Sharp’s new phone barely has a bezel. Is that a good thing?

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It’s a widely accepted point of view that bezels are unsightly, unnecessary and a plain old bummer. But are they really that bad?

Sharp's Crystal AQUOS smartphone

Sharp’s Crystal AQUOS smartphone

My TV has a thin bezel, but it’s still visible. That said, it doesn’t bother me too much. In fact, it may be a net positive, in that it serves to “frame” the TV so the image doesn’t bleed into the wall. After all, isn’t that what picture frames are used for?

LG and Samsung are currently marketing “ultra-thin” bezel TVs, which have just a smidge of bezel — barely perceptible. They look really cool on a trade show or retail floor. But not cool enough for me to pony up a premium for one.

I’m confident there will be “bezel-less” TVs at CES 2015. And they will look awesome, I am sure. Although I probably still wouldn’t pay a premium for them.

TV bezels are one thing, though. Phone bezels are another thing entirely.

On a TV, the bezel is purely a framing device. You’re not — unless you’re five years old — touching the bezel or swiping things on your TV.

Sharp has a new smartphone, Crystal AQUOS, that features a barely perceptible bezel. Some are even calling a no-bezel or “frameless” phone. (My immediate reaction is, Sharp makes phones?)

Unlike a TV’s bezel, your grubby hands would be all over a smartphone bezel… that is, unless you’re using a case, like probably 99 percent of smartphone users do.

Sharp’s “edge-to-edge” phone (at The Verge calls it) looks futuristic, slick and fashion-forward. But it raises a couple questions.

First, what will a case for the Crystal AQUOS look like? How do you provide a case for a bezel-less phone? Wouldn’t it just fall right off? And if it were a “normal” case with its own bezel, wouldn’t that cover up the edges of the screen?

Second, if you’re not using a case, how do you hold the thing without accidentally swiping or pressing something on the screen? There’s nothing to hold on to. And I don’t know about you, but this isn’t how I hold a phone:

Image via Engadget

Image via Engadget

My thumb usually rests on the bezel of my case, about 25 percent down from the top of the phone.

Far be it from me to question innovation (wait, I’m always questioning innovation), but I’ll be curious to see how the rubber hits the road when this phone arrives in the real world.

Your thoughts?

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