Until recently, there was only one smartphone on the market equipped with a camera below the screen: last year’s ZTE Axon 20 5G. Other players, such as Vivo,, Oppo i Xiaomi they also tested this futuristic technology, but given the then low image quality, it’s no wonder that phone manufacturers mostly stuck to cameras with selfie holes.
Despite much criticism of the first camera below the screen, ZTE has incorporated an allegedly improved version into its new one. Axon 30 5G, which was launched in China last week. Coincidentally, today Oppo unveiled its camera under a third-generation screen that, based on the pattern it provided, seems surprisingly promising — with no noticeable haze or glare. But it was only one photo, of course, so I’ll obviously keep my final judgment until I play around with one. Even in that case, the artificial intelligence tricks and display assemblies that made it possible are intriguing.
In short, nothing has changed in terms of the way the camera below the screen looks through the screen. Its performance is limited by the amount of light that can pass through the gaps between each OLED pixel. Therefore, artificial intelligence compensation is still necessary. For his latest under-screen camera, Oppo says he trained his own AI mechanism “using tens of thousands of photos” to achieve more precise corrections to diffraction, white balance and HDR. Hence the shot of the sample with a surprisingly natural look.
Another significant improvement here lies in the consistency of the screen. Earlier designs decided to reduce the pixel density in the area above the camera, to let enough light into the sensor. This resulted in a noticeable patch above the camera, which would be a big shutdown when you were watching videos or reading nice text on that screen.
But now, Oppo – or the screen manufacturer, which could be Samsung – devised a way to increase light transmission by slightly reducing the geometry of each pixel above the camera. In other words, we retain the same 400 ppi pixel density as the rest of the screen, creating a more consistent look.
Oppo added that this is further enhanced by transparent wiring material as well as a one-on-one pixel-circle-on-pixel architecture (instead of two to one as before) in the screen area above the camera. The latter promises more precise image control and greater sharpness, and the bonus is a 50 percent longer panel life due to better combustion prevention.
Oppo hasn’t said when and whether consumers will be using its camera under the next-generation screen, but given the timing, I wouldn’t be surprised if this turns out to be the same solution for the ZTE Axon 30 5G. In any case, it would be nice for the industry to eventually agree to throw out cameras with holes in favor of the invisible.
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