A discussion about bezels on the new V (And their constraints + consequences)

I’m keeping this topic separate from others for clarity and organization. Anyways:

Bezel Constraints

The general trend on mobile devices is to have slim if not near, non-existent bezels (Dell XPS 13, Most modern phones, etc.)

With Windows tablets there are generally three main constraints (to my knowledge) that can prevent slim bezels:

  • The display panel controller (usually located at the bottom)
  • The webcam and related sensors (IR, etc.)
  • The ports that constrain the side bezels.

Solving these constraints + questions

Making the new V thicker by say 2mm to raise the display panel can solve the issue with ports + controllers.

As a benefit of making the device thicker, we have more z-axis space available for a better (and smaller?) webcam sensor. As an example, the Note 9’s top bezel is roughly 7mm in height yet the phone is at 8.9mm in thickness.

What I don’t know is if we can put smart phone camera sensors (Sony IMX686) into a Windows Tablet. It sounds possible but I’m no electrical engineer. Would the part even be compatible with generic x86 processors or is it only usable given ARM’s general System-On-Chip setup?

Windows Hello also necessitates an IR camera to be included for face authentication. There are some Android phones that do have an IR camera for their own version of Face ID but again, I don’t know if Smart Phone parts can cross over into the Windows Tablet segment.

The display panel controller I think is something that is dependent on the manufacturer and not something that we can control (Do correct me if I’m wrong).

What is the ideal bezel size?

In a laptop or smartphone, the general response would just be “Make it no bezel!”.

However when dealing with tablets there are ergonomics factors that we have to consider.

Apple’s iPad Pro Lineup has bezels at around 8mm. Was it because they did a bunch of user case studies to discover the ideal bezel size? Or were they constrained by the USB-C port size? Who knows but it seems that the general consensus is that apple’s bezels on the iPad Pro are the “golden-standard” for tablets these days.

Then again they might even be wrong. For example, the new Surface Go’s bezels are at 10-11mm.

What is the ideal bezel size then?

A digital bezel?

The first idea that we saw this applied was an Intel Project a few years back where the digital screen size would be “reduced” and there were black dead zones on all four sides when a tablet is in “Tablet form”. These black dead zones would be removed once it was docked to the keyboard.

With a digital bezel, the “ideal bezel size” question is entirely removed since the goal then would be to make it as slim as possible.

But it seems as if there are some magical resolution sizing going on with this technology. Could Eve replicate this? Or is it something that could only be done my modifying Windows 10’s source code (In which only Microsoft has access to)? I don’t know. But this is something worth investigating.

The main consequence of slim bezels

The main consequence would be the magnetic keyboard lift might not work. The bezels then would either be thicker on the bottom and top (For design symmetry like the Surface Pro X) in order to keep the keyboard lift or entirely removing the keyboard lift (Samsung Galaxy Tab S5 S6)

Possible solutions for the magnetic keyboard lift

If the community decides to still have some sort keyboard lift while preserving a slim bottom bezel then we will have to get creative on solutions. These are of course, only things that I have thought of but there are certainly more ideas out there.

A wedge shaped keyboard

Something I mentioned in another post is to have the keyboard-folio resemble a general slim keyboard where one side is thicker than the other to make a “wedge” shape.


Drawings are NOT to scale. They are only to convey the idea of the concept

Let’s presume that the Surface Keyboard Folio is 4mm in height. Then that means on one end the height would be 7-8mm to make the wedge shape. There are various benefits to this such as deeper travel, bigger Bluetooth battery, etc. However there are also consequences such as making it thicker as well as making it an uneven plane.

Having a triangular "fulcrum"



Drawings are NOT to scale. They are only to convey the idea of the concept

The idea here is to simulate the traditional magnetic keyboard lift but instead of having it connect to the bottom magnetic bezel, we introduce a triangular magnetic “block” that simulates the same effect but extended outwards.

Pros:

  • Even surface when placed down
  • Preserves the magnetic lift

Cons:

  • There will be an extended “flap” underneath the tablet containing the magnetic triangular block when the keyboard is folded up making closing it up slightly inconvenient.

Doubling down on the V Keyboard’s Bluetooth capability




Drawings are NOT to scale. They are only to convey the idea of the concept

Traditional Desktop keyboards have a plastic “lifts” underneath the keyboard that a person can flip out. Since the V’s keyboard is bluetooth capable, we can apply this same concept.

Pros:

  • Simple design, only needs to add plastic flip out lifts underneath the keyboard
  • Preserves the slim design of the keyboard (Possible less tooling).
  • Larger track pad (although this applies to the first “wedge” concept as well) since there’s no dedicated area above the keyboard that’s dedicated to a lift.

Cons:

  • The keyboard will still be flat when it is connected to the tablet
  • You have to unflip the lifts when you re-dock the keyboard to the tablet.

There are a lot more creative ideas out there as well further and deeper discussions on the bezel size and its constraints. Do discuss below.

Does anyone have answers to the questions above? Eve Devs?

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:smiley: I am curious about the questions you mentioned too. Hope an insider can kindly provide us some in-depth solutions, especially to what degree a magnetic lift is not applicable due to narrow bottom bezel size. What I have found are some additional benefits/drawbacks for each of your proposals.

The "Wedge"

  • +1 Pros: Give the potential to implement larger keycaps if the width is not a constraining factor. (also applies to the “Doubling”) Base on a previous poll, the keyboard tilt is a requested feature as long as it does not interfere with a comfortable touchpad (/keycap) size.

The "Fulcrum"

  • +1 Cons: Like the “Wedge”, it features a relatively uncomfortable storage method.

The "Doubling"

  • +1 Advice: The durability of the flipping lift requires careful testing because it is under heavy usage.

It is an excellent idea to elaborate on these great concepts you created. :clap: I believe slim bezels please users looking for a modern & stylish device. By the way, I have cleaned up :soap: my posts in the 2-in-1 design topic & came up with an extremely efficient intro linking for easy navigation. :fishing_pole_and_fish: Most importantly, you are more than welcome to keep an eye on our keyboard concepts; I am yet to (eagerly) hear about your favourite keyboard characteristics.

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If Apple makes a smaller bezel for its iPad, it’s due to iOS, they support the display with a rounded edge. However, Windows does not support this.

Usually, those sensors are not used on tablet/PC because all sensors need a dedicated circuit for processing the image and a high pixel camera need bigger and more power hangry circuit/processor.
In general, an 8MP sensor would be more than enough for a 1080p video call and I do not think that you need anything more for a tablet. Now for the rear camera, you can have a high resolution but, high resolution does not mean automatically good quality!

For my a tablet up to 10mm would be ok. thinner than that will not have enough structure.

Bezel size on a small device is crucial but at the same time, you want to be able to hold the tablet. I think a bezels taking around 15% of the screen is ok (10mm) again anything beyond that will look too old. If it can go at 5mm, it will be too thin and difficult to hold. And really important is a symmetric bezel, an asymmetric with bigger bottom it can be acceptable if the camera is on the left handside (when you hold the tablet in portrait from the bottom the rear camera would be on top)

For digital bezel, I would be all in for it if you can make sure that it works 100%.
I think windows are not up to that now and dynamic resolution could cause issues if windows does not support it. Also, to make sure that works good (not perfect) you need a reliable IMU with high bitrate.

The first one for me could create problems for storing it on a backpack.
The second could be the best solution if the designers have a mechanical fantasy. If you can make that wedge in such a shape that will be a solid extension of the tablet, then I think this could be perfect.
The last option it is nice, if you put wireless charging on the keyboard. 4 magnets could hold in place the keyboard for storage and a small wireless charge on the bottom of the screen can charge it too.

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