ZTE's Axon 20 5G is the first smartphone with an under-display camera

Axon 20 5g Blue
Axon 20 5g Blue (Image credit: ZTE)

What you need to know

  • ZTE today launched the Axon 20 5G, the first smartphone with an under-display camera.
  • ZTE also hails the Axon 20 as having a display that reaches the "color standard of professional, digital cinema screens."
  • The Axon 20 5G goes on sale on ZTE's e-commerce channels in China for the equivalent of $323.

ZTE today announced the Axon 20 5G, an affordable flagship for China. It's also one of the first phones that'll feature a "true" full-screen display. On this 6.92-inch FHD+ display, you'll find neither notch nor hole punch. There are also no pop-up cameras or shark fins or anything like that. ZTE has created an under-display selfie camera that's invisible to the naked eye. Effectively, you get 100% of the display to use 100% of the time. Xiaomi and Oppo had been working on debuting their own smartphones featuring this technology, but ZTE has beaten them to the punch.

ZTE also points out another display milestone, it says that the Axon 20 5G "supports 10-bit color depth and 100% coverage of DCI-P3 color gamut, reaching the color standard of professional, digital cinema screens." In other words, the star of this phone is undeniable its display.

Other than that, the hardware is pretty much what you'd expect for a 2020 affordable flagship. You'll find Qualcomm's Snapdragon 765onboard (and 5G, naturally). Expected to power the Pixel 5 and already powering handsets like the LG Velvet and OnePlus Nord, the 765 is the SoC of choice for many Android OEMs who want to push good-enough power without paying a high-price.

The Azon 5 will come with a 3D textured glass rear, equipped in four colors: blue, black, purple, and orange. ZTE has some lofty and realistic ambitions for their pretty colors, saying "aims to encourage young people to explore more possibilities of technology by artistically representing the great contributions made by four well-known scientists to mankind." No, most people are expected to throw this in a case after admiring how good it looks, but they do get props for trying.

It'll support a quad-camera layout that'll be competent for both photos and videos alike. ZTE is mainly highlighting video here, pointing out that the 64MP main camera supports 4K 60fps, night mode, and real-time HDR video in variable lighting. It also notes that OIS is onboard for both the main and ultra-wide angle camera.

The Axon 20 5G is a technically impressive phone, but it's unlikely to be sold in the U.S. You'll need to import it from a gray market retailer if it catches your fancy. Otherwise, the phone will go on sale in China at ZTE's e-commerce channels for 2,198 RMB ($322). That's for the version with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, with the 8GB/128GB model debuting at 2,498 RMB ($366), and the 8GB/256GB version for 2,798 RMB ($410).

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Michael Allison