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This article was published on August 4, 2021

Oppo’s under-screen camera is better now, but only in a prototype phone

New and improved

Oppo’s under-screen camera is better now, but only in a prototype phone
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

A phone screen with no notches, bezels, or cutouts — that’s the dream, right? Manufacturers have tried stuff like pop-up cameras in the past, but everyone wants to achieve a workable under-the-screen selfie camera that’s practically invisible.

To that end, Oppo has unveiled its new imaging tech and claims its updated selfie camera doesn’t compromise “ the integrity of the screen.” The company said it had solved issues of the durability of the display and poor image quality caused by screen obstruction. It noted that the lifespan of the display increased by 50%, thanks to its new tech.

Oppo now uses smaller pixels in the display area around the selfie camera to maintain 400 pixels per inch density on the screen. The earlier version had a different pixel density around the self camera module. Plus, it’s using transparent wiring which is 50% narrower, and provides “ a smoother visual experience.”

The company showed off a photo of a device being used as an e-reader with a white background and black text to emphasize that its screen displays pixels consistently from edge to edge. This is due to a one-to-one pixel circuit used in the area around the selfie camera instead of traditional one-to-two pixels.

Oppo's prototype device with under the screen selfie camera being used as an ereader
Oppo’s prototype device with under the screen selfie camera being used as an ereader

While all this looks pretty cool, we have to keep in mind that all these experiments are done on a prototype device. With real-life usage, there could be many glitches around the selfie module that could make using the phone unpleasant.

The company has shared no information if it plans to release a consumer-grade phone featuring this tech. So we don’t really know when this technology will make it to a mainstream device.

So far, Xiaomi, Vivo, and Oppo have shown off their work for under-the-screen camera tech only in a demo form. However, only ZTE has released a couple of devices with this feature. So my wait to get hands-on on one of these continues.

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