In 2018, when Samsung and Apple were still racking their brains to increase the screen-to-body ratio of mobile phones, The Chinese mobile phone manufacturers introduced the design of the motorized pop-up front camera. At that time, many mobile phones with lifting designs emerged. The ones that impressed the most were the Redmi K20 Pro and OnePlus 7 Pro. On this topic, I shall be discussing why under-screen and pop-up camera phones are unpopular. Within this context, we are referring only to the selfie/front pop-up camera. Here.
The Under-Screen and Pop-up Camera Phones are Unpopular: Here Are The Reasons
The image below is that of a typical phone with a motorized pop-up front camera and one that uses an under-the-display camera. Now, let us proceed to discuss why both technologies are currently unpopular despite the aesthetics they offer.
Reasons Why Motorized Pop-up Camera Phones are Unpopular
- Sadly, this design has not been popular in the market for too long for the following reasons; On the one hand, the weight and space occupied by the motorized pop-up structure are not small, which greatly affects the internal stacking design of the R&D team.
- Secondly, the pop-up design will increase the difficulty of mobile phone waterproof design. Therefore, removing the lifting camera after multiple considerations is very reasonable.
- Another factor that could play a subtle role is “durability.” Some consumers might be scared that their device’s selfie camera might go out faster than expected due to the technology.
I believe many readers like the full-screen design of the motorized pop-up camera as much as I do.
The visual experience brought by a complete screen is incomparable, even if your black border is narrower and the hole is smaller.
The Emergence of Under-screen Front Camera Phones
As a result of the relative failure of the “pop-up camera,” Mobile phone manufacturers represented by ZTE began to launch various concept phones using the under-screen camera solution. To be very honest, one would think that the under-screen camera technology would be fully mature within two years.
Everyone knows the final result. After many iterations of the under-screen camera technology, there are still many problems that wiped out the market’s expectations.
The popularity of under-screen cameras has gradually disappeared, and many products that used to be sold with under-screen cameras will also return to the mainstream punch-hole screen design.
Why is The under-display camera That has been Touted for Several Years Unpopular?
Like that of pop-up camera phones, I will highlight the factors responsible for the decline in popularity of under-screen camera phones.
The under-display camera is not good enough.
If I remember correctly, the industry’s first product equipped with under-the-display camera technology is the ZTE Axon20, which redesigns the under-screen front camera and the pixel arrangement corresponding to the photosensitive direction.
As a result, the external light can be transmitted to the front camera so that the front camera reaches a usable level.
This is somewhat similar to the realization principle of screen optical fingerprints, but the requirements for screen fingerprints are much lower.
But this will also lead to a significant reduction in pixel density in this area. It will make the camera area look blurry, and the brightness is far lower than in other areas.
The design leads to a particularly obvious circle in the camera area under the screen, which has a very poor look and feel.
The Light Transmissance of The Under-Screen Camera Is Very Poor
Moreover, the light transmittance in this area is far from as good as we imagined. According to the tests of some professionals, the light transmittance of the camera area under the screen may only be between 20% and 30%.
Comparatively, the transmittance of the front camera area of mainstream mobile phones is above 90% light rate. Even in an environment with excellent light, the selfie effect of the camera under the screen is also inferior.
Although ZTE and Xiaomi have tried their best to solve this problem and introduced various noise reduction and beauty algorithms, trying to make the selfie effect of the camera under the screen reach a usable level, it still cannot meet most users’ needs.
Poor Selfie Photos From The Under-Screen Cameras
Results from testing the selfie effects of several under-display camera phones were disappointing. The selfie effects of each model can be described as: “fuzzy.” In backlit scenes, there will even be a unique sense of “blurring”, and the background is washed-out.
- Lack of Face recognition/ID
- Furthermore, more importantly, as the screen resolution of mobile phones is getting higher and higher, the low-resolution camera area under the screen will become more and more below par.
It can be said that today’s under-screen camera design can bring users little impact on appearance, and the rest are all shortcomings.
For those consumers who pursue practicality, almost none of today’s under-screen camera phones is worth buying. The laws of physics limit these problems, and it isn’t easy to make further technological breakthroughs.
What Do The Users Complain Most About Under-The-Display Front Cameras?
In fact, in the year when the under-screen camera became widespread, many consumers already started to sing bad news.
The problems of the under-screen camera, such as unclear photos, are not worth making a series of stacking materials around it. It is doomed. It can only be used on some mid-range products.
In addition, not all consumers are so obsessed with whether the mobile phone has this hole. If it can provide additional functions (such as higher-quality selfies or 3D facial recognition), it is not unacceptable to have a notch.
The typical examples are the iPhone 13 (Face ID) and Samsung punch-hole cameras such as the s22.
Differentiation does not mean that what you do is different from others, but identifying the pain points that users are willing to spend money to solve and the technology developed when solving the pain points can be called effective differentiation.
Are Under-Screen Camera Phones Dead?
Although today’s off-screen camera technology is a gimmick for appearance, many users in the market will pay for it.
Take the Red Magic 8 Pro+ and Nubia Z50 Ultra as examples. Both of them are impeccable in terms of appearance. Anyone who has seen these phones exclaims, “It’s so amazing.” sexy.” It’s square and has a whole screen without any openings or cutouts.
This is the complete body of a full-screen mobile phone. However, all the problems mentioned above still have the problems explained earlier in this article.
Some readers may object. I am a big man who doesn’t take selfies at all. I can pass face recognition. But sorry, when you need to make WeChat videos or need some software that requires face recognition, then you will realize it.
I would rather dig a hole than use the camera under the screen. This is a problem that cannot be solved at present.
How Can The Poor Photo Quality of Under-Screen Camera Be Solved?
To solve the problems of under-the-screen cameras, manufacturers need to find a balance between software algorithms, hardware computing power, and screen light transmittance.
While ensuring the screen’s uniform display effect, the camera’s imaging effect under the screen is guaranteed.
For whom is the camera phone with under-display technology suitable?
Having said so much, who is the camera phone under the screen suitable for? This largely depends on your needs and habits; there are not many requirements for the relevant functions of the front camera.
Let us say the under-screen camera is for users who cannot accept the punch-hole screen and are unwilling to choose the pop-up camera solution.
Sometimes compromising is often a better choice. Since the front lens can’t disappear now, let’s make the front lens more compact by reducing the area of the hole.
Small, or like today’s folding screen phones, turn over and take selfies with the rear camera. Sometimes this compromise can also create new selling points and outlets.
A Summary of the Challenges Faced by Under-Screen Cameras.
There may not be any full-screen models on the market for some time. Perhaps the market’s expectations for full-screen models are not as outrageous as they were a few years ago. Among them, most consumers will still choose the former.
However, one thing is worthy of note, In the field of under-screen camera technology, Chinese manufacturers are ahead of significant screen manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, and Sony.
The under-screen camera solutions used by manufacturers such as ZTE and Nubia come from Chinese manufacturers.
Whether it is a manufacturer or a user, everyone more or less believes that the hole-digging screen will be eliminated, but when this happens, no one can conclude.