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Oppo’s invisible ‘under display’ camera just made notches and cutouts irrelevant

Image credit: TechRadar

Update: Just hours after Oppo posted a video of its under display camera tech, a competitor raised the stakes, as Xiaomi posted a video of its own under display camera in a working phone.

Xiaomi's handset seems a lot more advanced than Oppo's, as it's in a working phone as opposed to just basic tech, but if anything this shows us that this kind of front-facing camera could soon be a highly competitive aspect of phones.

In the race to provide users with ever more screen real-estate, smartphone manufacturers have worked hard to make their selfie cameras as unobtrusive as possible, implementing solutions such as notches, pinholes and even mechanical pop-up cameras.

While many of these approaches are undoubtedly clever from a design standpoint, all of them can be seen as an engineering compromise – nobody truly wants a notch or pinhole cutout on their beautiful handset, but they'll take one if they have no other choice. 

Well, it seems that compromise is about to become a thing of the past, with Oppo announcing that it has finally cracked the smartphone selfie camera dilemma, revealing a world-first look at its under-display camera technology in a video posted to Twitter. 

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As you can see, the video above shows an all-screen smartphone with no notches or cutouts of any kind (or even a pop-up camera), but which is still able to take selfies. In the video, a ring of light appears at the top of the phone's display which indicates where the invisible camera is placed. 

The Chinese manufacturer has previously opted for pop-up selfie cameras in its Oppo Find X, Oppo F11 Pro and new Oppo Reno 5G, however, it goes without saying that a phone with no moving parts is preferable to one which could break down after extended use.

At present, Oppo has yet to reveal when we can expect its under-display camera tech to make its way into a consumer phone. 

That said, the company has traditionally been known to fast-track its technological advancements and bring them to market quickly – so it's possible that we may have this tech in our hands sooner rather than later.

Stephen Lambrechts

Stephen is a Senior Editor who primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar in Australia, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, and consuming all forms of media at the highest quality possible. He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, sneakers or Italian horror cinema.