Oppo and Xiaomi show off working under-the-screen selfie cameras

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When it comes to smartphones over the past few years, there has been an ongoing struggle to get more screen real estate and tackle the screen to body ratio problem. At the moment most manufacturers are employing notches or punch holes in order to house their front-facing phone camera, but it looks like two Chinese firms are aiming to beat their competition.

To that end both Oppo and Xiaomi have shown off prototype devices with new interfaces for the front facing camera, and place it under the screen, akin to what has happened with fingerprint sensors recently.

Oppo was the first to do it, with Xiaomi responding in kind shortly thereafter. What is perhaps the most interesting aspect to all this, is that both companies have developed a very similar solution.

To that end, from what can tell from each of their videos, the devices feature a drop down virtual bezel when the front facing camera is engaged, allowing the camera to take pictures.

As these are only prototype products, the technology has not been perfected just yet, and we’re unsure of the picture quality with such a system, and indeed what kind of field of view and image stabilisation features are included.

Also unclear is when Oppo and Xiaomi will have this phone camera design ready for launch to market, but with IFA 2019 happening in September, we could be a few short months away from having an answer.

With Xiaomi having a modest presence in South Africa, and Oppo virtually non-existent, it should be interesting of the fully fledged versions of these prototypes will ever land locally.

For now though the race is on for other large manufacturers to match Oppo and Xiaomi, along with the pair of Chinese firms competing with one another to get to market.

In the interim, hit play on the embedded videos below to gauge which interface looks better.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.