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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

After teasing its fullscreen display-enabling technology for a while, Chinese mobile maker ZTE has officially launched the first commercial phone featuring an under-screen front-facing camera.


The Axon 20 5G eschews a hole punch or notch solution for its 32-megapixel selfie camera, and instead hides it underneath its 6.9-inch 90Hz OLED display, which is surrounded by minimal bezels on all four sides.

According to ZTE, the area around the camera looks just as bright and vivid as the rest of the screen. The company says it has achieved this using a high transparency material that features organic and inorganic films.

Putting a camera under the screen makes it harder to match the quality of an unobstructed smartphone camera, so to compensate ZTE has developed software algorithms that address haze, glare, and color cast issues in photos.

The company also referred to "color synchronization" between the camera and the display, which sounds as if it captures images between the screen's PWM flicker. (PWM flicker is a way of controlling screen brightness by adding some breaks without light emittance.)

The phone also features an under-display fingerprint sensor and an under-screen speaker system. Elsewhere, on the rear, there's a 64-megapixel camera backed by an 8-megapixel ultrawide lens with 2-megapixel depth and macro sensors.

The Axon 20 5G will be available to order in China from September 10 at a cost of about $320, but it's unclear if it will become available internationally.


This isn't the first time we've seen a Chinese company unveil a solution to the ubiquitous smartphone display notch. Oppo teased its own under-screen camera prototype way back in June 2019, but the technology has yet to appear in a consumer Oppo phone.

Apple is thought to be working towards a notchless iPhone design. The notch has been a controversial design decision since it debuted on the ‌iPhone‌ X in 2017, and it has always felt like a stopgap on the way to an ‌iPhone‌ with a truly edge-to-edge display, but when that will appear remains unknown.

Apple's 2020 iPhone lineup is widely expected to include an enhanced triple rear camera system, with at least one high-end model featuring an additional LiDAR camera for 3D mapping. The display notch, which houses Apple's TrueDepth camera and Face ID tech, will almost certainly remain, although there have been conflicting rumors regarding whether the notch will be smaller or the same size as on previous models.

Article Link: ZTE Launches World's First Phone With Under-Screen Selfie Camera


macrumors 6502
Mar 15, 2018
This is the sort of engineering invovation and leap forward that we should be expecting from Apple, not it's competitors.
It´s no longer like 2007 when Apple saw the possibilities of then new technologies first. These days no one buys Apple products because of this or that innovation (the under screen camera isnt even something game changing rather than a nice design option) but because of their excellent eco system and reliability.


macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2011
This is the sort of engineering invovation and leap forward that we should be expecting from Apple, not it's competitors.

Apple should be ashamed of themselves, largest company in the world and they got beat by some small Chinese company...

Apple has shamelessly never cared about being first.

People don’t remember who did it first. They remember who did it the best.

Apple didn’t make the first MP3 player, Smartphone, tablet, Smartwatch or wireless earphones. Yet we remember the iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and AirPods because Apple waited to do it right.

That doesn’t take away from ZTE though. This is truely awesome.


macrumors 68020
Jun 2, 2006
The future would be cameras behind the glass for front and back cameras. So the phone will be a slab of glass with stainless steel band. That would be simplistic and beautiful. Maybe that’s Jony Ive’s goal since the beginning when he designed iPhones.
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macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2008
Wow it’s amazing Macrumors actually mentioned PWM in an article. Nothing about Apple’s flagship phones all shipping with headache inducing PWM, but at least they acknowledged the existence of PWM at all for once


macrumors 6502a
Dec 15, 2012
This is just a camera right?

TrueDepth with laser dot projector, IR and stuff ain’t happening under the display soon imho..

So don’t be quick to assume Apple would go this route or had reason to even explore it...for all we know ZTE won a race Apple isn’t even in...


macrumors regular
Jul 15, 2020
I had a Nubia X6 back in the day when I was living in China and that was visually years ahead of the game. This looks sick but I’d have to see the device in person.


Feb 9, 2003
this is why im waiting until 2021 September to get the iPhone launched then.
this is what it will look like.
i can wait 1 more year for this.


macrumors 6502a
May 18, 2012
We really need to see the selfie images to see how good of a solution this is. The software removal of what would be a whole layer of screen from an image sounds like something that can't be too reliable. If we were using the front camera only for video calls maybe we can live with low quality videos... but it gets used to capture tons of actual images where image quality is important.

Not to mention it doesn't address the face id components. Apple is going to be stuck with the notch for quite a while.


macrumors regular
Jan 14, 2020
Why not place the camera in the centre (diagonally).
That way it would overcome the worst problem of an edge mounted camera. Specifically the lack of eye contact we’ve all discovered during video calls.

Came here to say exactly this. Putting the camera in the centre of the screen would be amazing for improving the feeling of connection between people on video calls.

As someone who’s had to experience being apart from my wife for months at a time due to visa issues, FaceTime was all we had. As great as it is, we’d still have to take turns looking at the camera vs looking at the others eyes to feel that connection that comes from mutual eye contact.
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macrumors 6502a
May 18, 2012
Also... it's a little depressing that we are basically moving towards a rectangular screen as far as design goes. Say what you will about early feature phones... but it used to be fun to be enamored by the Moto Razrs and Samsung phones and Xperias for how slick they looked.


macrumors member
Jun 26, 2010
This is truly remarkable!!!

And although it's likely there will be some issues with image quality in the first iteration, this is definitely a step towards the right direction.

Can't wait for Apple to implement something like this 5 years from now 😝
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