Oppo has revealed its latest Under Screen Camera (USC), which is expected to eventually replace the notch or hole-punch cutout on the smartphone, and instead hide the selfie camera under the screen. The company claims that its USC has “the perfect balance between screen and camera quality”, and has released two selfies taken with the camera for proof.
It’s not the first of its kind we’ve seen. Oppo has already perfected the complicated technology and showed its first variant at MWC Shanghai in 2019. It didn’t debut smartphones, but ZTE has released not one but two devices – the Axon 20 5G and Axon 30 5G – with under-screen cameras, though neither of them has made much of an impact internationally.
What has Oppo done differently here? It uses both hardware and software to correct the performance. The camera has a 400-pixel-per-inch density, achieved by making the pixels smaller, along with thinner wires made of a transparent material for a more compact module. The software links each pixel circuit to a single pixel, allowing better control of brightness and allowing the screen to show more colors and more detail. Several other changes help the camera and screen work better than ever, including HDR, auto white balance and diffraction reduction using artificial intelligence (AI).
The two selfies sent by Oppo show good white balance, a natural tone and a lot of detail. However, it’s also clear that selfies were taken in and out of good lighting conditions, when even the most basic selfie camera should be able to take a decent picture. Performance in low light, and in more challenging lighting conditions inside, will be the real test for Oppo’s USC camera.
Wondering when Oppo will put its USC on a phone you can buy? It’s not giving any indication of when this will happen, saying instead that it will continue to work on the technology, “with the ultimate goal of bringing a more immersive, full-screen USC system to users around the world.” This suggests that it doesn’t consider the technology ready for general use yet, and given the two-year gap between USC before it and this version, we may still have some time to wait. .