If you want to purchase a phone with an under-display front camera right now, you’re out of luck. While several companies have tested the feature, none have yet to ship one to consumers. But that should change soon, as ZTE aims to become the first company to mass-produce and ship a phone with an under-display camera next month.
The Axon 20 5G will launch in China on September 1st. ZTE notes in its press release that “all the major industry players” are working on under-display cameras, but it plans to be the first one to get a smartphone with this feature out the door. The Axon 20 5G is said to be the “world’s first mass-produced 5G smartphone,” according to ZTE.
Several companies have been teasing smartphones with under-display cameras over the last year. Oppo and Xiaomi both showed off prototype smartphones that include a front camera hidden beneath the screen in 2019. Xiaomi explained that its under-display camera would be embedded to the top of the device and covered using a “special-low-reflective glass with high transmittance,” allowing the display to become transparent to take pictures. Oppo showed a prototype build of its first phone with the feature to people at MWC Shanghai in 2019, but it needed work. As Engadget wrote in its hands-on from 2019, the camera has a “fair amount of hazing.”
For several years, companies have been moving toward smartphones with edge-to-edge screens. Instead of the front camera occupying some of the screen space, some companies have tried making the front camera pop out from the top of the phone. More recently, Lenovo released a new gaming phone that includes a pop-up selfie camera on the side of the phone. But under-display cameras offer a more elegant solution, without moving parts inside the phone.
ZTE has yet to unveil how much the Axon 20 5G will cost or if it will arrive in other countries. The Chinese telecommunications company did not detail the phone’s specs either, but a recent listing by Chinese regulator TENAA, as spotted by XDA-Developers, says the Axon 20 5G will include a 32-megapixel front camera, a 64-megapixel rear camera, an 8-megapixel rear camera, and a pair of two-megapixel rear cameras. Other specs rumored on the phone include a 6.92-inch HD OLED display and up to 12GB of RAM.