These days, it is quite common to come across the term 2.5D glass display as many tech companies are using the same on their smart devices.
The 2.5D glass trend might sound weird right now as nothing can exist between the two and three-dimensional space. But, you need to come to terms with the fact that this term is based on a real design fact and not a gimmick used to sell devices with ineffective screen protectors.
Today, most smartphones are adorned with such 2.5D glass displays raising many questions in the minds of many on what exactly the term means, how is it different from the traditional display on phones, what makes it beneficial, etc. To make it clear, we at GizBot, have taken the step to make it clear to our readers by shedding more light on the technology behind the 2.5D glass display.
What is a 2.5D glass display?
2.5D is a term used for glass displays that feature a slight curvature at the edges known as contoured edges. Remember that the curved edges might not be noticeable from afar, but you can see and feel the difference when you hold a phone bestowed with 2.5D glass in your hand. Don't confuse the 2.5D glass display with a curved display. Such a display cannot be bent or curved but will feature a slight curvature at the edges.
Sticking to the general terms, a 2.5D glass display is a flat 2D screen, but it won't feature 90-degree glass edges. It will feature an elegant and smooth look, which gives the device a sleeker and softer feel. There are many phones featuring the 2.5D glass display including Xiaomi Mi Max, Huawei Honor 8, Apple iPhone 7, 7 Plus, etc. These screens can be further strengthened using Corning Glass Glass.
2.5D vs 3D displays
As mentioned above, there will be slight curves at the edges in 2.5D glass display panels. If there are more curves at the edges, the result will be a 3D display as seen in the Samsung Galaxy Note lineup. The key difference between these two displays is that 3D display relies on the bendable electronics more while 2.5D displays don't.
How is a 2.5D glass display made?
Notably, there is nothing special when it comes to the way the 2.5D glass displays are designed or built. The reason is that the actual electronic display components are not curved as in the case of a flexible display. The 2.5D glass is made similar to a straight glass panel. However, there are some additional shaping process involved in the manufacturing.
The individual glass pieces are cut from a larger sheet based on the smartphone's requirement with the help of an additional processor layer to trim and smoothen the edges of the glass. It is relative more expensive but can render premium looks to the device.
The shaped glass is then subjected to the hardening process by heating the same in a solution of molten salts at extremely high temperatures. Then, it is cooled rapidly to forcing the glass to compress. Both the processes - shaping and hardening are done in such a way that the structural integrity of the stronger glass is not subjected to any risk while reshaping it in the end of the process.
Models with curved glass displays such as Galaxy S7 Edge need the transistor backplane and circuit light components of the display to conform to the curve. Such displays are more complex and pretty expensive to produce.
Benefits of 2.5D glass displays
The first and foremost benefit is that the 2.5D glass is purely aesthetic and ergonomic. Especially, it is important on smartphones as users will touch and swipe on the screen and it should be smooth.
The other advantage is that in the curved glass edge smartphones, the 2.5D glass will look better than just raising the bezel above the display edge. It also ensures that the glass fits nicely against the phone's body.
When it comes to toughness and scratch resistance, the manufacturing technique determines the properties. The toughness will vary based on the manufacturing process. The 2.5D glass displays are not tougher or weaker than the normal flat glass displays. The only difference can be seen at the very edge of the display.
The only notable downside is that users seeking an additional screen protector on their smartphone might not get third party products that will fit the 2.5D glass contours exactly due to the curves at the edges in comparison to a flat glass display.
Summing it up...
Overall, we would like to say that 2.5D display might pave way for some nice looking designs, but it's not a term that will help you make purchasing decisions.