ZTE Axon 30 5G UDC might be well-hidden but still disappointing

The smartphone market has been trying to push for full-screen displays for a long time now, but no single solution seems to stick around for long. From cutouts to popup cameras, every year sees a new design or mechanism designed to minimize the amount of screen real estate taken up by the front camera. Ideally, the solution would be an under-display camera or UDC that's completely hidden from view. In practice, even ZTE's upcoming Axon 30 5G shows how we're still a long way from that ideal.

ZTE hasn't talked about the technical aspects of its second-gen UDC, unlike with last year's Axon 20 5G. It still has a few days to hype that up, however, and it seems that it is giving Chinese media a preview of what's to come. In a nutshell, the ZTE Axon 30 5G UDC does take a few steps forward, but probably not enough to get glowing reviews.

The biggest improvement that the second-gen under-display camera makes is in how well it is hidden from view. Unlike its predecessor, there is no discernible patch of screen that has a lower pixel density than the rest of the display. While not exactly a deal-breaker before, this at least fulfills the full-screen half of the UDC promise.

Chinese media was able to also take a few selfies using the ZTE Axon 30 5G, and it does have some noticeable improvements in quality over last year's first attempt. It's still not up to the same levels as most front-facing cameras from premium flagships, of course. We'll be waiting for real-world evaluations if the upgrade is enough to be considered half-decent this time.

The hands-on preview also confirms the details we've seen so far, like the Snapdragon 870 processor running inside. It briefly shows the camera design, which could end up being one of the criticisms of the phone. The ZTE Axon 30 5G is set to debut on July 27, giving the company a few more days to drum up the hype over the market's second under-display camera.