While basically everyone is adopting a notch in smartphone design at this point, the Essential Phone was the device that kicked off this trend last year by cutting out a spot for the front-facing camera in the nearly bezel-less design. Now, in its latest update, Essential has delivered some new options for how the software plays with that cut-out.

Since its launch, Essential’s software on the PH-1 has been designed to make the notch fade into the background as much as possible. It might get in the way a little bit with certain apps like mapping and otherwise, but for the most part, it’s easy to completely forget it’s there.

A big part of that is how full-screen apps are handled, such as with videos and games. When these apps are active, the phone “crops” the content to avoid it flowing into where the notch is. Not everyone is a fan of that, though, preferring access to more of the screen instead. Now, Essential is giving everyone a choice.

In its latest update, Essential quietly added a new option which allows users to set a default for how apps can interact with the notch (via Android Police). First, there’s “Essential Recommended,” which follows a pattern based on how Essential feels it should be, presumably on an app-by-app basis.

Then, there’s an option to always hide the notch in landscape mode across the board, which could be handy for those who never want that cut-out interfering with their content.

Finally, there’s an option to always use the notch area, which I’ll dub the “Embrace the Notch” option. This, as you’d expect, always allows apps to expand to the screen’s full size, including where the notch is.

9to5Google’s Take

Personally, I prefer to hide the notch when in full-screen apps, especially in landscape, so I’ll end up sticking with Essential’s recommended mode. However, it is good to see the company giving users the option to choose, as everyone has their own opinion on how the notch should be treated on their device….

Which mode would you use? Do you prefer to use the extra screen space or hide the cut-out? Drop a comment and let us know!

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Ben Schoon

Ben is a writer and video producer for 9to5Google.

Find him on Twitter @NexusBen. Send tips to schoon@9to5g.com or encrypted to benschoon@protonmail.com.