Cornerfly: add round corners to any display (Review)

It is safe to say that the new trend in smartphones is a display with rounded corners. The LG G6 debuted with this design choice and all rumors point to the Samsung Galaxy S8 going the same path. With the stagnation we’ve seen in recent smartphone designs, it is nice to see some changes taking place. The general consensus seems to be that these rounded corners – while fully cosmetic – are gorgeous and improve the look of the phones adopting them. If you have been yearning for rounded corners on your device but don’t have the money for the G6 or the patience to wait for the S8, you can still make your dreams come true. Cornerfly is coming to the rescue by allowing you to add rounded display corners to any device you want.

Developer: FlyperInc
Price: Free (In-app purchases)
Download: Google Play

Setup

The setup for Cornerfly is straightforward, but there are a couple of permissions it needs to run. First, you need to enable System Overlay to allow it to draw over other apps. This is what allows it to create the actual round corners on the display. Second, you need to grant it access to Accessibility Service so it can put a permanent notification in your notification shade that allows for quick tuning of the corners on a per-app basis. I have to commend Cornerfly for explaining exactly why it needs these permissions when it asks you for them. It lets you know that there is nothing shady going on behind the scenes. After you grant these two permissions, you are taken directly into the app, and your round corners will be there to great you.

Experience

After a couple of weeks using Cornerfly, I must say I love the look of rounded corners. I am using on an Alcatel IDOL 4S, which has an AMOLED display. I am not sure how good this would look on a device without an AMOLED display. Since this display shows pure black for the rounded corners, they blend in seemlessly with the body, and it is convincing that the display actually has rounded corners. I am not sure if it would have the same effect on a display with a backlight.

I also think this would have the best look on a device with physical buttons instead of hardware buttons. Since the navigation bar on my IDOL 4S is usually black already, you cannot see the rounded corners on the bottom of some apps. You can fix this by keeping the rounded corners from overlaying the navigation bar, but it doesn’t look as good.

Rounded corners above the navigation bar in Feedly

It is also not always flawless. When watching a YouTube video in landscape, only the bottom left corner is rounded. I have no idea what is causing this, and no changes I had made in the settings have fixed it. It is not terribly noticeable, but I would rather have consistency across the board. YouTube is the only app I have noticed this in, and it does not happen when using the app in portrait.

Settings/Customization

Cornerfly is extremely simply to use and customize. In fact, you could exit the app right after setup, and I doubt you would ever need to open it again. However, there are some neat features in the app to fine tune your experience. We are looking at the Plus version (which is only a $0.99 in-app purchase away), but almost every feature will be available in the free version as well. Aside from removing advertising, the only feature added with the Plus version is the option to change corner sizing. With this feature, you can choose just how curved the corners of your display are. Although this is a pretty fun feature, I found that the default corner size was just fine and probably won’t bother anyone.

Aside from corner sizing, the app also lets to chose the color that the rounded corners are. You can change this color via an RGB slider, but if I’m being honest, anything other than the standard black is pretty awful looking. I wanted my display to appear like it actually had rounded corners so keeping the black color was best for this. Maybe if you had a phone with a white or blue chassis, you could change to corner colors to match the body, but otherwise, I cannot see a use for this feature.

There is a persistent Cornerfly notification that you can disable in the app, but I recommend leaving it enabled. The notification is located at the bottom of your notifications, and can actually come in handy. It gives you quick access to customize Cornerfly based on the app your in. You can have the corners be above or below the status bar, above or below the navigation bar (if you have on-screen buttons), and just disable Cornerfly in that app completely. If you are super picky about what shows up in your notification shade, you can disable it, but I would keep it for the quick customization options.

There are separate settings for dealing with fullscreen apps such as games. After enabling fullscreen detection (to allow Cornerfly to detect if an app is in fullscreen), you can choose whether to have the rounded corners display on these apps or not. This saves you time from going through each app and enabling or disabling the rounded corners. Under these fullscreen options, you have the option to toggle which corners of your display you would like rounded. By default, all are selected, but you can deselect any that you want.

Conclusion

Cornerfly is not a perfect replacement for a phone with rounded display corners, but it is pretty darn close. Not only does it give you the aesthetic of rounded corners, but it allows you to customize it to your liking. It might not look as good on an LCD display than an AMOLED and the corners are not always consistent, but the app is constantly getting updates, which I believe will fix at least one of these issues. If you are itching for rounded corners on your display but don’t want to shell out the cash for a new phone, Cornerfly is going to give you almost the same experience for a whole lot less!

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Setup
Experience
Settings
Value
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I'm the guy who doesn't have a case on his phone, but should. Hold on tight, Nexus 6. (R.I.P. - Samsung Infuse 4G, HTC One m7, Moto X 2013, my first Nexus 6)