How Does Under-Display Front Camera Works?

Abhishek Malhotra
Jun 21, 2019   •  88 views

One of the latest trends in the Mobile Phone world is a full edge-to-edge display. While it gives a futuristic look to the phone, it also makes the viewing experience a lot more appealing. Companies like Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Oppo, etc have already come up with solutions to the Front Camera Problem.

You might ask What Is The Front Camera Problem? Well, if the companies start producing edge-to-edge displays, where will they put the Front camera? And we all know the importance of Front Cameras. Yes, because selfies are important.

Samsung, has come up with the Hole Punch Technology. What it does is, that it makes a capsule shaped cutout in the display, and places the front camera in that cut-out. This can be considered as one of the nice solutions to the problem but it hinders the viewing experience on the device. You might get used to the cutout, but you just can't ignore the fact that it is present, obstructing the display and hiding a considerable amount of content that is being displayed.

OnePlus, Oppo, Xiaomi have come up with a solution that does solve two of the problems. With their technology, it won't affect your viewing experience. Also, it solves the front camera problem which I mentioned in the beginning.

What they did is, they place a motorized camera module inside the phone that pops-up from the top of the phone whenever the front camera comes to use. Nice right? But, it has it's own disadvantages. While the companies claim that even if you open the front camera 100 times a day, the camera motors will last you 3-4 years, but you just can't trust a motor. It can malfunction when you least expect it to. Also, you can't have proper water proofing in the phone, because obviously, a part of the phone just pops out of it.

Recently, two famous companies have revealed that they solved the problems related to the one we are talking about, the front camera problem.

Xiaomi & Oppo have developed a technology called Under-Display (or in-display) camera technology that we already saw was coming. But we didn't expect it to arrive this soon.

Under Display Camera Technology

What is it?

Many of you might confuse between hole punch technology and under Display technology. Let me tell you, they are not the same. I'll explain you the difference in a nice and easy way.

As I mentioned earlier, hole punch means a display cutout which is a capsule shaped one. And that's why, it can be seen clearly at the top (take a look at the 1st image above).

But, under display camera works differently and smartly. The main camera sensor sits just below the display while being invisible to the user.

How Does It Work?

The display area, above the camera, becomes transparent as soon as you open any app that uses the front camera, within a millisec to be precise.

It becomes transparent so that light can enter the sensor without any obstruction and you can click selfies, or video call someone without facing any reduction in the quality of the image.

The displays used in the devices are not the normal ones used in other phones. These devices use a low reflective glass of high transmittance which allows it to become transparent just with the blink of an eye. Yes, the whole process is very fast.

As I said earlier, both Xiaomi and Oppo have revealed their prototypes with the Under Display Camera Technology and both of them work without any issues.

The question which arises next is, Are these devices coming anytime soon?

Well the answer to this question is No. The devices which the company revealed are prototypes and might undergo a lot of changes before the technology becomes ready for day-to-day usage.

While this maybe months away, we have to wait for other companies too, just to see their implementation of this new technology.


To conclude the above, the camera technology is becoming smart and more useful day by day. Back in the day, we had phones that had a notch (iPhone XS, OnePlus 6/6T, Pixel 3XL), then came the phones with the hole-punch camera (Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus). Next, we have the ones which have a pop-up camera (OnePlus 7 Pro, Redmi K20 Pro, etc), and now the In-display camera, which amongst all, works the best. It is the best solution to the Front Camera Problem, and also provides the best experience of a device to the consumer.