Xiaomi's quad waterfall display phone is a stunning example of a total design fail

Xiaomi unveils the first smartphone with a curved display on all four sides, and we just...don't get it

Xiaomi quad-curved waterfall display
(Image credit: Xiaomi)

Xiaomi has been breaking barriers in the smartphone arena for a while now, and it's just revealed its latest innovation: the first quad-curved waterfall display concept smartphone.

The company has only just unveiled its sci-fi Air Charge that offers true wireless charging, the likes of which we've not seen before. Now it's turning its attention to its smartphone displays, with this concept device that it says is possible thanks to a "revolution in glass screen manufacturing and bonding."

The video below shows off the new panel, and it's not just a fancy render either; a Xiaomi rep told The Verge that there's a working prototype handset that they've been using for themselves that has the four curved waterfall edges.  

Xiaomi has Apple in its sights with this design, with the US tech giant looking to eschew ports on the iPhone 13. Both companies have working prototypes of their portless devices, so we'll have to see who gets it to market first. 

The quad waterfall display isn't a completely new idea, and is less of a marvel than the Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha with its wraparound screen, which is also a very real concept phone. At least the Mi Mix Alpha has some merits in that it's double sided, and doesn't need a 'front-facing' camera.

While the curved edges are a bit of a novelty as a notification bar, applying the tech to all four edges seems like a pointless endeavour, from a practical point of view. Scrapping the ports to double down on four curved screen edges – a feature which is divisive in its own right – but that ultimately doesn't add anything substantive to the phone, seems like showboating more than a user-driven decision.

It's also going to have the potential to cause a few bumps in the road to buying a protective case; if the edges will have some measure of practical use bestowed on them, how's that going to fare when they're hidden away inside a standard smartphone case? 

It's a neat concept, which we've seen in an unofficial capacity for the Huawei P50 Pro Plus, but until we get enough details to justify such a contentious design, we just can't see this one taking off.