Tuesday, April 13

let’s not rush innovation on smartphones

At the bend of a little press review around the ZTE Axon 20 5G, we realize that the first smartphone with a camera under the screen is not really developed. The opportunity to remind people that technological innovation should not be rushed to be successful.

The first smartphone with a camera placed under the screen was made official in early September. I named the ZTE Axon 20 5G. A few months later, the brand slowly began to open deliveries of its innovative product.

Thus, some English-speaking media were able to get their hands on the product to try it out and give a first opinion. By performing a quick press review, we discover that the invisible camera on board this ZTE Axon 20 5G looks very promising, but that it is not yet quite developed.

In other words, this technology that augurs well for screens that fully occupy the front surface of our smartphones seems to deserve a few more weeks, months or years of maturation before being really relevant. This ZTE Axon 20 5G reminds us above all that it is never very wise to rush innovation.

A poorly camouflaged front camera

However, let’s start by looking at the first feedback from the Tech press on the smartphone. While most testers evoke a decent display quality for the large 6.2-inch screen, all point to a largely perfectible integration of the front photo sensor which remains, despite ZTE’s efforts, clearly visible.

« However, once powered on, we can clearly see a difference in the arrangement of the pixels, especially on lighter backgrounds.», Writes thus GSMArena . Same story on the American version Tom’s Guide which explains that ” if you go to a completely white web page, it’s pretty ugly ».

ZTE Axon 20 5G under screen camera

The camera under the screen of the ZTE Axon 20 5G is poorly hidden on light backgrounds // Gamesdone: GSMArena

Highlighting an unpleasant tremor effect on the part of the panel covering the camera, the journalist from The Vergemince words even less:

I would just say I think it’s worse than a notch.

« It shows how young the technology is », Analysis XDA Developers . Beyond that, several media regret that the chin of the ZTE Axon 20 5G is quite thick, which obviously reduces the interest of having a sensor under the screen to enlarge the display area.

Poor quality of selfies

Logically, the quality of the selfies is also getting attention. ” The first underscreen selfie camera is not very good », Title The Verge before explaining in the following line that ” ZTE’s Axon 20 5G is a better phone if you don’t care about selfies ».

Supporting evidence, the tester compares the photos captured by the 32-megapixel front sensor of the Axon 20 to those of the Pixel 5 under the same conditions. The difference is striking.

[imagecomp image1= »https://images.frandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/pxl_20201220_061252091.jpg » image2= »https://images.frandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/img_20201220_151302.jpg » left= »Selfie Pixel 5 (The Verge) » right= »Selfie Axon 20 (The Verge) »]

By day, the colors are sorely lacking in contrast and enhancement on the selfie of the ZTE Axon 20. The exposure is poorly managed and the sharpness is not there. The Vergefeels compelled to clarify that portrait mode and beauty effects were turned off.

The same goes for the night photos: there is too little detail in the image and digital noise is omnipresent.

[imagecomp image1= »https://images.frandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/pxl_20201220_112839040.jpg » image2= »https://images.frandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/img_20201220_202834.jpg » left= »Selfie Pixel 5 (The Verge) » right= »Selfie Axon 20 (The Verge) »]

Tom’s Guide is a little more nuanced in its review, but makes it very clear that selfies taken with the ZTE Axon 20 suffer when compared to other smartphones.

In the example below, taken with portrait mode activated on both sides, the image offered by ZTE’s device is too smooth, less natural.

[imagecomp image1= »https://images.frandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/dmucfwnefsk57k6374fszg.jpg » image2= »https://images.frandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/6hhjkdn8nxplpvqa3b7noq.jpg » left= »Portrait Pixel 4a 5G (Tom’s Guide) » right= »Portrait Axon 20 (Tom’s Guide) »]

Tom’s Guide also indicates awkward exposure often creating excess brightness in images. GSMArena , for his part, goes into less detail, but clearly explains that he is not yet convinced by the selfies and speaks of ” strange hazy / shiny texture ».

« All the photos are equally bad », TackleXDA Developersto drive the nail.

The art of balancing compromises

The first feedback on the ZTE Axon 20 5G clearly indicates that the quality of the selfies offered by the phone is not up to what a user is entitled to expect in 2020 and soon 2021.

ZTE Axon 20 5G

The ZTE Axon 20 5G is the first smartphone with a camera under the screen // Gamesdone: ZTE

However, it should be remembered that technological innovations are supposed improve the daily life of consumers. Of course, sometimes an innovative product requires a few compromises to be truly appreciated.

We thus think ofnotchimposing iPhone. It is indeed unsightly and a little disabling for the immersion in the screen, but in return, Apple provides a very successful and secure 3D facial recognition system.

Apple iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 et iPhone 12 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Max // Gamesdone: Arnaud Gelineau for Frandroid

The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is also a good example. This device weighs heavy and is pretty darn thick when folded up. But it is currently the most successful folding smartphone and it clearly paves the way for new uses, offering as a bonus a pleasant comfort of use when unfolded.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 // Gamesdone: Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

In these two cases, the compromises remain very reasonable with regard to the innovation brought by the brand. Unfortunately, what emerges from the grip of the ZTE Axon 20 5G is that the technological prowess accomplished here is spoiled by too many flaws.

The selfie camera is not very well camouflaged under the screen, the panel is not reallyborderlessand the quality of the photos is not good. In conclusion: ZTE’s innovation in the smartphone market brings more concerns than solutions. The scales are not on the right side.

The moral of the story

We can bet that the brand will succeed in rectifying the situation on a future iteration and that other players will soon offer well-rounded camera solutions under the screen. Oppo in particular is actively working on it and Xiaomi is also keen on this innovation.

Let us simply take advantage of this ZTE Axon 20 5G to recall that history does not remember so much the first manufacturer to have introduced a new technology on a market as of the first manufacturer to have really mastered or democratized this same technology. After all, Jean de la Fontaine said it well inThe bunny and the turtle: « there is no point running ; we must leave on time ».

Sources of this press review:

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