It seems that the next trend in smartphones will be under-display (or under-screen) cameras or UDCs, at least as far as some manufacturers are concerned. Of course, ZTE fired the opening salvo last year with the Axon 20 5G and fired another round with the Axon 30 5G last month. Samsung is also rumored to be jumping on that bandwagon with the Galaxy Z Fold 3, and OPPO already revealed its third-gen under-screen camera (USC) prototype. Xiaomi, however, might beat them to the punch with the Mi Mix 4 next week.
Xiaomi’s Mi Mix has always been about employing innovative or unorthodox designs in order to provide a full-screen smartphone display. The Mi Mix started that tradition by minimizing the camera’s area to a very thin chin, while the latest Mi Mix 3 utilized a pop-up camera instead. This year, Xiaomi is apparently going the extra mile by finally bringing its own UDC implementation to the market for the first time.
Just like OPPO, Xiaomi has already reached its third iteration of this under-display camera technology. And like OPPO, it hasn’t yet utilized that for any commercial smartphone. If this latest leak from Digital Chat Station on Weibo is true, that will finally change with the Mi Mix 4.
A brief video shows the display panel that Xiaomi will allegedly use for the upcoming smartphone. It is flexible, which in itself is already impressive, allowing Xiaomi to implement a curved-edge design for the Mi Mix 4. The more significant revelation, however, is the under-display camera that is almost completely unnoticeable until the screen is turned off.
It does seem that this year’s generation of UDCs has finally solved the pixel density problem seen on the ZTE Axon 20 5G last year. It remains to be seen, however, if they have also sufficiently addressed the image quality issue inherent in this kind of technology. Based on Xiaomi’s own teaser, the Mi Mix 4 is set to debut in China on August 10, a day ahead of Samsung’s Unpacked 2021.