Xiaomi just unwrapped its new smartphone concept with a display curved around all four edges. The new “quad-waterfall display” appears more conventional than the Mi MIX Alpha’s fully wraparound design but only at first glance. The nameless phone features an 88-degree “waterfall” curve on the left and right of the screen and the top and the bottom. While this development gives us a glimpse into the potential future of smartphone designs, Xiaomi is unlikely to sell a phone with this design anytime soon. But if it did, would you want to buy a smartphone with the quad waterfall display? Let’s Discuss!
The touchscreen slab has been the most popular smartphone form factor since the craze of candy bars plummetted. Despite its democratic adaptation, phone brands have experimented with different tweaks and variations to the slab design. The curved screen has undoubtedly been a striking element in this evolution of designs and much older than the more radical form factors such as foldable displays. While curved displays have had their patrons and opposers, the latest trends — such as the Samsung Galaxy S21 series — validate that most users prefer it but only as long as the curve is subtle and does not hamper usability. The curve has also reached all four edges, with devices like the Mi 11 that have a very subtle curve on the top and bottom.
Waterfall displays, on the other hand, represent a relatively more polarizing trend. Since the touchscreen envelops the sides completely, there are either no buttons or ports on the sides or they are all crammed in a tiny space. Based on the video that Xiaomi shared, some areas on the display’s curved parts appear to be dedicated to controls like your battery and signal status.
Waterfall displays unquestionably look more attention-grabbing than a more subtle curved while companies also get to boast screen-to-body ratios higher than 100%. However, the design also makes the phone difficult to wield and requires alternative implementations for ports, front cameras, earpieces, and speakers.
Waterfall displays are not exactly new; the Vivo NEX 3 from 2019 brought a button-less design with the side edges having a waterfall curvature. Xiaomi’s approach, however, takes it a step further with all four of its edges curved at a sharp angle, just like a waterfall. This is what makes Xiaomi’s quad waterfall concept smartphone very intriguing — though not very convincing at the moment. But who knows what the future holds?
What do you think about this new and radical design? Do you like it and think phones of the future could look like this? Let us know in the comments below!