Believe it or not, it’s been over eight years since Samsung unveiled its first smartphone with a curved display: the Galaxy Note Edge. A weird phone with a weirder gimmick, the original Edge only curved on one side, leaving the phone lopsided. Most buyers probably opted to buy the Galaxy Note 4 that year, but Samsung wasn’t done with its curved experiment. These days, it’s not hard to find curved displays, especially on flagships. That’s not to say everyone’s a fan, of course — in fact, it’s safe to say some users can’t stand a sloped screen.
Now that’s a throwback watermark.
Although Samsung initially introduced its curved screens with some specialized software in mind, these days, it’s mostly used as a way to slim down ultra-large phablets. By curving the screen, you can reduce the width of the phone, making it narrower in the user’s hand and making the most of the space provided. Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect compromise. Curved screens can make typing more difficult, especially if you’re opting to go caseless. False touches can result in your palm accidentally triggering UI elements, while the panel itself might not look the same along these edges. If you want an easy-to-apply screen protector, forget it — what’s available is often either cheap plastic or expensive tempered glass that requires liquid adhesives.
That said, curved screens aren’t all bad. As mentioned, they do make the phone narrower — just compare the sizes of the Pixel 6 Pro and Apple’s new iPhone 14 Pro Max. Google saved 3mm of width just by utilizing a curved screen, despite the similarly-sized screens. That advantage carries over to accessories, too; putting on a case only makes the phone as wide as non-curved devices, not any wider. Also — and I admit this is subjective — they look cool. In our world of folding screens and futuristic rollables, it’s easy to miss that the display curving right into the back of the phone looks pretty radical.
These days — without as much of a focus on bedside clocks and minimized apps — the argument for or against curved screens boils down to form versus function. Do you want something that looks slim and modern, or would you rather opt for a more standard glass sheet, something that might require a little extra width but pays off with accessories?
I was inspired to make this poll after we got our first official glimpse at the front of the Pixel 7 Pro, which looks to keep its curved panel (albeit not quite as extreme as last year’s model). Early reactions seemed to split on whether or not this design was good. We’ve seen plenty of manufacturers back off from insisting on curved panels, though the highest of high-end phones — the Pixel 6 Pro, the Galaxy S22 Ultra — have kept them around.
So, it’s time to hash this out for good. Curved screens: yay or nay? I’ve also included an option for curved screens that bend inward, like the old LG G Flex. There aren’t nearly as many phones with that style of panel, but hey, why not. Let’s hear your best arguments in the comments below.