The hole-punch display is going to be okay

In 2018, bad notches happened to good Android phones. But the design trend for 2019 is going to be much better, judging from my first experience with the notch’s successor: the hole-punch display. The Honor View 20 is one of the first flagship phones with a selfie camera cutout that’s literally just the camera. It’s almost exactly the size of the opening that a hole punch makes in sheets of paper, so I think the name is apt. And it helps to almost completely eliminate the top bezel of the phone. Coming to the View 20 from my jumbo-notch-equipped Pixel 3 XL has been a revelation and a delight.

The View 20 is already official in China, but it’s still a couple of weeks away from its global launch in an event in Paris on January 21st. (Look out for our full review at that time.) For now, I can furnish you with a few facts about the phone and my first impressions of the hole-punch life.

This phone’s screen is an LCD that measures 6.4 inches diagonally and has a resolution of 2310 x 1080. Honor’s done some clever engineering to create a cutout in an LCD, which is a trickier task than doing the same with an OLED panel. The View 20 has good viewing angles, rich but not overwhelming colors, and sufficient sharpness to satisfy my needs. The aspect where it most apparently lags flagship competition is in its brightness outdoors.

As to the software experience, that will take a bit of refinement to get just right, but most apps are basically unaffected. The cutout just nudges the notification and status icons into the middle of the display and everything goes along as it already did with notches. You can also opt to have a black bar going across the screen, should you be especially offended by any distinctive cutouts at the front of the display.

It’s hard to think of Honor, an understudy brand to Huawei’s consumer electronics operation, as a competitive name at the very highest tier of smartphones. But this company has done a very neat job of integrating the design feature that will dominate 2019 with its hole-punch display. And with specs like a 4,000mAh battery, a 7nm Kirin 980 processor, a 48-megapixel camera, up to 8GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of storage, the View 20 is proving to be quite the compelling start to the year.

Pixel 3 XL (left) next to Huawei View 20.

Photography by Vlad Savov / The Verge

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Comments

Goodbye notches. You will not be missed.

I still wish someone did what ZTE and Vivo did with the screen on the back but with better software. Doesn’t even have to be stock Android, if Xiaomi did it it would be amazing. Maybe the MI Mix 4?

Are they crazy going face down on brick – that will scratch the screen. The Pixel 3 notch is just obnoxious. Its huge, obtrusive, and literally detracts from the otherwise good design of the hardware. The hole punch will be welcome in my pocket – unless these folding phones that seem to be coming soon knock our socks off (hope).

Gorilla glass is tougher than you think. But more likely there’s probably just a piece of paper under it or something. This isn’t their first rodeo

Buenas noches

How’s the angle when using the front camera?

The odd spacing is a little off-putting. Not a fan that it is sitting not at equal distances to the borders, but otherwise I really dig it! Much more acceptable than a notch, especially in contrast to that Pixel bathtup of a notch – holy shit!

Same, It would look nicer if it was still somewhat connected to the end of a phone in some sort of Notch-Hole hybrid IMO.

Corner notches exist;)

My friend and I were discussing camera placement maybe couple weeks ago. And I was playing with camera placement options in Illustrator just for fun.. I sent him this image with a comment:

"I can’t wait for this to start happening (he said sarcastically)"

Link to a full size image

Ha ha, you’re right… the 2nd pic bothers me!

I secretly hoped I was wrong What is up with nearly everyone but Apple hating padding..

Maybe cutting off entire corners of websites.

What do you mean? You mean Android cutting it off or Apple? Because typically Android cuts off stuff more while Apple uses safe areas and whatnot if I remember correctly.

The Android SDK is supposed to take care of that So hopefully it will not happen. (The blue bar, in case of the horrible notch of pixel 3 xl, has the same height as the status bar)

I’m saying there should be a small gap (padding), it should not touch the bottom of the status bar. Phone in the video is maybe not completely touching the bar but it’s too close, maybe 1 mm would be enough, but that spacing in the video – not enough.

Oh yeah you are right, it’s really really close.

Thats just what i wanted to reply.
If we align it to the curve, the hole comes further down causing the more screen the be left unused if we want it like the image at the left, or it looks bad like in image two.
So i guess its good that the hole is not aligned with the curve

Yeah that’s one of the reasons why I don’t love the punch hole concept, if you want it aligned properly (or at all) , notification bar becomes thicker and you lose more space than with a notch.

Correction, not "(or at all)", what I wanted to say is that holes conceptually will take more vertical space simply because holes are not as close to the top as possible, that’s one advantage of a notch – it can be pushed to the top as much as you want, maybe even further to the bezel if it’s flat.

Yeah from a symmetric point of view its a no go, but i find this hole may be a lot less distracting than the notch which are at the centre and these are at the sides and little outside your focus, this is what i seem to get from the photos tho, no in hand experience till now.
And we also cant have a notch in one side for obvious reasons

I was about to comment that I thing the cutout shouldn’t be in any otherwise usable area of the screen. It’s way better than the notch, but I think it will still be distracting once content flows behind it.

I like it.

I guess Apple can’t use this though as the notch also includes all the Face ID stuff right?

They could shrink the notch, seeing as the supplier of the optical sensor part of their Face ID solution has supposedly managed to hide it underneath the OLED display. But that still leaves the laser scanner as well as the front-facing camera exposed, which would make for a rather long hole-punch if they tried to do it. Maybe if they put two holes, one at each corner…

Maybe if they put two holes, one at each corner…

hahahahahahahahha

ps. I wish they really do that

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