The notification LED needs to make a comeback – Android Authority

March 9, 2022 by No Comments

Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority

The way we connect with each other has changed dramatically over the past couple of decades. Early mobile phones had just one function: to facilitate voice calls. Today? Many of us would rather text someone than call them. Yet, when it comes to keeping track of these modern communications, we don’t have that many options. You can choose between a loud chime or an easily-missed vibration alert, and that’s it. But it wasn’t always this way.

I am, of course, talking about the humble notification LED — once present on all manner of phones, smart and dumb. Unfortunately, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a mainstream smartphone with one today.

Some might argue that in the age of always-on displays and edge lighting, the utility of a dedicated notification light has diminished. I’ll admit that I used to think along those lines too — until two weeks ago when a smartphone, quite literally, caught my eye. Take a look for yourself:

Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority

What you’re looking at here is the Oppo Reno 7 Pro — a rather unassuming smartphone by 2022 standards, at least on the front. A large 6.5-inch display with narrow bezels predictably leaves no space for anything else. Flipping it over, though, reveals a glowing camera module that serves as a giant notification LED.

Our verdict: Oppo Reno 7 Pro review — Stylish design, questionable value

I initially thought that the inclusion of this LED, especially on the rear, was just a gimmick. Over time, however, I realized just how much I relied on it. You see, with a dedicated light, it doesn’t matter where you leave your phone — you can glance at it from across a room to know if you have a waiting notification.

A dedicated notification LED can get bright enough to grab your attention and offer information at a glance.

It’s possible to miss your phone briefly lighting up for a new notification or a new icon appearing on its always-on display, but a dedicated light invokes a sense of urgency. The blue notification light is bright enough to grab your attention, unlike any always-on display or edge lighting feature I’ve ever used. It isn’t annoying either — the phone lets you customize which apps can trigger the light so it doesn’t turn on for everything.

Oppo’s implementation isn’t perfect, of course — I would much rather have an RGB light instead of the Reno 7 Pro’s rather boring blue LED. But is it better than nothing at all? Absolutely. I didn’t even feel the need to pair my smartwatch during my time reviewing this phone. I rarely, if ever, missed an important notification.

The notification light: More than a lost LED

The Galaxy Note 8 was the last phone I personally owned that still had an RGB notification LED. Samsung would go on to exclude the feature from the Galaxy Note 10 and future flagships. The rest of the smartphone industry followed suit as well, in pursuit of higher screen-to-body ratios. Looking back now, though, it feels like we lost more than a simple flashing light.

In the early 2010s, dedicated LEDs were far more of a design centerpiece than most of us probably remember. The Xperia SP, for one, featured a translucent bar running the entire width of the device …….



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