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Where's the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3's selfie camera? Hidden under the screen

Under-screen cameras are starting to show up on new phones. But we're still asking: Are they any good?

The Z Fold 3's selfie camera doesn't require a notch or hole punch.
Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET

This story is part of Samsung Event, CNET's collection of news, tips and advice around Samsung's most popular products.

Samsung made a slew of an announcements Wednesday at  Samsung Unpacked  as it lifted the lid on its newest foldable phones, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3. High on the list of features that caught our eye was the under-screen selfie camera on the Z Fold 3.

The Z Fold 3 is the more expensive of the two folding phones, which explains why it's the one that Samsung chose to kit out with a below-deck camera -- a feature we've started to see on phones from Chinese brands such as ZTE and Xiaomi.

Being able to place a camera under the display has become a wish-list item for phone makers in recent years. As bezels have receded to almost nothing, manufacturers have had little choice but to place a front-facing camera on the display, surrounding it either with a notch or hole-punch. But inserting a camera under the display so that it doesn't interrupt the smooth expanse of screen is a tricky business because the camera has to operate as normal while sitting beneath a bunch of pixels.

If phone makers get it wrong, the risk is that both the display and the camera don't meet people's expectations (and in the age of TikTok, ensuring that a phone has a high-performing selfie camera is crucial). The jury is still out on whether under-display cameras produce the same picture quality we're used to from regular selfie cameras, but it's something we'll be looking at closely when we get our hands on the Z Fold 3. Stay tuned for our full review.