The era of smartphone makers cutting holes in screens to make room for cameras may be drawing to a close.

For the past year or so, companies have been experimenting with under-display cameras that can capture photos and videos without completely obstructing your view of the display. Soon you may be able to buy one.

ZTE has announced that the upcoming ZTE Axon 20 5G will be the first commercially available phone with an under-display camera.

Update: The ZTE Axon 20 5G is official, and the phone goes on sale in China September 10 for about $320 and up. 

The phone will launch in China on September 1st, but may find its way to other markets later this year. I suspect we’ll also see other phone makers adopt similar technology in the not too distant future.

ZTE hasn’t officially revealed any other details about the Axon 20 5G yet, but the rumor/leak mill suggests it’ll have a 6.9 inch, 2460 x 1080 pixel AMOLED display, a 4,120 mAh battery, and support for 6GB to 12GB of RAM.

Other features are expected to include four rear cameras including a 64MP primary camera. And the front camera is expected to be a 32MP camera.

We’ll find out more about the phone in a few weeks… including whether the section of the display that covers the camera blends seamlessly with the rest of the screen or not… and whether the camera can actually capture decent images when shooting through the display.

press release  

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10 replies on “The first smartphone with an under-display camera”

  1. I hope they go back to using OIS with the main camera (at least). It really is one of the distinguishing features with premium/flagship phones.

  2. The low-light performance will have to be terrible. The 2 main challenges are eliminating the reflection from the OLED array off the glass (can be solved with polarisation filters and software) and the second is spacing out the OLED array to allow enough light through, while still having good pixel density and sufficient power to light the LEDs. I suspect those requirements lead to orienting the edges of the power traces perpendicular to the glass, which must make the fabrication quite a bit more complicated vs a flat sheet.

  3. Btw this is kind of privacy issue. Such as underdisplay fingerprint scanner.

    1. Privacy is something that the next generation will wonder why anyone would trade away the convenience and security of global monitoring for something so esoteric as privacy, lol. But Millennials and older, and perhaps even some Gen-Z will still miss the privacy we had before global pervasive monitoring became the rule, which I suspect is about 10 years out.

      1. Source for your claims? If you search for articles by the topic: do young people care about privacy? You find many that says so. Obviously this is the filter bubble of the articles that supports the claim that young people indeed, do care about privacy, lol.

        1. Who needs a source? Look at the world around you. Grade-school children are carrying monitoring devices with 24/7 location tracking and would cry if you deprived them of them. Teachers are allowing student-operated 4K video and audio recording equipment into the classrooms, and students are filming each other and the teachers and posting it on social media. Privacy? What’s that?

          1. “Who needs a source? Look at the world around you.”


            I’m sorry to say that the way you frame it doesn’t sound to me to be the way to have an intelligent discussion about an important issue. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

            “Grade-school children are carrying monitoring devices with 24/7 location tracking and would cry if you deprived them of them.”

            Which country? Did you check their individual privacy settings in different apps, god forbid parental controls (or the lack thereof)? Speaking of lack of parental controls. I would considering it a parenting fail, thus immediately shifting the generational blame.

            That said, I’ve noticed differences in individual attitudes. You can’t just group everyone together and project your preconceptions onto them. People are more complex than that. I know, anecdotal evidence is just anecdotal evidence.



    2. @guiliver Not much more than your typical phone front camera…if you don’t obstruct the sensor, like most people.
      THEORETICALLY you might be able to pry open the back and surgically remove the sensor (as in any other phone) but if you’re doing that, it’s like, you might as well usethat phone, because you’re making things as hard (if not harder) on yourself by doing phone surgery.

      And William, the interest in privacy of a particular generation is not an event you can put a date on. It’s a gradual shift as people learn that they do, in fact, have something to hide…and then decide to keep hiding it. If they decide to hide it. There is always the option of just giving up, embracing the botnet, and frequently purging from yourself everything you have to hide no matter how valuable or genuinely good it is, or how bad whatever you must replace it with is. The latter is more profitable, so you shouldn’t count on the former becoming the norm in any generation.

      1. There’s an expression – you’re only as sick as your darkest secret.

        Generations are not gradual. They are broad demarcations of age groups with different formative socio-political contexts for their demographic. Change is rapid. You’re still thinking pre-internet rate of change. The rate of change is going to continue to accelerate, because there’s still a lot of closed doors that need to be opened as far as sharing information is concerned. Problems that go beyond merely having a global distribution system like the Internet. We have generations in government and business who are still making fear-driven data hoarding decisions that hold us back as a species. We don’t know any better. Even if we learned, we would not feel that understanding because we were not brought up with it. The next generations will.

        1. That is all in the eye of the beholder manning the microscope of presumptive scrutiny–and I couldn’t disagree more. Granted, our décor and attire have changed rapidly with the times, but how about our heads and hearts? Advancements in research and technology are not one-to-one with the rate of change of human behavior and development. Though perhaps we have become more codependent on the hive, on the powers that be? Perhaps we are much less able to subsist or survive outside of the comfortable quarters of our microwaves and smartphones? Despite our growth in the breadth and depth of the information highway of communication, we are drowning in an age of information overload. Our unquenchable thirst for knowledge has eroded the ever-present need of going back to the basics. A democratization of facts has led to a scarcity of wisdom. Don’t get me wrong: being well-informed on a host of issues is commendable. But the classic dog chasing its tail for some hidden dark secret is much less important than looking in the mirror.

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