In the quest for full-screen smartphones, the selfie camera proved to be a persistent obstacle. Notches shrunk and we got punch holes, pop-up and flipping workarounds but it was only a matter of time before we got an under display solution. Several makers are working on the tech, but today ZTE introduced its Axon 20 5G – the first comercially-ready smartphone with an under-display selfie camera.
Being the first of its kind brings plenty of bragging rights but also required a whole new approach to the screen assembly process. One of the big problems with past under-display cameras so far was insufficient light reaching the sensor resulting in poor image quality. In addition, there was a noticeable brightness and color difference in the area where the camera was positioned compared to the rest of the display.
The first hurdle was solved with a special film coating on the screen layers which is highly transmissive and transparent. The 32MP selfie cam on the Axon 20 also comes with its own light perception sensor which regulates the amount of light needed for each scenario. In addition, ZTE reworked the pixel arrangement around the camera’s lens so it matches the rest of the display without any noticeable color distortion. Lastly, a new processing algorithm optimizes image clarity.
The Axon 20’s 6.92-inch OLED display sports FHD+ resolution and 90Hz refresh rate. It also comes with 10bit color output and a 20.5:9 aspect ratio as well as an embedded fingerprint reader.
Around the back, we have a quad-camera array headlined by a 64MP primary shooter. The auxiliary sensors are an 8MP ultrawide snapper and two 2MP units for depth data and macro shots.
The phone is powered by the upper midrange Snapdragon 765G chipset with 6GB or 8GB RAM and 128/256GB memory. There’s a 4,220 mAh battery with 30W fast charging while the software front is covered by ZTE’s Mifavor 10.5 on top of Android 10.
The ZTE Axon 20 5G will be available in black, white, purple and orange colors with official sales in China scheduled for September 10. The base 6/128GB trim goes for CNY 2,198 ($322). There’s also an 8/128GB model for CNY 2,498 ($366) and an 8/256GB version for CNY 2,798 ($410). International availability was not detailed at this event, but we hope to hear more about it in the future.