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. 

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
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume 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, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.