ZTE Launches World's First Phone With Under-Screen Selfie Camera

After teasing its fullscreen display-enabling technology for a while, Chinese mobile maker ZTE has officially launched the first commercial phone featuring an under-screen front-facing camera.


The Axon 20 5G eschews a hole punch or notch solution for its 32-megapixel selfie camera, and instead hides it underneath its 6.9-inch 90Hz OLED display, which is surrounded by minimal bezels on all four sides.

According to ZTE, the area around the camera looks just as bright and vivid as the rest of the screen. The company says it has achieved this using a high transparency material that features organic and inorganic films.

Putting a camera under the screen makes it harder to match the quality of an unobstructed smartphone camera, so to compensate ZTE has developed software algorithms that address haze, glare, and color cast issues in photos.

The company also referred to "color synchronization" between the camera and the display, which sounds as if it captures images between the screen's PWM flicker. (PWM flicker is a way of controlling screen brightness by adding some breaks without light emittance.)

The phone also features an under-display fingerprint sensor and an under-screen speaker system. Elsewhere, on the rear, there's a 64-megapixel camera backed by an 8-megapixel ultrawide lens with 2-megapixel depth and macro sensors.

The Axon 20 5G will be available to order in China from September 10 at a cost of about $320, but it's unclear if it will become available internationally.


This isn't the first time we've seen a Chinese company unveil a solution to the ubiquitous smartphone display notch. Oppo teased its own under-screen camera prototype way back in June 2019, but the technology has yet to appear in a consumer Oppo phone.

Apple is thought to be working towards a notchless iPhone design. The notch has been a controversial design decision since it debuted on the ‌‌iPhone‌‌ X in 2017, and it has always felt like a stopgap on the way to an ‌‌iPhone‌‌ with a truly edge-to-edge display, but when that will appear remains unknown.

Apple's 2020 ‌iPhone‌ lineup is widely expected to include an enhanced triple rear camera system, with at least one high-end model featuring an additional LiDAR camera for 3D mapping. The display notch, which houses Apple's TrueDepth camera and Face ID tech, will almost certainly remain, although there have been conflicting rumors regarding whether the notch will be smaller or the same size as on previous models.

Tag: ZTE

Top Rated Comments

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4 weeks ago


This is the sort of engineering invovation and leap forward that we should be expecting from Apple, not it's competitors.


Apple should be ashamed of themselves, largest company in the world and they got beat by some small Chinese company...

Apple has shamelessly never cared about being first.

People don’t remember who did it first. They remember who did it the best.

Apple didn’t make the first MP3 player, Smartphone, tablet, Smartwatch or wireless earphones. Yet we remember the iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and AirPods because Apple waited to do it right.

That doesn’t take away from ZTE though. This is truely awesome.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
4 weeks ago
Why not place the camera in the centre (diagonally).
That way it would overcome the worst problem of an edge mounted camera. Specifically the lack of eye contact we’ve all discovered during video calls.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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4 weeks ago
This is the sort of engineering invovation and leap forward that we should be expecting from Apple, not it's competitors.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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4 weeks ago


It's really beautiful.

It's not. The screen is not symmetrical. The bezel at the bottom is slightly thicker than the top bezel.

You can't unsee that.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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4 weeks ago
Imagine any random screen you look at has hidden camera recording you at any time. Now this is possible.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
4 weeks ago
Apple should be ashamed of themselves, largest company in the world and they got beat by some small Chinese company...
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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