We have a serious love-hate relationship with front-facing cameras on our phones. Of course, everyone likes to take selfies, and their popularity has helped take several social media sites into the stratosphere. But the cameras themselves are so inconvenient, taking up precious space on the phone and increasingly stealing space from the screen itself. A new solution involves placing the front panel under the screen, as we see in the new ZTE Axon 20 5G. Now JerryRigEverything’s Zack is testing this model, seeing how it resists abuse and also giving us a better view of how this strange camera works.

Honestly, the durability test is not really the interesting part of this video, and we are mainly interested in checking the technology of the camera under the screen. Understandably, it is somewhat visible under a variety of conditions, but it may not be disturbing.

Close-ups show that the area over the camera has less pixel density than the surrounding screen, and when fully illuminated, you can only see the gaps that allow light to pass through. The animations that move around this area seem a little unstable at times, which can be a consequence of the aliasing and lower resolution here.

We will also see some sample images and, to little surprise, the quality is impaired as a result of this camera arrangement. Bright lights capture a pronounced halo and there is a diffuse quality to everything, like the screen having a diffraction effect on light sources.

Axon 20 selfie quality (left) vs. the Note10 + (right)

Before it starts to sound too Negative, remember that this technology is still in its infancy and, just as the folding screen phones are getting much better, it can only take a generation or two for the cameras under the screen to really start making their name.