Let’s get one thing straight: I think the phone screen-as-device face looks as attractive as anyone else. But am I so married to the mantra of bezel-less handsets and tablets that I’d go screaming at every bezel I saw in an article, post, or tweet? Of course not, and you should’t either. The fact is that a very vocal contigent of “bezel-haters” has sprung up in the last few years, forcibly pushing manfacturers into sacrificing usability and structural soundness in pursuit of this seeming expressed consumer preference. The vitriol of some of these haters is ridiculous, attacking any device unfortunate enough to be low end and unable to afford the flagships’ million-dollar development budgets and manufacturing techniques.
When I first saw the upper screen corners of the LG G2, I couldn’t even believe it was a real product. It’s a great phone to be sure, but I still cringe at the thought of dropping it from any decent distance off-the-ground and having it land smack on that little sliver of plastic. I once had the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 — built by HTC (codename Venus) — and that thing was a little tank. Dropped it many times on any number of surfaces from a few heart-stopping heights, and it sits in my drawer today almost like new, recessed screen out-of-vogue but completely crack-free and ready to shine. Phones today, with their tiny bezels, are churning through warranty claims so fast that the deductibles have inflated to nearly the same as the price of a brand new handset.
The other issue that plagues small-bezeled devices is a preponderance of unintentional screen taps. To use the G2 as an example again — sorry LG! — I can’t tell you how many times I accidently tap the screen while my finger is hovering around the border contemplating a selection. Usually the tap is completely benign and only the slightest bit annoying, but sometimes it results in the device performing a more serious miscue, and it make me wonder how the aging Generations X, Y, and beyond are ever going to sucessfully avoid accidents with what will surely be wraparound, completely bezel-less displays. I’ve not even touched on the entirely separate issue of palms on tablets, and how the so-called rejection technology is far from universally perfected across the wide breadth of OEMs. Nor did I mention the superior viewing experience offered by a screen with a distinct black border around it — a bezel.
I honestly think that the bezel-haters are actually just a vocal minority, and that the vast majority of people are reasonalbe enough to see all these yet-to-be-addressed issues with the unwavering march towards no bezels, anywhere, for anything. Maybe I’m wrong and just getting old, in which case I can only hope for the rapid ascension of alternative display technologies, the voice-controlled Google Glasses and motion-responsive Oculus Rifts of the future.