In less than a week, Microsoft will be unveiling the next iteration of its Surface Pro line. But unlike with smartphone leaks, definite details on the tablet is harder to pin down. It’s a no brainer that it will run on an Intel Skylake CPU but beyond that, not much is certain. Adding to the list is a rumor that the device will have almost non-existent bezels, which sounds more like a wish than a fact, not because of the feature itself but because of what it entails.
Removing bezels surrounding a display one of the holy grails in mobile device technology. Although they currently have their purpose, they sometimes take up needless space and, as LG just recently demonstrated in its newly unveiled V10, that space can be put to better use. So when there is a rumor that Microsoft’s premiere tablet will have bezels so thin they’re barely noticeable, that is good news. At least at first glance.
But it also presents a functional predicament. No bezels on a smartphone may be nice and all, but it could actually make a tablet harder to use. On tablets, bezels serve another purpose: non-interactive areas users can grip without fear of triggering an action. Without bezels, your hands, particularly the base of your thumbs, will directly be touching the touch screen. More than just potentially tapping icons and what not, it could also mean your hands will be occluding a part of the screen as well.
The rumor naturally has an answer to this as well, which is almost as unbelievable as the original feature. According to the source, the Surface Pro 4 will have a “smart frame” that resizes the screen depending on what mode the tablet is in, thanks to Windows 10 Continuum. When in desktop mode, the display occupies the entirety of the 13-inch screen, all the way to the thin bezels. In tablet mode, however, the visible area shrinks down to the equivalent of a 12-inch screen, leaving some “dead space” for the hands to hold. Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it?
This rumors comes on the heels of another rumor about a Dell XPS 13 that is said to also have the same virtually invisible bezels. This perhaps hints that the recent partnership between Microsoft and Dell have yielded something more than advertised. But a bezel-less laptop, even one with a touchscreen, doesn’t have the same issues as a tablet. It’s not technically impossible, but it’s going to take a lot of work. But if Microsoft manages to pull it off, Surface fans will have one more thing to gloat about.