What is the notch?

It's all about that notch on your smartphone display...
What is the notch?
The notch sparked controversy when Apple added it to the iPhone X, but what is it and why does it feature on so many new phones.

Love it or hate it, you’ll find a notch on plenty of the latest smartphones. But what is it and what’s it for?

What is the notch?

Like many phone innovations, it all started with Apple. We first saw a notch on the iPhone X and it caused quite a stir. It wasn’t just a design statement though. Like everything Apple does, there was a very good reason for it.

For the last few years, phone manufacturers have been trying to get the screen as close to the edge of the phone as possible. The problem is, that most phones have at least one speaker and a selfie cam. Apple’s answer was to stretch the screen all the way to the edges but keep a small area at the top for the camera, speaker and light sensor. The result is the distinctive notch design.

Now, you’ll find a notch on lots of different phones, and in lots of different sizes.

So let’s take a look at some of our favourite notch and notch-less phones…

Apple iPhone X

With a screen-to-body ratio of 82.9%, the iPhone X certainly pushes edge-to-edge design to its limit, while still housing a speaker, TruDepth camera, FaceID, and light sensor.

apple iphone notch

The time, battery, Wi-Fi, and signal symbols sit either side of the notch making full use of all the available space. But if the notch design just isn’t for you, don’t worry, there is a way to hide it.

notcho ios app

All you need to do is download the free Notcho app from the App Store. It lets you create custom wallpapers that give the impression of a notch-free design.

Take a look at iPhone X

Huawei P20 Pro

The P20 Pro is all about the camera, with a massive 40MP main camera and an equally impressive 24MP selfie camera.

huawei p20 pro

The P20 Pro has a much smaller notch than the iPhone X even though it still houses a camera, speaker and light sensor. The screen is huge too, a whopping 6.1 inches giving it an 82% screen to body ratio – very impressive considering it still has a physical ‘Home’ button below the screen too.

Take a look at the Huawei P20 Pro

Google Pixel 3

If the notch just isn’t for you, why not take a look at the Google Pixel 3?

The screen, with its stylish rounded edges, fills up an impressive 77.2% of the phone while still housing a selfie cam, all the usual sensors and a pair of stereo speakers. And it’s the stereo speakers that make this phone perfect for the mobile gamer, music streamer, or anyone who loves catching up on their favourite TV shows.

google pixel 3

If you like the sound of the Pixel 3 and you love the notch too, the Pixel 3 XL comes with a huge 6.3-inch screen boasting an 82.8% screen-to-body ratio and still has stereo speakers.

Take a look at the Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL


When it comes to edge-to-edge screens, OPPO has taken a very different approach.

At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there isn’t a selfie cam at all, and that’s because OPPO has cleverly tucked it away behind the screen. This means the 6.4-inch screen fills up a staggering 87% of the phone.

At the touch of a button, the camera slides out from the top of the phone and when you’re done, it tucks neatly away.

oppo find x

It’s not just a fancy gimmick either, it packs some serious camera tech. It’s got a dual 16MP and 20MP rear camera, plus a 25MP selfie camera with AI-enhanced shooting options.

We got hands-on with the OPPO Find X – find out what we thought.

What do you think of the notch, love it or hate it? Let us know in the comments below.

Take a look at our full range of notch and notch-less smartphones.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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