Oppo phone with no screen bezel
Oppo is believed to be using an optical illusion to make the phone look like it has no screen bezelsEngadget

Smartphone maker's pursuit to create a handset with the thinnest possible screen bezels may have come to an end, as a new Oppo phone leaks with a screen which goes to the very edge.

The Chinese company behind the Find 7, a giant-slayer with a budget price, appears to have leaked photos of the new phone to a number of Chinese technology writers. All came from "an anonymous source" and show the unannounced phone held in the left and right hands of someone overlooking a motorway.

But the most striking thing about the photos is, of course, the phone's lack of bezel. The screen goes right to the very edge of the phone on both sides, although the phone has a regular top and bottom bezel, housing a front-facing camera and the familiar Android controls respectively.

Meanwhile, a leaked patent belonging to Oppo and published by GSMArena explains how the screen could well be the product of an optical illusion, rather than actually stretching from one edge to the other. The website explains: "The new technology involves covering a traditional rectangular display module with what the company calls a panel with 'special light guide structure'."

It goes on: "It appears a special curve at the end of the said transparent overlay diffracts light from the panel in such a way, that it is essentially projected on it, extending beyond the actual display unit. This allows for the bezel of the display module to remain hidden, making it essentially invisible, without having to alter current manufacturing processes."

Even if a truly bezel-free display is more optical illusion than reality, it creates a striking effect which gives Opoo something unique to bring to a packed and repetitive marketplace. Sharp has previously shown off a phone with no top bezel - using a similar visual trick - but we think removing the side bezels makes for a more useful design, stretching videos, photos and the Android software across the entire width of the handset.