Oppo announces ‘next-generation’ under-display selfie camera

Oppo has announced the latest iteration of its under-screen camera technology, claiming it allows for a selfie camera to be placed under the display “without compromising the integrity of the screen.” Unlike earlier approaches that reduce pixel density in the portion of the screen that covers the camera in order to let more light pass through, Oppo is using smaller pixels to maintain the same 400-ppi sharpness as the rest of the OLED panel.

The result, according to Oppo, is that users should notice “almost no visual difference between the [under-screen camera] area and the rest of the screen during everyday use, creating a much more immersive visual experience.” The company has shown off an image of a prototype phone running an e-reader app, which would be pretty much the worst-case scenario for earlier under-display cameras due to the white background and sharp text.

As for the quality of the camera itself, here’s a sample image provided by Oppo:

It’s only one sample in good light, and there do seem to be some color artifacts in certain portions of the image. It does, however, look considerably better than what you’d get from the first under-display camera to hit the market, which was on ZTE’s Axon 20 5G.

That said, ZTE has one up on Oppo by actually shipping a phone already, and its latest Axon 30 is meant to have improved the tech as well. ZTE is claiming the same 400-ppi density in the camera portion of the screen, plus better camera quality than the Axon 20.

Oppo has been working on under-display cameras for a long time, showing off the world’s first demo at MWC Shanghai in 2019, but at some point it’s going to have to put one in an actual commercial device. For now, it’s hard to say too much about the tech improvements without even seeing a prototype for ourselves in person.

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