Huawei’s new P20 flagship has a notch. That’s okay; loads of phones have launched with notches this year. What Huawei has done differently is introduce a feature that lets you turn the notch “off.” Very simply, this setting changes the status bar to black, which effectively camouflages the cutout containing the phone’s front-facing camera and speaker.
It’s not completely seamless, but as the pictures below show, it’s pretty damn good. At a glance, it just looks like the phone has a thicker top bezel, although if you squint you can see where the notch ends and the screen begins. Here’s the before and after, courtesy of Android Police:
Huawei has done well here, as handling notches has become a bit of a burden for Android OEMs and developers. The Essential Phone was the first handset with a notch, but most phone makers have since copied Apple’s take, which goes for a slightly broader cutout.
Google is also having to deal with this sudden change to so many phones’ user interfaces, and in the latest version of Android, it included “display cutout support.” However, this feature is mainly for developers, who can use it to test how their apps will interact with notches, making sure crucial bits of information don’t get hidden by accident.
But perhaps introducing a feature like Huawei’s will be next for Android. I certainly know a few Apple users who would like to turn off the notch on their iPhone X.