It looks like the smartphone notch is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.
Almost every premium smartphone now comes with a notch design, which was first introduced with the Essential Phone in 2017 — yep, the iPhone X was actually the second phone to feature a notch.
After the iPhone X was released, it seemed like a free-for-all where nearly every smartphone maker adopted the notch. Samsung is a notable holdout against the notched design, and companies like Vivo have innovated to go notch-less by creating phones with popout cameras instead of putting them on the display.
Either way, not every smartphone notch is created equally.
Check out the best and worst notch designs we’ve seen on smartphones so far:
5. The rumored Pixel 3 XL
Without a doubt, the rumored Pixel 3 XL has the worst notch. If the leaks are accurate, it’s going to be massive, and will surely by noticeable. Rather than embracing the notch, Google is seemingly shouting it at you.
As with other Android phones, you’ll likely be able to change the display around the notch to a black color so it looks like the traditional Android notifications bar. It could potentially give the illusion that this monstrous notch isn’t there, but it would also replicate the appearance of a rather large top bezel. At least it’ll give some symmetry to match the burly chin bezel at the bottom.
4. The iPhone X, XS, XS Max, and XR
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The notch on the iPhone X, XS, XS Max, and XR isn’t awful, but it’s incredibly wide compared to notches on most Android phones.
Perhaps the iPhone notch scores poorly because Apple doesn’t seem to be embracing it. Instead, the company tried to hide it with its new half-planet wallpapers, as if it were ashamed of it:
If Apple won’t own the notch, why should anyone else?
Tied for third: Most Android phones with notches, including the Huawei P20 Pro, OnePlus 6, and LG G7
The OnePlus 6 has a good, standard notch that few can complain about unless they actively dislike notches.Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider
Down the middle of the list is almost every Android phone with a notch — they’re unassuming and not too big. Plus, they’re not as deep nor as wide as the iPhone notch.
The Huawei P20 Pro, OnePlus 6, and LG G7 are perfect examples of notched Android phones.
2. The Essential Phone
Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider
The Essential Phone’s notch does look a bit like a wart on the display when you have brightly colored content on the screen. But at least it’s small, and it doesn’t get in the way as much as the others.
1. The Oppo F9 (and maybe the OnePlus 6T, too)
The undisputed best notch on a smartphone can be found on the Oppo F9 for its water droplet notch design. It’s small and minimally invasive — in fact, it can hardly be noticed on the left phone above.
The F9 is also an example of a phone maker that completely owns and embraces the notch and decided to make the best of it with artistic design. Full points to Oppo for that one.
Incidentally, the Oppo F9 could essentially be the upcoming OnePlus 6T in disguise. Previous Oppo phones have had identical designs as OnePlus phones, so you could be seeing the characteristics of the Oppo F9 in the upcoming OnePlus 6T.