus, there's a fundamental difference between a TV and a mobile phone. The former sits on a cabinet (or hangs on a wall); the other has to be held to be used. With large, capacitive triggering sausage fingers.

            As such, with modern thin bezels, it's becoming increasingly easy to confuse the phone by touching multiple points on the screen.

            My last phone was the Samsung S7 Edge with it's effectively bezel-free sides. I ended up putting it in a case - mostly for protection, but also because it was very difficult to hold it in both hands for photography: if your fingers touched the edges, it would refuse to recognise touches on the shutter button.

            My current phone is an LG V30, and while it's not as bad for this, all too often the phone decides that I wanted to change the zoom level rather than take the photo.

            So yeah: thinner bezels look nice, but please let sanity prevail!

          3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Bezel's have almost been eliminated from modern TV's.

            And this is a relevant comparison because…?

            Almost all devices that we hold or pick up have bezels: phones, watches, books, etc. The bezel is as much a design feature as anything else. Otherwise everything becomes the interface and this inevitably leads to mistakes.

            Everytime I hand my phone to my girlfriend to look at something she invariably presses one of the soft-keys by mistake. Something she almost certainly wouldn't do if the phone had enough tactile buttons.

          4. borkbork

            Who picks up their TV?

            The bezel on a phone prevents fingers from accidentally touching the screen, a problem not normally encountered during normal TV use.

            People choose a phone based on many factors, the most common being "does the shop have it?" and "have I heard of it?". Popularity is not a good measure of practicality.

        2. howieb2001

          "I disagree with this. I want a bezel."

          Music to my ears. I thought I was the only one left who preferred bezels. I'm not an Apple fan but the design of their "Plus" phones with a big enough screen and plenty of room for a dirty great battery is fine for me. A poncey looking device with a ridiculously high-res screen is not a lot of use when it's run out of juice.

        3. Bullseyed

          > The space left over on each side of the notch isn't large enough to hold those icons, though.

          The iPhone X and Asus Zenfone 5 literally put those icons on either side of the notch. So they obviously do fit.

          Not sure if external links are allowed... but check here: https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/4aRt3Y_7X91bQ2hVIKMh0dWO9nk=/0x0:2040x1360/920x613/filters:focal(781x497:1107x823):format(webp)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/58897111/vpavic_180225_2340_0110.0.jpg

          I dislike how they allow the phone background to extend up there though, making the notch obvious. They should do a black background so the notch is obscured.

          The other issue is the status bar is also used to scroll notifications (not as common anymore I suppose) and the middle being not-a-screen breaks that. So you'd need a notification bar below that potentially.

          1. onefang Silver badge

            "I dislike how they allow the phone background to extend up there though, making the notch obvious."

            If the notch isn't obvious, how can you show of your fancy expensive new phone with the fancy expensive feature that only 22 percent of flagship phones are copying?

          2. JohnFen Silver badge

            "The iPhone X and Asus Zenfone 5 literally put those icons on either side of the notch. So they obviously do fit"

            Different people have a different number of icons. The ones I consider essential nearly fill the entire width of the screen. There's no way they'd fit if there were less space, which means I'd have to get rid of some, which means that I'm losing useful functionality.

          3. borkbork

            Not on my phone

            I just checked my phone, the status icons on the right hand side reach all the way to the middle of the screen. Good thing I have a proper rectangle one without the missing pixels.

          4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            The iPhone X and Asus Zenfone 5 literally

            Have an extra downvote for cretinous and inaccurate use of the word literally. I mean, literally, what has the word ever down to you to deserve such abuse?

            1. onefang Silver badge
              Headmaster

              "what has the word ever down to you"

              That's the problem with correcting other peoples English, you invariably make your own mistake. And you left off the "Pedantic grammar nazi alert" icon. Have an icon, and a downvote.

      3. FIA

        I have to disagree. Ideally the screen should....

        FAIL!!

        This is an Apple related article.

        This is The Register.

        Common sense and reason have NO PLACE in these comment pages.

        When will people learn.

        (Yes, I'm basically saying 'You're commenting on it wrong'.... <hangs head in shame>)

    3. Little Mouse

      "Because it's pointless..."

      Not from a marketing perspective, it's not. It's a design feature that's also a fad, and hence will date very quickly.

      And in the fickle world of phone-fashion, that means lots of users will "need" to replace their crappy old Notch phones with newer, more modern-looking models.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Charge by wire

    is NOT the way the industry wants us to go. Samsung and the rest (including Apple) would love it. Then they would not have to supply a charger with the phone and they can charge us at least $50 a pop for it.

    Bigger Phablets as well. Ugh!

    Stop the planet I want to get off.

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: Charge by wire

      If rather have the wireless charging. Bloody tired of having the usb port fail after a couple of years or get so full of fluff they might as well be broken.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: Charge by wire

        If rather have the wireless charging. Bloody tired of having the usb port fail after a couple of years or get so full of fluff they might as well be broken.

        Wireless charging has one big drawback. Try using your phone whilst charging. If you mobie is flat and you urgently want to use it, you're basically stuck hunched over some stupid flat thing rather than being at the end of a cable of one's choosing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Charge by wire

          hunched over some stupid flat thing

          And that flat thing will probably give you cancer in California.

          1. Boo Radley

            Re: Charge by wire

            And that flat thing will probably give you cancer in California.

            I always wanted to go to California, but cancer seems a high price.

          2. JulieM Silver badge

            Re: Charge by wire

            Well, don't use it in California, then!

        2. Orv Silver badge

          Re: Charge by wire

          It also means having to try to find a mobile dash mount that's compatible with whatever random charging standard the phone uses, and then hoping it can transfer enough power to operate the screen, GPS, and streaming music app simultaneously. (This is over 1.5A on some phones I've had.)

          I had wireless charging on my Nexus 4 and I can't say I was impressed. It never worked reliably. It would just kick in and out of charging mode.

        3. Law

          Re: Charge by wire

          "Try using your phone whilst charging. If you mobie is flat and you urgently want to use it, you're basically stuck hunched over some stupid flat thing"

          Or use your Bluetooth headphones... Or speaker phone... Or message them. :)

          Personally though, I'm happy with fast charging over usb c... then again, my phone normally has 70% charge at the end of the day so maybe I'm not the target audience anymore.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: Charge by wire

            I don't see the point of wireless charging either, and the inefficiency sort of pains me too. So I want cables, as sometimes that's just the easiest way.

            However I have seen phone connectors break. We had a batch of work iPhone 5s, and had 50% of the connectors fail, but I presume (hope!) that was just a duff batch. Although a bunch of them also had weird hardware failures within 2 years, mostly involving the battery charging / power level system.

            Fluff can be annoying too. My Lumia 735 is great, because you can get the back off to clean it. But I've had to defluff various friends' badly designed phones - with a torch, magnifying glass and jewellers screwdrivers (as they were the only thing small enough to get into the gaps).

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Re: Charge by wire

              I don't see the point of wireless charging

              Use in a domestic setting might be moot, but there are plenty of settings where it makes a lot of sense, especially public spaces where charging is provided as a matter of courtesy such as airport lounges. The cabling for charging mats is simpler and less fragile than providing more powerpoints, though obviously USB-ports are also good if also a potential security risk.

              If I'm travelling for any period where I think I need a device while it's charging I use a powerbank.

        4. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Charge by wire

          "Wireless charging has one big drawback."

          It has another big drawback as well -- wireless charging is only about 75-80% efficient (best case), so 20-25% of the electricity it's drawing is wasted. That might not sound so bad when you're thinking about a single charger, but if you anticipate a day when everyone is doing it, the loss is absolutely horrible.

          1. onefang Silver badge

            Re: Charge by wire

            "wireless charging is only about 75-80% efficient"

            Which is a big problem for me, I charge my phones from a solar powered battery, and it's the middle of winter on this side of the planet. At this time of year, due to the position of the large house next door relative to the only useful place I can hang my small solar panel out of a window, I don't get much sun past 3 PM, none at all past 4 PM. During summer, the sun sets further south, where there is empty street, so I get lots of strong sun until the late sunset. So this time of year I sometimes have to be careful with my phone power usage, especially if there's lots of cloud. Wireless is out, too much power loss, I don't like it anyway for the reasons others have pointed out above.

            If I was living at the north end of the building, this would not be a problem. I have to move in the next two months, sun position in winter will be one of the selection criteria for the new place.

            I have successfully kept three phones entirely solar powered using my little panel and battery for several years. The last two, the only time they where not solar charged was at the factory, they had a charge in them when I bought them new. The same with any Bluetooth devices I use with them.

        5. TReko

          Re: Charge by wire

          Wireless charging has a second drawback - it is inefficient, and the coils in the phone produce a decent amount of heat. Heat which reduces battery life.

          Although, with user-replaceable batteries being a thing of the past, I guess Apple and Samsung make more money when the user has to upgrade their phone because of a cooked battery?

          1. david bates

            Re: Charge by wire

            I've found that my Wileyfox Swift X will stop charging if Im using the GPS and its a hot day in the car. Presumably this will be even more of a problem for wireless charging.

        6. Bullseyed

          Re: Charge by wire

          > Try using your phone whilst charging.

          If I'm using the phone and not using the PHONE, it is pretty easy. The charging docks have flat and upright options.

          For the phone itself, speakerphone or a headset is the best bet. I've got some Jabra headphones with a built in mic that work well around the house. Bit bulky for travel though.

          1. Baldrickk Silver badge

            Re: Charge by wire

            Even with micro-usb, getting compacted fluff out is usually nothing more than a cocktail stick or similar to snag it and extract it.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Charge by wire

        What do you do to your phones? I've never had a single usb connector fail, including on my current five year old phone.

        I don't mind wireless charging as an option. I would hate if it were the only option to charge the thing, though.

      3. david bates

        Re: Charge by wire

        How am I supposed to charge my phone when its in the third party cradle in my car being used for GPS if it has to lie flat on a charging pad? How am I supposed to charge it from a power bank when Im out and about?

        I've never had a USB port fail - its always the plug that fails by design. I dunno what you're doing with your phones...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Charge by wire

          My kids have wrecked a couple of usb connectors over the years, I have once as well. Basic human clumsiness. The engineering design of both the old and new connectors is seriously flawed. They're way too fragile. Should have been implemented as a modular unit that could be easily swapped out by users, but that would have added pennies to the price of each unit!

        2. ChrisC

          Re: Charge by wire

          "I've never had a USB port fail - its always the plug that fails by design. I dunno what you're doing with your phones..."

          Depends how old the phone is - IIRC in the days of mini-USB it was the socket that tended to fail, which was one of the reasons why micro-USB was redesigned to make the plug the weak point.

          Also, micro-USB sockets, like any other uncovered recess on a device which spends significant amounts of time stuffed into a pocket, are far from immune to ending up getting themselves well and truly clogged solid with compacted crud. Again, this might not be a problem if you're in the habit of getting a new phone every year or two, but if you do find yourself hanging onto a phone for longer than this then there's a good chance the build-up of crud will start to reach critical levels, preventing the plug from mating cleanly with the socket.

          Annoyingly, unlike lightning sockets where I first encountered this problem, micro-USB sockets are bloody difficult to clean out properly due to the contacts being on that central finger rather than arranged around the edges of the socket - you need a rather thin crud-hoiking-out tool to squeeze past this without causing it to bend alarmingly off to the side, but said tool still needs to be sturdy enough to then be able to make a dent in the layer of crud.

          And of course, even if the socket and plug combo is designed so that the socket never clogs up, and the plug always wears out first, the socket is still soldered onto the PCB inside the phone, and will almost always only be held in place by those solder joints - you might get some assistance from the way the phone case wraps around the socket body, but every time you ram a plug into the socket, or yank a plug back out of the socket, you're stressing those joints, and sooner or later they're going to give way. If you're lucky they'll do so in a way which means you can still use the socket so long as the cable is held at just the right angle to push the broken joint back together, but if the break is bad enough then it's a case open repair job...

    2. regregular

      Re: Charge by wire

      Even wireless charging requires a wire for the section between the power source and the wireless "base station" thingamajig you rest the phone on.

      They could extrapolate their proprietary bullshit dollars from those things just as well. Deliver the wireless cake, and eat your bucks, as it were.

      1. Multivac

        Re: Charge by wire

        Need a Seiko wank wind mechanism.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Charge by wire

      Most of the mobile accessories I buy come without a charger but with a micro-USB connection. With the standardisation I have no need to spend a lot of money on a badged charger, as I have more than enough chargers already including a compact 2-port one than can charge my S5 in an hour.

    4. Bullseyed

      Re: Charge by wire

      Apple has been very slow to support any wireless charging and makes lots of money by selling licenses to third parties to make cables.

      I don't think they want to get rid of wired charging.

  3. DougS Silver badge

    How does an under screen fingerprint reader

    Eliminate the need for a notch? You have a notch because you have stuff like cameras, speakers, microphones, etc. on the front of the phone. Apple added more to get the 3D face scan, but if they didn't have it and had put a fingerprint reader on the back they'd still have a notch.

    I think one reason only 22% of phones have a notch that the article author overlooks is because the majority of phones released this year haven't tried to be 'all screen' or close to it yet, due to cost. Many phones still have both a 'forehead' and a 'chin' - it would be stupid to have a notch for the forehead and still have a chin.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: How does an under screen fingerprint reader

      "You have a notch because you have stuff like cameras, speakers, microphones, etc. on the front of the phone"

      The Samsung S7 (my current) has this pretty much correct. At the top is the ear speaker, a camera, status LED, and some sensors. At the bottom is a physical button (doubles as fingerprint reader) and two virtual buttons. The screen doesn't go all the way to the top or bottom - and quite honestly I wouldn't want it to - or I'll have to contend with things in weird places. Where do later Samsungs put their fingerprint sensor? Oh yeah, on the back, right next to the camera. You know, that little thing you'd really rather not get great bloody fingerprints all over.

      I took a quick look at https://www.cnet.com/pictures/phones-with-notches/9/ (random Google search) and can honestly say that the "notch" the most unbelievable goddamn ugly maladie to blight upon a phone. Who thought of such a thing? Seriously, a phone bearing such would have to literally shit digital rainbows in order to stop me putting it right back on the showroom shelf...

      1. Bullseyed

        Re: How does an under screen fingerprint reader

        > Samsungs put their fingerprint sensor? Oh yeah, on the back, right next to the camera.

        I'd rather it be out of the way for when I continue to not use it.

        I always think it is funny that so many people who complain about Google Home or Alexa use fingerprint readers, FaceID, or iris scanners.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          What do Google/Alexa have to do with fingerprint readers / FaceID?

          The fingerprint/face data never leaves your phone - never leaves the Secure Enclave in fact. Comparing it to the massive privacy violation of always-on listening in Google Home & Alexa is utterly ridiculous!

  4. pyite42

    Notch isn't so bad

    Just make sure to look out if you see Herobrine.

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Notch isn't so bad

      I have an iPhone X (lovely phone squire, lovely. Look at the plumage). Why does it need a notch? Why couldn't the camera be on one side and the speaker integrated into the top of the phone?

      Oh, and the screen cracked. Not a great problem as I have AppleCare, but if I didn't it is a whopping £286 each time to have it replaced. And there was me believing the hype that sapphire glass was stronger than normal glass.

      I feel so stupid sometimes for trusting a company that sells you a phone made out of glass and then convinces you that it will never break.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Pint

        Re: Notch isn't so bad

        Oh, and the screen cracked. Not a great problem as I have AppleCare, but if I didn't it is a whopping £286 each time to have it replaced.

        I'm impressed. I run a delightful Xiaomi of broadly similar scale and user performance, whilst admittedly lagging on all matter of detail of synthetic benchmarks, and it was within a spit of being able to buy two complete phones for the price of one iPhone X screen.

        I contend that you, Sir, are made of money.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "I contend that you, Sir, are made of money."

          Well, he /was/ made of money, but not any more!

      2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: Notch isn't so bad

        "And there was me believing the hype that sapphire glass was stronger than normal glass."

        For future reference:

        1. Sapphire (actually single crystal alumina) is not a glass. Glasses do not have a long range crystalline structure, and in fact their composition can vary with depth (which is how Gorilla Glass works).

        2. The front of the iPhone X is not crystalline alumina.

        3. Alumina is good for watches because a watch face is small and held by a metal ring, which gives maximum rigidity and prevents cracking. It would be very bad for phones because it can only bend a very small amount before cracking, which would necessitate a very rigid and heavy frame (and quite thick and heavy alumina.)

        4. The clever thing about modern phone glasses is that they are actually rather flexible and yet hard and fairly crack resistant. They are much better, in fact, for the job than alumina.

        I don't believe Apple invested in alumina for anything other than watch and camera windows. Though I guess the repair cost for replacing a cracked alumina screen after someone dropped their 350g phone might have got the service department excited.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Notch isn't so bad

          The screen thing really pisses me off! Sure they're going to break. It's inevitable. And you need big screens, as that's what the market is after.

          But modern phone design is absolutely pisspoor.

          Firstly too many phones are made out of horribly slippery materials. Remember the brilliant HTC Desire with the rubberised back? And the equally lovely and tactile Wildfire (though a less impressive phone). Or at least make the damned things matte not gloss!

          Secondly many are designed to look all pretty, but really need to be cased. So why don't they ship with a fucking case? Rather than having to buy horrible bulky third-party ones... Or do what Nokia (then MS) did with the cheaper Lumia range. The phone itself has no back, but the whole thing fits into a rubberised plastic back which protects the sides of the screen and can deform in order to reduce the force of an impact. Sure it ain't so pretty, but it's much more practical.

          Thirdly, why must the screen be so naked? Why can't we have bezels that protect the screen? Or there was a great case a few years ago that was basically 4 bouncy balls at the corners, so the phone couldn't land with the screen touching the ground - unless it fell on the very edge of something. Also the original iPad had a little rubber insert between the screen and the casing, which didn't look so pretty but meant that shocks to the case would have less impact on the screens. Which saved the screen from cracking in lots of cases.

          The whole industry has gone form over function crazy, and it's really bloody annoying.

          1. onefang Silver badge

            Re: Notch isn't so bad

            "Secondly many are designed to look all pretty, but really need to be cased."

            My Motorola Moto Z came with a "bumper", plastic thingy that covers the edges. It also came with one of the "style Moto Mods". If you are not familiar with the Moto Z series, the have a modular hardware system they call Moto Mod. One type of mod is called "style", basically just a plastic back that looks fancy, comes in many styles. The one I got in the box is fake wood grain. Together the bumper and the style mod make a reasonably protective case. I've dropped it several times, and it's been dropped by others. Typically one corner of the bumper takes most of the impact, it tends to fall off, as does the style mod. Not a scratch on any of those three items.

            Other mods are available, some third party ones, YMMV with those other mods.

            I also added a third party screen protector, and camera protector on the rear camera. They have worked well to.

            "Thirdly, why must the screen be so naked? Why can't we have bezels that protect the screen?"

            Yep, that bumper extends a millimeter or two past the front of the phone, providing effective "bezels that protect the screen". Which brings me back to ...

            "Firstly too many phones are made out of horribly slippery materials."

            The naked Moto Z is indeed slippery, the bumper and style mod not so much. You can feel the fake wood texture. Nicely matt.

        2. Bullseyed

          Re: Notch isn't so bad

          > For future reference

          Interesting how a quick glance at wikipedia demonstrates basically everything in this entire comment is incorrect.

      3. Ken 16 Silver badge

        Re: Notch isn't so bad

        I bought a Doogee Y100 Pro in advance of a holiday based on it's ad showing someone cracking walnuts with the screen. Day 1 the wind blew it out of my pocket as I walked along a cliff and the screen cracked on the rocks (on the second bounce, I'll give it that). It still worked and at under €100 wasn't worth repairing.

        That was my first cracked screen after about 5 years of smartphone ownership, until then I thought only iPhone screens cracked (because I'd only seen ads for iPhone screen replacement and people on public transport using iPhones with cracked screens) and it was 3 years til my next, when I dropped and cracked 2 in the space of a month.

        I've gone Xiaomi too now, they work well and it's a big enough brand that I can get any accessory I want.

        1. David Nash Silver badge

          Re: Notch isn't so bad

          "I'd only seen ads for iPhone screen replacement and people on public transport using iPhones with cracked screens"

          That's my experience too. My hypothesis is that a large part of the iPhone market overlaps with the set of people who treat their phone with less respect than a miniature high performance computer made of fragile materials deserves. ie. the young, they've been brought up with them being a normal part of life, not a new high-tech gadget, and treat them accordingly, like a toaster. Familiarity breeds, if not contempt, then indifference.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Notch isn't so bad

            My hypothesis is that a large part of the iPhone market overlaps with the set of people who treat their phone with less respect than a miniature high performance computer made of fragile materials deserves.

            A large portion of other such vandals are nurses!

  5. mark l 2 Silver badge

    A total lack of wired charging would be mean I would never purchase that model of phone. I suspect even fanbois for a manufacturer of phones that went down that route would be hard pressed to talk up the benefits to the customer for not having the ability to charge their phone using a cable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Me too. A cable lets me charge my phone at home, in the car, at work, at a friend's house..... etc.

      Until wireless charging is standard and ubiquitous I would also need to lug a wireless charger around as well as a cable.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Don't get too complacent. My work phone is a Samsung J3 (piece of total cheapskate shit, by the way), and it has USB C connector. Great, you can plug the fucker in any way round! On the other hand, 98% of all USB cables you'll find will be micro B.

        So my point is simply that you (and I) can be hold outs, but ultimately we'll get what we're given.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          "ultimately we'll get what we're given."

          Not me. I've already bought my last commercially manufactured smartphone, precisely because they keep making decisions like this that substantially reduce the usefulness of them.

        2. david bates

          You can get little adapters that change micro-USB to USB-C for pennies on Amazon...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            No you can't, you can get adapters that change the plug form micro-USB to USB-C that doesn't make your cable USB compliant, there arent enough wires in it for a start.

          2. JohnFen Silver badge

            Meh. Adapters suck.

        3. Spanners Silver badge
          Happy

          "we'll get what we're given"

          I have a few USB C cables. One in my desk drawer at work, one in my rucksac and so on.

          This is much easier (and cheaper) than stashing wireless chargers around.

          1. Bullseyed

            Re: "we'll get what we're given"

            If you play the sales and deals, you can get the Samsung wireless chargers for like $20-$25.

            While I can get cheapo-China cables on Amazon or whatever for $3, I'm also rolling the dice that they're going to short out and brick my phone. So I'm either going to pay closer to $15 for a premium charger that I have faith in, or $25 for a wireless charger (that comes with a Samsung cable to begin with).

            You can always unplug the wireless part and plug the phone directly into it.

        4. Andytug

          Your friendly South American river website will sell you 4x USB-C adapters about 13mm long for £5. No need to buy any cables, and they can be attached to a keyring for travel.

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      "A total lack of wired charging would be mean I would never purchase that model of phone."

      Ditto. But not just for charging. If there's no wire with which to charge with, it implies no wire for data transfer. What are you supposed to use? WiFi? Bluetooth? Some proprietary rubbish on top of WiFi? All will be slower than a direct cable...

      1. Adam 1 Silver badge

        > What are you supposed to use? WiFi? Bluetooth? Some proprietary rubbish on top of WiFi?

        The SD card slot obviously.

        1. David Nash Silver badge
          Pint

          The SD card slot obviously

          I like the way you think!

          Edit: Changed the icon from thumbs up to a beer. Well it is hot weather here.

      2. Bullseyed

        What files are you putting on or off of your phone regularly?

        1. onefang Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          "What files are you putting on or off of your phone regularly?"

          For me, it's mostly VR porn, which live in the micro SD card. When I give VR demonstrations to seniors, using that phone and a Google Daydream, I keep that card out of the phone. Don't want any of them stumbling across my porn collection, the venue managers might get upset. Some of the seniors might get upset, though some are a raunchy lot.

          I do some volunteer work at this seniors place, as their IT guy. Teaching seniors how to use their phones and laptops, helping them with what ever thing they need help with. The whole stumbling across porn thing worked the other way one day. One of the seniors brought his laptop in, his web browser had stopped working. So I fire up the browser, note what error happens, a quick easy fix for an experienced computer guy like me. Then I fired up his browser once more, to show him it's now working. Naturally the browser said it detected it had crashed, should it open up the tabs it was showing before the crash? Being in helpful mode, I clicked on yes, the guy might have some important tabs open he would like to return to. The web site the browser opens up is full of porn, and worse, not my type of porn at all. I say "Oops", close it quickly before anyone pops their head in my office, and we have a bit of a laugh.

          Paris, coz she's been known to pop up unexpectedly in porn, my type of porn.

        2. JohnFen Silver badge

          I transfer files to/from my phone on pretty much a daily basis. Aside from music, this includes documents and books, as well as code and other files related to various projects I'm working on.

    3. JohnFen Silver badge

      Given that they decided getting rid of user-replaceable batteries was a good idea, a trend toward wireless-only charging would probably make sense to the same idiotic power-hating designers.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More non-Western models here, please

    Large screen, massive battery, 3.5mm audio jack, sub $400. They probably have dual SIMs and micro SD cards, as well. For heaven's sake, can we have more of these sensible phones, but with a current OS, and less of the razor thin, notched, low battery-lifed, porn-star smooth port-less $1000+ fashion items that for some reason seem to be prized here?

    1. jonathan keith

      Re: More non-Western models here, please

      Throw in a replaceable battery and I'll join you on the streets.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More non-Western models here, please

      That's a good description of my phone and it was sub $200. In fact a perfect description apart from the current OS bit. That said my 640XL will be getting monthly security updates for the next year.

    3. aregross

      Re: More non-Western models here, please

      (you left out)

      .... Holy Shit, where's the aspirin!

    4. Ian Emery Silver badge

      Re: More non-Western models here, please

      You have just described my last three Xiaomi phones!!! (the fourth had a removable battery, a spare for which cost me (GASP!!) £2.50).

  7. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    All very well talking about notches. But what about phones that now want hugs?

  8. steelpillow Silver badge
    Devil

    End game

    No notch

    No buttons

    No wires

    No sockets

    No way in

    All sensors and speakers under-screen

    All software under voice assistant and/or gesture control

    Now who does that remind me of?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: End game

      Ok, who?

      It can't be Apple because they don't meet all 3 your top conditions on the same iDevice (yet)

    2. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Re: End game

      Terminator and Skynet?

  9. Grikath Silver badge
    Facepalm

    In any context...

    Define "expert" , given modern IT.

    oh yeah.... forgot the [sarc] tag....

  10. Camilla Smythe
    Pint

    Whut?

    Being a non smart phone user I thought that this might be a warning of some virusy thing but... It turned out to be click bait.

    However if I were to be a smart phone user I would be telling those responsible to take their notch and fuck right off with the repulsive blemish.

    I would also tell those trying to find excuses for the wart to go fuck off as well.

    I was forced to Google this...

    https://gizmodo.com/after-just-6-months-the-phone-notch-is-already-deeply-1823469447

    When Essential debuted the first-ever notched display on the PH-1, it was a bold, divisive statement about smartphone design.

    No!!11!! Just Fuck Off.

    With the recent trend of smartphones opting for full-view or extra-wide or whatever you want to call it displays and cutting down on bezels, the notch was really an inevitable evolution.

    No!!11!! Stop insulting Darwin or at least let Darwin take its course.

    "Ooooo. I see you have a notch phone."

    "Yes. Bow down before its Superior Notchiness."

    "Still got your Google Glass stored in your Sock Draw?"

    "Fuck Off!"

    "BwaHahHahHahLOL."

    "Fuck Off!"

    And that’s really the issue at heart, because not long after Essential and Apple made notches neat, everyone else hopped on the bandwagon and ruined it. After all, there are few things worse than running into someone and realizing you are wearing the same clothes. What a bummer.

    Wait... This is Gizmodo? Maybe I missed the <sarc> tags. Are they at WeboRrhea3?

    ... Glad I missed that bandwagon.

    "Oooooooo. Yooooou've got a 'Notch Phone'."

    "Fuck Off."

    "Is it still under contract?"

    "Look. Just Fuck OFF!"

    "Mark of the Beast LOL... Noooo Don't hit me have some Beers as a consolation."

    1. John Sanders
      Trollface

      Re: Whut?

      >>> Being a non smart phone user I thought that this might be a warning of some virusy thing but... It turned out to be click bait.

      The good'n'old ElReg, Duh!

      We woulnd't be here otherwise!

  11. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge

    We need a "Why bother?" icon

    My 1st. gen. Moto G is still going strong on its original (replaceable) battery. It was £99 and I never bothered to insure it, saving me around £240 so far. If the screen were to crack I would just bin it. It's stuck on Android 5.x so I'm planning to put Lineage OS on it when I get the time. That will bring it up to Android 7.1.2.

    I agree with the comments above, I want a wire with a standard connector.

  12. tiggity Silver badge

    Keep notches where they belong

    .. on the bedposts

    1. John Sanders
      Pint

      Re: Keep notches where they belong

      My man!

      You win the beer!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Keep notches where they belong

        > My man!

        Tut, tut, you're assuming they're a man! :-P

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Keep notches where they belong

      Does your chewing gum lose its flavour overnight? Then store it in this handy notch!

  13. John Sanders
    Facepalm

    >> Many models will never wash up in mature markets like the UK, but it's what the production lines are churning out. The survey includes many models not marketed here, but popular for providing buyers in emerging markets with large displays and hefty batteries. That skews the survey towards larger phones.

    Oh shock, oh horror, some people are more concerned by function than form.

    And even more shocking, some people buy phones to actually use them, and not as a piece of jewellery.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Feature or "Feature".

    I don't know why reviews and articles talk of the notch as a feature - surely it's a "feature", as in a nasty addition to a product that attempts to disguise that someone cocked up and that the underlying problem was never fixed. I suspect many readers spend much of their professional lives trying to avoid adding "features" in the first place.

    But then I could be a bit odd. Everyone raves over the curved screen edges on phones such as the Samsung S8 and personally I hate it. It distorts the display which drives me nuts and any apps that go right to the edge suffer from the reduced accuracy and sensitivity of the touch panel. I liked my old S4 and every phone I had previously that did perfectly well with a flat screen and a bezel.

    If we allow this nonsense to continue, before we know it Google will do something really daft with Android like move the clock over to the left and... what... ?

    Oh.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Feature or "Feature".

      So when I tell people that my nose is my best feature, I should be shutting up then?

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: Feature or "Feature".

        "So when I tell people that my nose is my best feature, I should be shutting up then?"

        Only if you put "feature" in scare quotes, feature noses are fine.

  15. Andytug

    I have a Sony Xperia

    Compact version (so fits in pocket), bezels top and bottom for the two speakers and the camera, not a problem. Only thing I think would be handy on a phone would be an e-ink screen on the back to display notifications constantly without running the battery down, didn't someone try that and it never sold though....?

  16. tentimes

    The biggest problem with Android is this...

    Operators not updating phones. LG are really bad for this. Samsung seem to be pretty good - I am still getting regular security updates for my S7.

    IMHO we should start ranking the manufacturers on timely security updates and naming and shaming the ones that don't update their tat.

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: The biggest problem with Android is this...

      "IMHO we should start ranking the manufacturers on timely security updates"

      For what it is worth, my Moto Z, flagship from two or three years ago, started life with Android 6.0.1 when I got it out of the box, got 7.0 OTA soon after, monthly OTA updates until end of last year, there was several months delay, then it got 8.0.0 OTA. My last OTA update was a week or two ago, security patches and kernel from May. I fully expect it to keep getting OTA updates every month or two, and perhaps Android 9 several months after that's released.

      Likely not the best, but pretty good. Tends to be only a month or two behind for security updates.

      I can't give details for my old Galaxy S3, I pretty much rooted it and flashed it shortly after buying it. Moto Z is almost unadulterated Android, Galaxy S3 isn't, which is why I flashed it after giving the Samsung software a brief trial. If Motorola fall behind with their updates, I'll likely put LineageOS on it. Though I understand LineageOS doesn't support Google Daydream, and might not support Moto Mods. Which could be a deal breaker.

  17. J27 Bronze badge

    I don't know about all this notch hate, on Android if it's no bigger than the notification bar and not massively wide you're not really missing out on anything. Color that bar black and you just have floating notifications. Seems acceptable to me. That or a popup front camera, neither bugs me. I don't that many selfies.

    1. Spanners Silver badge
      Big Brother

      @J27

      Perhaps the reason that so many people are grousing about aesthetic matters is they feel that functionally, things are good!

      There are some really bad functionality matters around but they haven't hit everyone yet. Wait until Apple "invent" the eSIM!

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      "you're not really missing out on anything"

      You may not be, but I sure would. The notch tends to take up a lot of the space that would be used for the notification bar, so I'd have to eliminate some items from the notification bar.

      It really irritates me to have to give up useful functionality for aesthetics. Particularly when the aesthetics are of the terrible variety.

    3. Bullseyed

      I was thinking about the same thing. I could lose the front camera and not really care. I'm sure that would be market suicide though.

      I mostly use the front camera as a replacement for a mirror in a pinch.

  18. IGnatius T Foobar ✅

    not a feature

    Leave it to Apple fanbois to consider a defective design (the notch) to be a "feature" and then for others to ape it. Feh.

  19. David 164 Bronze badge

    I know this was a tongue in cheek article but the notch isn't there for the fingerprint scanner, which work really well being place on the back. It there to accommodate front facing camera and other sensors that the selfie generation demand.

    Personally I would love nothing more for a manufacture to release a phone with zero front facing cameras, with 100% front edge to edge screen with the screen being use as a speaker,. But I suspect such a design wouldn't go over well with the selfie generation, even with a second screen on the back for self photos.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      "Personally I would love nothing more for a manufacture to release a phone with zero front facing cameras"

      I'm with you there. The camera, whether front or rear facing, is something that I use so rarely that I wouldn't miss it if it were absent. I use fingerprint scanners even less. But I absolutely don't want a 100% edge-to-edge screen -- after trying it out, it's clear that, for me, it's a misfeature that causes problems all by itself.

      I want some amount of space around the edges where I can hold the thing without covering any display area or touching a touch-sensitive surface.

  20. Pat Att

    ???

    WTF is this article about?

    1. Spanners Silver badge

      Re: ???

      The "notch" is a black blob in the top centre of the screens of some new phone types.

      Discussion has expanded to other "clever ideas" that are being incorporated into new phones without our being asked.

      My conclusion is that the notch is ugly and unneccesary. It is part of efforts to remove features from phones that trendy designers do not like. The removals of some of the features may even be profit driven. I have nothing against profit itself. I just don't think too much of it if it leaves me with an ugly, less useful and more expensive device.

      I think the conversation has expanded from a discussion of one feature, to one about a lot more. That's what forums (fora) are for.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019