“When I saw the notch for the first time, I nearly couldn’t believe it. It’s disturbing, from a design philosophy.” Those were the words of Porsche Design’s design director, Christian Schwamkrug, on the smartphone notch that’s trending these days. “A picture is either rectangular or square, with a border line, and a clear frame format. I like symmetry. I didn’t want to have the notch, I think it’s a compromise.”

In fact, according to Digital Trends, Schwamkrug is so against the idea of a notch that he completely removed it when designing the new US$1,880-plus Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS. The phone, which is based on the Huawei P20 Pro (with a notch as well), has been termed by Schwamkrug as a “no compromise” device. “Everything you see is Porsche Design DNA,” he added.

Ferdinand Porsche once famously said “if you analyse the function of an object, its form becomes obvious.” That has since become the embodiment of Porsche Design, so much so that it’s printed on Schwamkrug’s business card. In terms of design, the smartphone notch goes entirely against this philosophy. The Mate RS has a six-inch OLED screen that looks exactly like a screen, and that’s that.

The phone doesn’t just look good, its hardware is top-notch as well. Several features include the in-screen fingerprint sensor on the front, another Smart Touch fingerprint sensor on the back, the revered Leica triple camera setup, a 24 megapixel front-facing camera, super fast charging (58% in 30 minutes, from flat) and it runs Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box.


Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS (top); Huawei P20 Pro (bottom)

Huawei’s senior product marketing manager Peter Gauden explained: “Being such a new technology, the in-screen fingerprint sensor may not be the technology people feel the most comfortable with. So, as it lends itself to the symmetry on the back of the phone, the inclusion of the rear mounted sensor still makes sense. When we look at it from a usability perspective, it works really well.”

As for the triple camera setup, Schwamkrug didn’t fancy the side placement on the P20 Pro. Instead, he preferred a visually-natural symmetry of centrally-stacked lenses, as opposed to Huawei wanting it to look more like a camera. To Porsche Design, the camera bump is also not ideal, but the technology required to have it sit flush under the mirrored back isn’t available as yet.

Porsche Design was also deeply involved with the software, the size of the icons, and the fonts used for text. It’s not as simple as just designing the phone – the Mate RS is genuinely crafted by the famous design house, and it wants people who understand its philosophy to see and feel that in the end product.

Now, over to you. Are you as bothered by this trending smartphone notches, or have you gotten used to it? Let us know in the comments below!