2019, The Year Of The Phone Arse

It's increasingly seeming like the trend for flagship 2019 phones is a gargantuan booty, something literally nobody asked for.

We're in the middle of leak season for mobile phones. The leaks have always been good in the past, because your big phone brands — Apple, Google, Samsung, Huawei etc. — have to provide physically accurate designs of their new flagships to the case manufacturers. So around about this time every year, someone gets their hand on a dummy case from somewhere, and the internet gets to chuckle about what all the new phones are going to look like.

And just like last year when everyone adopted the butt-ugly notch — except for Oppo — 2019's design trend is just as ugly. Who's keen for a giant rump from your $1000-plus phone?

Image: Jonas Daehnert on Twitter

Having cracked the shits over just about every aspect of the phone leaking beforehand, Google finally threw their hands up and confirmed what people already knew. Like the Mate 20 Pro, which had a centred square bump for their camera array, the Pixel 4 would have an alien-arse looking square on the top right for their rear camera.

And sick of being outdone in the camera department, Apple has joined the party with a triple camera setup for this year's iPhones. CAD renders and various leaks all pegged Apple as following Google with a huge square on the back of their phone, and YouTuber Marques Brownlee followed that up by showing off some prototype iPhone 11 cases and dummies, as supplied earlier by Australian Sonny Dickson.

Just ... ugh. One of my favourite phones of the last couple of years, the Mate 20 Pro, has a fairly gaudy square camera array on the back. The kicker is that Huawei at least centred the array, so it doesn't look as awful, and you can get versions of the Mate 20 Pro that have a textured back that doesn't get grubby.

But it still doesn't sit that flat on a desk, because the camera array props the whole phone up. I'd rather have a thicker phone so there's no camera bump at all, and if there is going to be a bump, then at least make it an aesthetically pleasing vertical or horizontal slice. Samsung's upcoming Note 10 has a vertical notch (rather than the horizontal setup on the S10 range) that's very akin to Huawei's P30 Pro series. It's also looking likely that the headphone jack is going the way of the dodo, which is a real shame.

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So at least one major manufacturer is dodging the thicc bump nightmare. And let's all be grateful that Apple and Google decided to stop at a square, and not the absurd UFO-like dome that appeared on the Mate 30 Pro render recently, although the circular setup doesn't look as bad as the horrific rectangular design that first leaked out.

But that's seemingly what we're in for this year: thinner phones with some real thicc bumps. It's not a trend I'm thrilled about, much like the ditching of the headphone jack. At least the LG V50 and G8 have flat camera arrays on the back, although I don't know if dual screen sandwiches or airwaving are the trends I want from phones in 2019 either.


    Will it matter once you add a case though?

      Nothing can cover up that alien on that Huawei render.

      If the case offers no protection to the camera module, maybe?

        Would only need to be 1 or 2mm higher than the camera module. Personally I'd probably put a camera protector on it however.

    You call that a bump?

    Finally my baby is coming back into vogue!

      The good ol’ days. Remember the Lumia 1020 and its great camera hump?

        I lived with someone who was a massive Lumia fanboy who kept swearing things like Instagram didn't matter

        Ah, the days

          I loved Lumias too but I certainly didn’t go that far! haha

          The dearth of apps (among other reasons) really hindered Lumia phones from being a legitimate and firmly established third option to the iOS/Android duopoly.

          At least Nokia still lives on. I’m rocking one right now too.

        Not great imo :P For me it was too slight and too low down the back of the phone, the 808's was great because it rests so nicely against your finger while you hold the thing. 1020's just feels awkward and in the way, although I'm admittedly biased against such wide phones to begin with when it comes to rating comfort of holding.

    Phone evolution always going weird ways. My Sony XZ Premium is almost dead so i'm going to have to say goodbye to Bezels soon

    it’s really not that bad. All phones are just rectanglular fondle slabs and they all look the same from 5 metres always.

    I literally don't care what my pocketable camera that I carry with me everywhere looks like as long as it takes even better shots than last year's.

    At least the notch is slowly disappearing.

    I don't need yet another dumb gimmick that will be forgotten in a year.

    Improved battery life. Better screen. Faster charging and data transfer. Reliable apps. These are the things i want. Not waving my hand at it or yet another useless assistant. If I care to take amazing pictures, I'll use a dedicated camera.

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