Last year, ZTE’s Axon 20 5G was the world’s first commercially available phone to fit a front camera under its display. It was an impressive step forward for phone technology, but there was one big problem: the camera sucked. Took lousy photos and the module distorted the screen on certain settings. Now, ZTE is trying again with the updated Axon 30, which seems to offer some improvements over its predecessor.
First, a little spec dump. The Axon 30 has a 6.92-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and FHD + resolution, all powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 870 5G chipset. There’s a quad-camera array on the back of the device, with a 64-megapixel main lens, 8-megapixel 120-degree wide-angle, 5-megapixel macro, and an additional depth-of-field lens. The battery has a capacity of 4200 mAh and a fast charge of 55 W and, according to GSMArena, you have the options of 6GB / 8GB / 12GB of RAM and 128GB / 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage.
But the most interesting updates for the Axon 30 are those for the under-screen camera. In order for these under-screen modules to work, you have to use transparent materials in that area of the screen, which are a fairly recent development and therefore lower quality compared to normal screen technology. For the Axon 30, ZTE says it has doubled the pixel density in this area from 200 PPI to 400 PPI, which should allow for smoother integration with the display.
ZTE says it has also improved the under-display camera itself. You can see in our practice with the Axon 20 last year that the images from this camera were blurry and soft in good lighting, and introduced a noise tone to bad rays. The camera was a great technical achievement, sure, but not on par with normal front lenses. However, based on the shot below, from popular telephone informant Ice Universe (aka @UniverseIce), there may be some improvements with the Axon 30.
Obviously we’ll have to wait to test the phone ourselves to give it a full evaluation, but don’t hold your breath for any miracles. As Ice Universe points out, the image above was taken outdoors in bright light, in response to a Twitter user suggesting they should test the camera in worse conditions, Ice Universe answer back: “Such a poor performance.”
Another photo of Ice suggests that the under-screen camera is also visible when the screen is off, but that’s no big deal.
The ZTE Axon 30 launches first in China, with GSMArena informing that sales will begin on August 3. Pricing starts at CNY 2,198 ($ 338) for the 6GB / 128GB model and CNY 3,098 ($ 476) for the 12GB / 256GB version. Global availability and pricing will come later.