Smartphone designers have proven surprisingly single minded on the need to remove the bezel from handsets, ensuring that the screen takes up as much space as humanly possible.
But our love of the selfie has always been an obstacle towards this goal. Apparently you need a camera round the front, and if people find the notch unsightly then you have to consider more radical solutions. A camera that pops up out of the phone’s body, or one that spins round from the back being just two examples.
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But are we missing a more obvious solution? Chinese phone maker Oppo thinks so, and has teased a handset with a camera embedded underneath the screen.
The video above shared on Oppo’s official Twitter account originally comes from a Weibo post of company vice president Brian Shen. As you can see, it shows an unnamed smartphone lying face up on a table, where it’s put into selfie mode and takes a few non-gram worthy snaps of the ceiling.
The twist comes when someone puts their thumb over the very top of the device and it appears on screen, blocking the live display and proving that the camera tech is so subtle that it was hiding in plain sight all along.
So why hasn’t anybody done this before? Well, there is a catch at the moment: quality. “At this stage, it’s difficult for under-display cameras to match the same results as normal cameras, there’s bound to be some loss in optical quality,” Shen wrote. “But, no new technology jumps to perfection right away.”
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No matter how irritating a notch or thick bezel is in principal, a subpar selfie performance will undoubtedly be a deal breaker for some. But it’s an interesting way of tackling the problem, and if Oppo can iron out the kinks, it could well be on to something here. It certainly feels a more reliable solution than the motorised solutions we’ve seen, which feel potentially vulnerable to wear and tear in the long run.
Would you take a hit on selfie quality to eliminate the bezel? Let us know on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.