The pop-up camera may save us from the notch

Like it or not, it seems like there’s no escaping the notch. Essential, Apple, LG, OnePlus, Huawei, Asus, Xiaomi, Vivo and other smartphone manufacturers have built devices with notches already; and then there’s the upcoming Pixel 3 XL which has been shown in multiple leaks with one of the largest notches we’ve seen.

Many of you could care less about the notch. While it doesn’t look great, it allows manufacturers to squeeze in more screen real-estate on a phone while still leaving room for a front-facing camera, speaker and other sensors that are packed into the devices that we use. But rather than accepting the notch and calling it a day, two smartphone makers have come up with an idea which could make the notch a thing of the past.

The Vivo NEX was the first bezel-less smartphone with a pop-up camera. The device was unveiled a little over a week ago, featuring all the high-end specs you’d expect from a flagship device. The pop-up mechanism for the front-facing camera is pretty small and simple, allowing you to choose between a few different pre-set sounds when the camera pops out of the phone’s body.

The second device, the Oppo Find X sports an astounding 93.8% screen-to-body ratio and has a more sophisticated pop-up camera system. Rather than having a small pop-up mechanism which only houses the front-facing camera, the whole top of the Find X pops up to reveal the front-facing camera and the dual-camera array on the back of the phone. Along with the camera, the pop-up also houses a flood illuminator, infrared camera, proximity sensor and dot projector on the front which enable a face-unlock system which rivals that of the iPhone X.

Many of you seem to be excited about these two phones, but some are questioning their durability. For years, manufacturers have been reducing the number of moving parts in our smartphones. Moving parts are typically limited to the vibration motor, autofocus lens, and buttons. Adding a small motor and a section of the phone which protrudes from the body of the smartphone sounds like a recipe for disaster. Oppo and Vivo claim that the camera protrusions and their motors can withstand the force of a drop, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the mechanisms stopped working as intended long before you’re ready to retire the phone — especially the Oppo Find X since the pop-up camera is activated every time you use Face Unlock.

There’s a good chance that you’ll never own the Oppo Find X or the Vivo NEX, but these two devices will likely shape the future of the non-notched smartphone. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but it’s exciting to see that some manufacturers are not satisfied with using the notch and calling it a day.

Would you rather have a smartphone with a notch or a truly bezel-less smartphone with a pop-up camera?

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About The Author
Nick Gray
Nick's fascination with technology started in the 90's when the first MINI Disc player came to market. His upbringing was pretty low-tech, but that changed once he got to college and started building his own PCs. But once HTC's first smartphones came around, he was hooked. Since then, Nick started his own blog (htcsource.com) and has also written for a handful of well-known tech news sites around the web. His personal tech reviews can be found on his High Tech Traveler YouTube channel.
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