The smartphone camera notch is one of the more divisive design decisions of recent years. It’s designed to address a genuine issue: when phones are almost entirely made of screens, where do you put the front-facing cameras and related sensors? Some firms have gone down the same road as Apple, with varying degrees of success at making the result look slick. But in 2019, the big phone makers are taking a big step forward, with new approaches to making this year’s handsets the most futuristic-looking tech of all time.
For a start, it’s good news for anybody who loved the Matrix Nokias of the late 1990s: sliders are back! Back! BACK! Honor, Xiaomi and Lenovo are all launching a design that leaves the hefty screens pure and un-notched and makes the display itself slide down instead.
The Honor Magic 2 is a great example of the slider approach: its three(!) front-facing cameras are all hidden behind the 6.29-inch AMOLED main screen, and all you need to do is slide the screen down to expose them. It really works: you get all the benefits of an almost bezel-free phone without sacrificing on the camera front. An in-display fingerprint reader handles biometric security, too. Honor claims that give the phone a “nearly 100%” screen-to-body ratio, compared to a mere 84.4% for the iPhone XS Max.
It’s a similar story with the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3: once again its front-facing cameras are concealed behind its tall 6.39-inch, 1080x2340 display, which slides down to expose the dual-lens setup. Lenovo’s on the case too: its Z5 Pro packs a dual-camera setup behind its sliding screen (same size and resolution as the Xiaomi). This enables