What iPhone X without the ‘notch’ would look like


Vivo NEX shows how the iPhone X could have looked
The Vivo NEX shows how the iPhone X without the notch could have looked.
Photo: Vivo

Even though the iPhone X has proved very popular, its screen cutout nevertheless has critics. A rival phone maker unveiled a device that shows why Apple went with the design it did.

The Vivo NEX has a nearly edge-to-edge screen, with no notch in sight. This was accomplished by putting the front-facing camera on pop-out tab. An easily broken tab.

Notch vs. pop-out

Displays that cover as much of the device as possible are in vogue, but a  selfie camera is an absolute requirement. Apple’s answer is to put the front camera lens in a cutout. Vivo chose a pop-out camera instead.

The advantage of the second option is obvious, but the drawbacks shouldn’t be ignored. The Vivo NEX‘s camera is a moving part. Phone designers try to leave moving parts out because they break or just wear out. That’s what’s inevitably going to happen with this one too.

The iPhone X’s camera takes up some display space, but it’s not on a fragile piece of plastic projecting from the device. 

Don’t forget about Face ID

A front-facing camera isn’t all that’s in the device’s screen cutout. The Face ID scanners are in there too. 

An iPhone X without the notch but still employing this facial-recognition technology would require a making room on the pop-out  for two additional scanners. And they’d have to pop out whenever the iPhone is unlocked.

Another option is, of course, forgoing Face ID and employing a fingerprint scanner instead. That’s what Vivo did.

But Apple says facial recognition is twenty times more secure. Fingerprint scanners can be fooled with relative ease and some gelatin. So far, only identical twins have managed to trick Face ID, and just about the only people who need to worry about an evil twin surreptitiously accessing their phone are on soap operas.

Just accept the notch and move on

A screen cutout isn’t a perfect solution, but there are no perfect solutions. Apple chose what’s clearly the best option for the iPhone X. Other companies seem to agree, as several rival phone makers have announced Android devices with notches.

All this matters because, according to the best information we have available, the design for the iPhone X is the basis for all the 2018 iPhone models. Three are expected, each with a screen cutout and Face ID, and no sign of Touch ID.