ZTE claims to have successfully pulled off what other companies like Samsung are taking forever to do. Of course, we’re still waiting for hard, real-world evidence that the Axon 20 5G’s under-display camera is all that it’s advertised to be. ZTE is wasting no time trying to prove that it’s theory is sound but one pair of photos may reveal just exactly what the ZTE Axon 20 5G’s under-display camera looks like, up-close, personal, and with a flat color background.
There are at least two major considerations when trying to implement this seemingly magical under-display camera trick. One is that the area above the camera should, for all intents and purposes, look and behave like any other part of the screen, otherwise it would be no different than a punch-hole cutout. The other is that those pixels shouldn’t in any way interfere with the camera’s function, meaning it shouldn’t discolor images that the sensor receives or prevent light from reaching it in the first place.
Those two important points are almost diametrically opposed, which is what makes under-display cameras difficult to get right. ZTE’s solution was to rearrange the subpixels so that light can still get to the camera underneath through the gaps between the subpixels. A macro photo of that area from @StationChat reveals that wasn’t the only change ZTE made.
In reality, the square area of the display above the camera has a lower pixel density compared to the rest of the screen, which is how those gaps are created in the first place. It also has its own controller and driver so that the two parts of the screen will remain in sync.
This does mean that the hidden camera isn’t exactly that concealed when you use a flat color wallpaper and look closely. Fortunately, it might be unnoticeable most of the time anyway. That only leaves the question of whether the ZTE Axon 20 5G’s front camera can really produce accurate selfies even with an active screen on top of it.