Oppo has announced the latest iteration of its under-screen camera technology, claiming that it allows a selfie camera to be placed under the screen “without compromising the integrity of the screen.” Unlike previous approaches which reduce the pixel density in the part of the screen that covers the camera in order to let more light through, Oppo uses 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 daily use, creating a much more immersive visual experience. The company showed an image of a prototype phone running an e-reader app, which would be pretty much the worst-case scenario for earlier sub-screen cameras due to the white background and crisp text.
As for the quality of the camera itself, here is an example image provided by Oppo:
This is only a sample in good lighting, and there appear to be some color artifacts in some parts of the image. However, it looks considerably better than what you’d get from the first sub-display camera to hit the market, which was on ZTE’s Axon 20 5G.
That said, ZTE has an edge over Oppo by already shipping a phone, and its latest Axon 30 is said to have improved the technology as well. ZTE claims the same density of 400 ppi in the camera portion of the screen, as well as better camera quality than the Axon 20.
Oppo has been working on sub-screen cameras for a long time, showing the world’s first demo at MWC Shanghai in 2019, but at some point it will need to install one in a real commercial device. For now, it’s hard to say too much about the technological improvements without even seeing a prototype for ourselves in person.