A little over a week ago, ZTE launched the Axon 20 5G, the world’s first commercially available smartphone featuring a camera under the display. Unfortunately, the first impressions of the under-screen selfie camera are not all that positive.
The Verge notes the Axon 20 5G takes “hazy, soft photos with weak colors and blown-out highlights” in good light. You can imagine, if photos are that bad in good light, they must be atrocious in low-light situations. Despite disappointing results, the ZTE Axon 20 5G can still claim it is the first smartphone to launch with a camera under the display.
That’s a huge accomplishment in itself, and the technology that goes behind it is fascinating. Now that we have a commercially available phone featuring this tech, it’s time to examine it, and who better to show it off than Zack from the JerryRigEverything YouTube channel.
In the video, Zack shows off how bright lights can cause halos in photos. Additionally, we see the camera doesn’t hide that well behind the screen. In close-up images, there is a distinctive patch of pixels where the camera is housed that become most visible when using a light-colored background. At certain angles, it’s even possible to see some of the camera itself hiding behind the display.
The visible patch of pixels is actually a lower resolution panel that is used to allow more light to reach the camera, as well as making it possible to take photos through the screen. Even though the panel is a lower resolution, the camera still cannot “see” through it. When using the selfie camera the display goes dark turning off the pixels and allowing the camera to capture images.
For a first-generation product, the ZTE Axon 20 5G is still impressive from a technology standpoint. If you’re someone who takes a lot of selfies though, you’re going to want to shop around for a different phone. Regardless, the Axon 20 5G is a $450 device, and that’s a small price to pay to try out what could be the next big thing in smartphone tech.