If you’re first in line to take receipt of a Samsung Galaxy S10 when it launches tomorrow, don’t be alarmed at a strange white flashing light at the top of the screen.
This is what it looks like:
Yes, it looks like something strange is going on – maybe some kind of display defect that would would be covered under warranty. But it’s actually a feature that’s documented in the S10 manual for the tiny fraction of buyers who will ever bother to open it, let alone take it all in.
Notice how in the video the word “calling” is on screen? That’s literally the only time you’ll see the light: when you’re making or receiving a phone call. The flashing light is the proximity sensor which detects when your ear is close and turns off the screen, preventing accidental taps. Speaking as someone who once had a damaged proximity sensor after a screen crack, I can tell you it’s very annoying when it doesn’t work, as your cheek constantly mutes conversations.
Outside of a call, the light will never bother you, and if you want proof (other than what the manual says), try turning on speakerphone and you’ll notice the dot vanishes.
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So why haven’t you noticed this on previous Galaxy S screens? It wasn’t there. In a bid to get rid of the bezel, Samsung has relocated a number of sensors under the screen. The proximity sensor is just one of them, having previously lived in the bezel where you wouldn’t ever have noticed it.
So don’t worry if you spot this tomorrow: it’s not a sign that your Galaxy S10 will soon require a swift return to the Samsung service centre. It’s just the proximity sensor doing its job.
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