ZTE Axon 20 5G teardown takes a peek at the under-display camera magic

JC Torres - Dec 28, 2020, 7:38pm CST
ZTE Axon 20 5G teardown takes a peek at the under-display camera magic

Although not as flamboyant as the Galaxy Z Fold 2 or as eccentric as the LG Wing, the ZTE Axon 20 5G actually brought one of the biggest innovations in the mobile industry this year. Granted, it’s not exactly as most would have hoped but the under-display camera or UDC has long been a holy grail for smartphone makers. Although many manufacturers did try their hand at it, it was ZTE that first came out with an actual commercial product and JerryRigEverything literally digs into the phone to see how it works.

Actually, ZTE already shared with the world how its UDC system works on a theoretical level. It simply uses a patch of display that has a lower resolution than the rest of the screen so that it can let light through when needed. That patch of low-res display is barely visible from the outside but, fortunately for us, JerryRigEverything’s Zack Nelson took it upon himself to look from the other side.

Tearing down the Axon 20 5G was actually rather uneventful, which is actually a good thing. The glass back does make removal a bit riskier but the use of standard Philips screws offsets that once you get inside. Unfortunately, the battery is still glued down tight without helpful pull tabs.

The real interesting part of the device is the hole at the top of the screen that shows how light and images can pass through the display. It definitely works as advertised, allowing Nelson to see clearly what’s beneath the screen. There is, however, a slightly yellow tinge due to the other layers of the screen that the phone’s software tries to correct.

That, unfortunately, is also the weakest point of the phone. Reviews have already panned the quality of its selfie camera output, due to both the low amount of light passing through and the software’s post-processing. It might be quite a while before the industry perfects this technology, presuming, of course, other manufacturers also pick it up.


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