Samsung just announced the Galaxy S10 lineup, but we already knew each device's every nook and cranny. Thanks to leaks and hands-on demos, we know the OEM kept the coveted headphone jack, but omitted one treasured feature in its place — the notification LED. Why did Samsung strip the S10 of this light, and can users expect something to replace it?
Notification LEDs have been an integral part of Samsung devices for years. Android fans might not remember a time before these lights, and for good reason — they're super cool. Notification LEDs offer an easy, unintrusive way to know whether or not you have alerts on your phone. No sounds, no light-up displays, just a small, convenient blink.
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Then why get rid of it? Well, it most likely isn't an intentional omission, at least not in the sense of, say, an outdated port. Rather, the notification LED is simply a casualty of Samsung's bold new design. In order to create that seamless edge-to-edge infinity display, something had to give. You can't have a traditional notification LED when the space it needs to take up is currently occupied by that coveted screen real estate.
Undoubtedly, long-time fans will be disappointed. While they can still boast over most of the smartphone world with their intact headphone jacks, the new S10 is just another device to lose the notification LED.
So, where do we go from here? Well, perhaps around the display. Samsung's Edge Lighting is much like a notification LED, except instead of being one single light, the entire border of the display lights up. While the feature only works while interacting with your phone, it's a cool replacement for notification popups, and offers a lot in the way of user customization.
Those who know Edge Lighting's past limitations should find comfort that Samsung has updated the feature with One UI. Still, it's not quite a true replacement for the simple nature of the notification LED. Hopefully, Samsung includes an always-on display version of the notification LED, or, better yet, utilizes the ring light around the selfie camera as a notification LED. Sadly, there are no official plans for either of these replacements at this time.