Last year, ZTE boasted about having accomplished what even the likes of Samsung still failed to do. It brought the world’s first commercially available under-display camera on a smartphone and explained how it pulled off this difficult trick. As much excitement as it generated, it also raised doubts on how it would work in practice. Early feedback was less than encouraging but perhaps the most damning comes from DxOMark’s review that almost put the ZTE Axon 20 5G at the bottom of its selfie list.
Putting a camera under an active display is no easy task, which at least justifies ZTE’s pride. Making it work, however, is one thing but making it work well is a whole different game. Unfortunately, DxOMark found very little to praise in the Axon 20 5G as far as the 32MP selfie camera is concerned apart from being an impressive party trick.
The camera’s biggest problems were in white balance and color, which actually isn’t surprising considering the technical hurdles that had to be overcome with this UDC technology. If you thought some phones produced pasty selfies, they have nothing on the color shading, color casts, and color quantization of the Axon 20 5G. Artifacts are also prominent and image quality degraded even further when the screen above the camera is actively emitting light, something that only ZTE’s camera app fixes.
Video is noted to be only a little less bad though has the same problems with color and exposure. Stable focus is the one good thing about it but that’s only because it has a fixed focus system.
With an average score of 26, the ZTE Axon 20 5G almost sinks to the bottom of DxOMark’s list for selfie tests, narrowly beating the ironically named Intex Aqua Selfie for the title of worst selfie camera. DxOMark does note that, for its price, the phone might still be good for other things, especially with its novelty. Just don’t expect much from selfies and video calls.