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Notch no more: Oppo makes in-screen cameras a reality

The Chinese company announces its "under screen camera."

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Daniel Van Boom Senior Writer
Daniel Van Boom is an award-winning Senior Writer based in Sydney, Australia. Daniel Van Boom covers cryptocurrency, NFTs, culture and global issues. When not writing, Daniel Van Boom practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, reads as much as he can, and speaks about himself in the third person.
Expertise Cryptocurrency, Culture, International News
Daniel Van Boom
2 min read
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The Oppo Reno 5G, which might be the last Oppo flagship without an under screen camera.

Ian Knighton/CNET

Editors' note: Oppo just announced its latest flagship phone, the Oppo Find X2 Pro

How do you make a phone that's got close to a 100% screen-to-body ratio but still crams in a selfie camera? Samsung's Galaxy S10 range has an Infinity-O notch, Asus ' ZenFone 6 has a rear camera that protrudes and rotates to become a front camera, and the OnePlus 7  simply has a popup shooter. Oppo thinks it has a better solution: a camera inside the display. Recently, Vivo revealed a concept phone called the Apex 2020 with an under-screen camera. 

The Chinese company unveiled its in-screen camera, what it's calling USC (under screen camera), at MWC Shanghai on Wednesday. Oppo says under-screen cameras are enabled by a camera with a wider-than-average aperture and greater pixel size, as well as algorithms that reduce haze and improve both HDR and white balance.

But there are some caveats. Oppo didn't announce an actual phone in which an under screen camera would reside, and in a press release cautioned that its under screen camera would produce image quality"approaching that of mainstream smartphones."

Though the tech was only announced on Wednesday, Oppo actually showed it off early in June. "You are taking a very first look at our under-display selfie camera technology," a tweet read, posted alongside a video of the camera in action.

Echoing Oppo's cautions, Oppo Vice President Brian Shen noted on Weibo (via Google Translate) that it's difficult to make in-screen cameras as effective as the ones on the company's current phones, but that this is a worthy step in the right direction.

Oppo's most recent phone, the Reno, also enjoys a notch-free screen, with its selfie lens attached to a pop-up, shark fin-style camera. It's not 100% screen, but with a screen-to-body ratio of 93.1% is pretty close. 

Originally published June 26 at 1:00 a.m. PT.
Updated at 8:28 a.m. PT: Added more details.

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