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Back in time flow: how the screen/body ratio of smartphones has changed for over the past decade

Back in time flow: how the screen/body ratio of smartphones has changed for over the past decade

. 4 min read

Nowadays, smartphones have larger screens and thinner bezels, helping it reach an extremely high-level screen/body ratio.

Phone producers are trying their best to provide users smartphones with higher screen/body ratios. This means the screen occupies most of the front of the phone. In 2016, Xiaomi launched Mi MIX.

At that time, MIX held the No.1 position on the list of smartphones with the highest screen/body ratio, with the actual rate is 84.02% compared to the average 69, 57%.

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Xiaomi Mi MIX

It’s only been 3 years, but smartphone manufacturers have improved this ratio greatly. Until now, when comparing the average standard to the highest rate, it is no longer too much difference.

The three upper bezels are extremely thin, but the bottom bezel is thick

To reach the high screen ratio, Xiaomi has made Mi MIX with 3 top bezels extremely thin, but thick bezel at the bottom because of the front camera integrated. This is also the design that Sharp and Nokia have made before with Aquos and N9, but MIX has a higher rate.

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Sharp AQUOS Crystal

Debuting notch screen

The MIX design did not exist in a long time. Until 2017, Mi MIX gave the position to Essential PH-1, one of the first smartphones having the notch.

The Sharp Aquos S2 also has a notch screen and debuted before Essential PH-1 just a few days, but the screen/body ratio of Sharp is still less than Essential PH-1. The iPhone X also debuted at the same time, but rabbit ears are occupying too much.

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Essential PH-1
screen/body ratio-4
iPhone X

Below is a list of smartphones with the highest screen/body rates over each period. This is the actual number, not the screen rate of manufactures advertising.

For example, the Lenovo Z5 Pro is advertised to have a screen/body ratio up to 95.06%, but in fact, it is only 88.53%. However, this number is still high enough to help it to be the best in 2018.

The smartphone list with the highest screen/body rates over each period
The smartphone list with the highest screen/body rates over each period

The notch is a screen design type with the missing area for camera. Sharp and Essential took the lead in this design, but Apple was the one who made it popular with the “rabbit ears” style.

However, “rabbit ears” is not favored by Android companies for a long time and gradually changed into “water drop” slimmer type as Sharp and Essential did.

Gliding design knocked notch design off the top spot

Smartphones with gliding design knocked the Smartphones with notch design off the top spot quickly. By the sliding design, these smartphones have a screen that almost occupies the front area of the phone.

In 2018, the Lenovo Z5 Pro was the machine with the highest screen/body ratio rely on this design. Essential, Mi MIX 1 and Mi MIX 3 all have a screen/body ratio of about 85%, while the Lenovo Z5 Pro is up to 88%.

Lenovo Z5 Pro
Lenovo Z5 Pro

Until now, the sliding design is still quite popular. It has some variations such as indented camera, “shark fin,” both sliding and rotating as OPPO Find X, OnePlus 7 Pro or OPPO Reno 10x Zoom and Galaxy A80.

The “perforated” design

There is not yet have someone can pass the Galaxy S10 5G in the category of smartphones the highest screen/body ratio. Even S10 5G uses the “perforated” design.

Honestly, the perforated screen does not bring the using area much higher than the “water drop” screen. The S10 5G has the biggest hole size on the screen in the 5G series because it contains the ToF camera in front. Finally, it still wins because it is the device having the highest screen/body ratio.

Galaxy S10 5G
Galaxy S10 5G

The S10 5G has the largest screen in the S10 series. Its screen is up to 6.7 inches, combined with 3 bezels are quite thin, and this makes the screen/body ratio is still very high. If a 1mm bezel on a 5-inch smartphone looks quite reasonable, so on screen over 6 inches, it is thin. In fact, the device has a high screen/body ratio; all have large screen sizes.

The graph shows the average screen/body ratio is getting closer and closer to the highest rate in the year.
The graph shows the average screen/body ratio (blue line) is getting closer and closer to the highest rate (red line) in the year.

Perhaps, soon, this ratio can be higher relied on new technologies like hidden cameras under, bezels are thinner and thinner.