Weekly poll: are secondary screens useful?

Peter, 30 July 2017

The Meizu Pro 7 Plus was unveiled this week with a secondary screen on its back. It’s not the first rear-mounted display – there have been interesting efforts like the e-Ink back of the YotaPhone – but they never caught on.

And there is, of course, LG V20 with a secondary screen on the front, but we think positioning makes all the difference. An Always On display could have covered half the functions of V20’s secondary screen. But a screen on the back lets you check notifications even when the phone is face down.

And it lets you snap selfies with the main camera, which typically has much higher quality than the selfie cam. Not to mention that you can get the benefits of a dual camera (a rarity on the front) for things like Portrait mode.

Still, does anyone actually leave their phone face down? Selfie cams have gotten pretty good too (some even have OIS). Plus, the Oppo N1 took selfies with the main camera by rotating it – an impressive looking approach, but one that wastes a lot of space.

Okay, never mind selfies, the back screen can also show notifications, control the music player and do more... But Samsung’s Edge panels can do the same (and Edge lighting handles the “face down” case).

So, do you think there’s merit to having a secondary screen, be it on the front or back?

Is a secondary screen useful?
Yes, if it's on the back
Curved screens do just fine
Yes, if it's on the front
One screen is all I need
here

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Reader comments

  • Anonymous

Just another gimmick nobody asked for just like Samsung's edge screen and the horrible, unwanted, eyesore and half-baked Bixby button! JEEZ!

At least for me... i don't see the use of a back screen, but i would like to see an old style matrix dot lcd with notifications on top of the phone, like a optional modular top, i know there are cases but a more refined system would be great... jeez ...

  • AnonD-413292

Both - front and back. I love V20's secondary screen.

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