Earlier this month, Oppo introduced its upcoming under-screen camera tech with a quick and dirty video, and Xiaomi was quick to announce that it was working on something similar. Neither company explained how the tech worked back then, but today, our colleagues over at Engadget Chinese were able to give this new feature a spin at MWC Shanghai, and Oppo was also ready to drop some light on the how.
Just like in the earlier video demo, when the camera is still, the screen works just as normal. However, when you look up close, the area above the camera appears to be more pixelated. According to Oppo, this zoned-out area features a highly-transparent material plus a redesigned pixel structure for enhanced light transmittance. In other words, this camera tech needs a customized display panel, because existing ones won’t do the job — their transparency properties are only good enough for in-display fingerprint readers, but not conventional cameras.
Oppo added that the under-screen camera itself also packs a larger sensor with bigger pixels, along with a larger aperture to get as much light as possible. This does mean a drop in resolution, and based on our quick comparison, there’s certainly room for improvement in terms of clarity and color accuracy. This is a little worrying, considering Oppo has already applied its algorithm fix on haze removal, HDR plus white balance, and it’ll have to put in more effort here to meet its usual selfie standards.