At Mobile World Congress 2018, the iPhone X was everywhere

At the Barcelona show, many manufacturers presented devices inspired by the latest Apple smartphone. A new trend of substance?

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The Mobile World Congress is not a show where you expect to see smartphones signed by Apple. This year was special. In the aisles, once past the giants of Android, we venture into less classy halls. There is a swarm of marks, often young, often Chinese. All have chosen to highlight their latest models equipped with screens in 19: 9 format. Just weeks after the arrival of the iPhone X, some of them have already adopted the notch of Apple.

From copy to ridicule

From the simple copy? Sometimes yes, until the absurd, like this model of Blackview to the limit of counterfeiting. Other exotic brands like Noa or iLA have also introduced smartphones very inspired by the iPhone X. The palm goes to Leagoo, whose notch smartphone takes the name of … S9.

Of the functional devices that we could test, none seemed really ready to adopt this format – although some are already on the market. At Leagoo as at Noa, the time display was partly hidden by now rounded corners, again inspired by Apple. For its part, the iLA X was simply unable to display the percentage of remaining battery life, the figure being completely hidden under the notch.

The notch is not a matter of price

After discovering these devices that we would not offer to its worst enemy, like the Wiko View 2. Launched at 200 euros, it also adopts the system notch, in a format closer to that of the Essential Phone. This aesthetic detail could allow it to stand out in the middle of a crowd of devices often with a uniform design.

The View 2 could especially be the first of a long series. Among the Chinese manufacturers present at the show, some provide brands widely distributed, which for many do not manufacture their smartphones. Despite the caricature products mentioned above, these new screens are invading Asian factories. Including to equip more prestigious brands.

Huawei, then the rest of the world?

On March 27, Huawei will present its new high-end smartphone, called 20. According to the latest rumors, its screen – or at least that of a declination “Lite” – should be overlooked by a notch. The fact that Huawei (third seller of smartphones in the world) takes over this point of design, alone legitimizes the choice of the notch by other major manufacturers. According to a source working with Chinese manufacturers, Xiaomi should quickly take the same direction. Other media evoke notch smartphones in Vivo, OnePlus, and LG.

Asus did not wait until March 27 to take ownership of this notch. One month to the day before Huawei, the Taiwanese company has introduced the ZenFone 5 and 5Z, with a design inspired by the one of the iPhone X. Copy? Rather a consumer demand, who want to see more on their smartphone, according to the frames of the brand. Our handling of the product pushes us to approve this choice. Although the qualities of the ZenFone 5 and 5Z remain to be evaluated, their design makes them products on which our eyes will stop in the store.

With its Galaxy S8, Samsung has imposed the screen 18: 9 to the entire smartphone industry. A few months later, Apple went a step further in technical performance, while offering an identifiable design at a glance. If some Chinese stands of the Mobile World Congress have made us smile, the factories are running at full capacity, before massive deliveries in the spring. For the time being, it’s impossible to promise that Apple’s notch will be democratized as fast as the 18: 9 format. But in the subway, on the train or in the street, get ready to see iPhone X on Android.

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