The smartphone display notch has been a dominant design feature over the past two years. The technology was introduced to deliver a large display while still leaving room for the front-facing camera, but manufacturers have since been looking at alternatives to get rid of it. While Samsung and Huawei have been playing around with hole-punch cutouts instead of a notch, other devices like the OnePlus 7 Pro have introduced pop-up selfie cameras.
Now, we have a new option from Oppo, the under-screen selfie camera which the company teased a few weeks back. The new technology features a camera sensor which is embedded below the phone’s display, allowing it to capture images directly through the pixels. The concept is similar to that of the optical in-display fingerprint sensor that was introduced last year, but there are a few key differences. While a standard display panel does allow enough light to pass through to capture a fingerprint, the Pixel density of the display is too high to allow enough light for a high-resolution photo. The display panel used in conjunction with the under-screen camera features a newly redesigned pixel structure with a highly-transparent material directly over the camera sensor which significantly more light to pass through.
If you look closely at the display, you’ll notice a screen-door effect in the option which covers the under-screen camera.
Oppo is also using a camera module which is specifically designed for this setup. The sensor prioritizes light absorption over resolution, featuring larger pixels and a lens with a wider aperture, and a unique algorithm which is tuned to reduce the haze from the display and improve clarity. Image results are said to be sub-par at this point, but things should get better before it shows up in a production smartphone.
The company hasn’t revealed when the new under-screen selfie camera technology will officially be on the market, but Oppo has a history of showing off new camera technologies which typically make it to market 4-6 months later. The official company line given when asked about a specific timeframe was “in the near future.”
Who knows, we could see Oppo’s under-screen selfie camera included in the OnePlus 7T Pro later this fall.