First came the rectangular notch, and now we have the much smaller hole punch notch. The Nova 4 from Huawei is one of the first smartphones sporting such a display, but it's unlikely to be the last, with handsets from Samsung, Xiaomi, and others likely to follow the trend in 2019.

Besides that hole punch cut out, the Nova 4 has one other stand-out feature, which is the triple-lens 48 MP + 16 MP + 2 MP camera on the back. That's a lot of pixels, and it should translate to some very decent-looking photos, knowing Huawei's expertise.

Within the last month we've seen both the View 20 from Huawei sub-brand Honor, and the Galaxy A8S from Samsung arrive sporting hole punch displays. Together with the new Nova 4, all these phones are mid-rangers and will have limited availability outside China, but they do give us a few clues about what the flagships of 2019 might look like.

Samsung has actually given this new hole punch notch style a name: Infinity-O. There's been no confirmation yet, but the Samsung Galaxy S10 (expected in February) might well come sporting an Infinity-O display.

The obvious advantage over the style of notch favored by the Apple iPhone and others is there's more of the screen left for apps and notifications. Android (and perhaps iOS) will have to be adapted to suit though – these mobile operating systems have only just been fully upgraded to support cut outs at the top of the display.

As for the rest of the Nova 4 specs, it comes with Huawei's own Kirin 970 CPU inside, Android 9 Pie on board (with Huawei's EMUI skin on top), 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage (expandable via microSD). Unlike the Mate 20 Pro from Huawei, the fingerprint sensor is on the back rather than embedded into the screen.

Aside from the hole punch, the display measures 6.4 inches corner to corner and runs a 2,310 x 1,080 pixel resolution (398 ppi). There's Huawei's fast charging technology here, but no wireless charging.

As we've said, don't expect the phone to be widely available outside China (at least in the near future), but the asking price is 3,399 yuan (roughly US$490). A cheaper version with a 20 MP rear camera will be on sale for 3,100 yuan (about $450). What's most interesting about the phone, however, is the way it points to a possible design trend for 2019 – the iPhone-style notch could disappear as quickly as it arrived.

Product page: Huawei

View gallery - 3 images