Samsung Galaxy S21 will still have a punch-hole to accommodate the front-facing camera, but there are predictions that under-display camera will be used for the Galaxy Z Fold 3. We have spotted a patent about Samsung’s version of under-display camera. It should be quite similar to what Xiaomi and Oppo have developed. There are two parts of the camera, one on the main display and another for transferring light to the camera sensor underneath. The secondary display just above the camera has lower resolution than the rest of the front display. With good implementations, they should appear quite integrated.
At the moment, there are still problems with light transmission to the sensor that could affect image quality. However, Ice Universe reported last year that Samsung’s solution will be better than the competing technologies. The under-display solution could cover a larger area of the display. Samsung may also put infrared sensor and flash underneath the display as well. Infrared is important to ensure reliable facial recognition feature and improve image quality.
ZTE Axon 20 5G is the first commercially available smartphone with under-display front camera, released in December last year. Unfortunately, the technology seems to be immature and the photo results are quite disappointing. The phone itself is physically large with 6.92-inch display OLED at 90Hz refresh rate. With Full HD resolution, the display remains sharp, despite the large screen area. Despite the slight colour shifting, the display should look quite good. Unfortunately, the smartphone has a large bottom bezel. When you open settings screens, the light backgrounds make the under-display camera quite noticeable. The square patch above the camera has lower resolution than the rest of the display and it’s visible. For some people, this could feel like a worse solution than notch. Another big question is whether the front-facing camera works well. The selfie camera produces mediocre results, despite the 32MP sensor. The transparent material, software algorithm and pixel filters are still not enough to deliver favourable results.
When there’s good light, the selfie camera of Axon 20 5G takes photos with blow-out highlights and weak colours. The disparity becomes quite stark when the light is low, because details are gone and photos look noisy. Samsung is already aware of these issues and it will try to make a functional under-display front camera. It’s better for Samsung to continue using punch hole, if it couldn’t find an ideal solution for under-display camera. But if Samsung is able to pull this off, it could become a new trend in the industry. It would be a technological challenge for other phone manufacturers to come up with something similar. Without doubt, Apple will try to implement the same thing and if it does, under-display camera will become a new standard in the industry. Despite the current technological hurdles, bright minds in the industry could develop the best solution for under-display camera. It’s certainly challenging, but continuous improvements should bring things to the next level.