Mobile phone manufacturers have been pushing one design feature hard in the last few generations of phones, A slim-bezel, or even a bezel-less screen. But what is a bezel and why is it important?
A bezel is the gap between the last pixel of the screen and the edge of the device. On computer monitors and TVs it’s generally covered with plastic. On mobile phones the bezel is normally covered in glass, it may have a speaker or a button in it. In any device, the bezel is the part of the usable face that is not actual screen.
Why are bezels a thing?
Historically the bezel has been a necessary feature. A large number of phones have had a large bottom bezel to allow for one or more physical buttons and incorporated a top bezel to allow for front-facing speakers and cameras.
On old CRT screens, the bezel was a necessary structure to help support the weight of the internal parts of the monitor. Structural integrity is still a reason to have a bezel on modern monitors and TVs, although the bezel can be thinner as modern monitors are significantly lighter.
The structure of LCD and OLED screens has a physical edge which extends beyond the pixels, only in recent years has it become possible to make affordable phone screens where this edge can be folded down, allowing pixels to be closer to the edge of the device to further reduce bezel width.
Why is a small bezel better?
A bezel takes up potential screen real estate. This means that to get a large screen, a manufacturer can choose to make the device bigger and keep the large bezels, or reduce the bezel size and keep the device the same size.
A small bezel looks better to most users, allowing for a large screen on a small device and providing a clean, panoramic appearance.
In multi-monitor computer setups and on video walls, having a slim bezel means there’s a minimal gap between the pixels on the edge of each monitor. A small bezel makes the overall image look more cohesive.