Favorite Smartphone Camera Design

Which of these unusual smartphone front cameras designs do you like the most?

Vivo Nex: Pop-up camera

Cons: no facial recognition and could wear out over time, but no bezel and no notch. Hidden until you need it. Having it inside could act as a privacy cover.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3: Slider camera

Cons: mechanical parts might fail over time. Good selfies, facial recognition.

Samsung Galaxy A80: Pop-up and rotate camera

Cons: Added complexity, mechanical failure could occur, but takes great selfies as the rear camera rotates to the front.

Asus Zenphone 6: Rotate/Flip up camera

Cons: Largest range of motion, mechanical failure could occur, and could become damaged. Similar to the one before, but the whole thing rotates. Angle of rotation could be controlled.

Oppo Reno: Shark fin camera

Cons: Takes time to get used to this unusual design, mechanical parts could fail over time. More efficient design for a pop-up camera.

ZTE Axon 20: Under-display camera

Cons: Privacy issues could occur, as you don’t know if the camera is on. No moving parts. AI can be used to overcome degradation of image quality. No bezel, notch, or any gimmicky motorized cameras.

Vivo Z1/Z5x: Hole Punch camera

Cons: No facial recognition, a tiny hole is in the display. But, no bezel.

Oppo R17: Waterdrop camera

Basically the same as the hole-punch.

iPhone 11: Notch camera

Similar to a bezel, but allows the corners of the display to touch the edge. Allows for facial recognition, an advantage over the hole-punch.

Sony Experia 5 II: Small bezels

Allows for several small front cameras, stereo speakers, and wireless charging.


Nubia Z20: Dual Displays

Two displays, one on the front that is completely bezel-free with no front camera. Flip the phone over and a slightly smaller OLED display can be used for high quality selfies at different focal lengths or displaying other information. However, this design probably doesn’t allow for wireless charging.

Which design do you like the most?

  • Vivo Nex: Pop-Up
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 3: Slider
  • Samsung Galaxy A80: Pop-up and Swivel
  • Asus Zenphone 6: Flip-Up
  • Oppo Reno: Shark Fin
  • ZTE Axon 20: Under-Display
  • Vivo Z1: Hole Punch
  • Oppo R17 Neo: Waterdrop
  • iPhone 11: Notch
  • Sony Experia 5 II: Small Bezels
  • Nubia Z20: Dual Displays

0 voters


I worry that any kind of camera that relies on some kind of mechanical device is likely to fail pretty easily or at least fail a lot sooner then a fixed camera. Not to mention the chance that the wires get worn out with the repeated motions of the camera moving over time.

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Honestly, I hate all of them. Put a small OLED screen on the back and call it a day


Some of these are really cool, but seem too gimmicky. A lot of these pop-up or rotating camera modules are tested 100s of thousands of times of opening and closing, and should last for 5+ years, longer than most people keep their phones. One thing I do like about them though, is giving a bezel-less display without the huge privacy concern, because they’re hidden until you want to use it. This is why an under-display camera could be a privacy nightmare. One of my favorite designs is the slider (Mi Mix 3) and pop-up and rotating camera (Samsung A80) because you can use the best camera for the front. A hidden second screen on the back is probably the best solution.

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Considering how little I use the front camera anyway, I’m satisfied with the pop-up camera on my Mi 9T for now, although I can imagine it wearing out in a couple years or so. The under display technology that Xiaomi demoed and said that is coming in 2021 looks super great, I just hope it won’t be too noticeable, I wouldn’t sacrifice display quality for a hidden camera personally. Waiting for some reviews of the Axon 20.

If you really care about privacy, the problem isn’t the camera but the multiple mic all around the phone.

As with any feature poll, to answer the question one should take into account the cost of each feature. In my opinion, more information about the approximate cost of each solution should be provided.

Ignoring the cost, I am sure most people would prefer under-display camera if the photograph quality is not affected.

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I don’t want a front camera that’s always there/on. I don’t really care about selfies or facial recognition. I use my main camera on my S10 if I need to take a selfie for some reason. The ultra wide camera gets a more useful picture that shows more background.

I think all the pop up options have merit but voted for the flip for 2 reasons. I like the idea of less camera parts to offset the cost of including the flip up design. Secondly, the flip design offers more angles for using the flashlight.

@rcm024 has a good point. A small screen on the back of the phone would work well. I’d be fine with a simple shutter button though. I don’t need to preview a selfie.


Even with the same quality of the back camera, zenfone 6 (and probably 7 with the results of the first review) can’t reach flagship selfie camera, also the choice of the focal is a little bit complicated: ultra wide (14mm) is great for capturing all around you and tele (50mm) can be better if you only want your face on the photo.

Also I have quickly made an example for the choice of the focal (my arms are extended)

standard selfie camera (probably 24 or 26mm)

x2 digital zoom

ultrawide x0.6 back camera

and now superimposed

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Personally would be okay with no front facing camera


You’d want a screen in case you make a video call

I hadn’t thought about video calls. That makes me really want the flip camera more than a screen on back tho. Trying to make a video call using a tiny screen would be rough if you needed to mute your mic or something. The flip camera would still give you access to the full usability of your screen.


Personally my vote would be for just no front facing camera. I don’t use it, and so I’d rather see the resources spent elsewhere.

I have a Mi Mix 3, and while the sliding screen is a nice party trick, it’s not really much more. But it’s what I had to go for at the time for the aestetic.


While having no front camera at all would be ok, I still think that in 2020, a front camera is important for some applications, so it is necessary to have but it doesn’t need to be as good as the rear cameras. Also, any motorized pop-up mechanism will add complexity, take up time and space, and moving parts are more likely to break.

There are five options really, a bezel, a notch, a punch hole, a rear display, and an under-display camera. The former first three are looking dated, and a rear display would be too small, could make it more fragile, and wouldn’t allow for wireless charging.

in my opinion an under-display front camera is the best option: It allows for a completely bezel-less display, there is a selfie camera for when you need it, there are no moving parts, good enough quality for video calls or selfies with AI, and you can use the whole display. A privacy switch also solves the problem of spying.

Ya, the privacy switch is a good idea. Eliminating notches and punch holes would be nice.

You still don’t know for sure that it does what it says tho…just thinking of people who are ultra concerned with privacy.

Privacy is probably the most important side of the phone, that not only concern the phone itself but also our life.

Privacy switch can also control GNSS, that should be useful to prevent geolocalisation.

And for selfie camera, an under display seem to be the best solution, that not provide the best quality but that still efficient for video call and selfies.

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I’ve voted for a (small) bezel. This is to me the most economic (cheap) choice whilst retaining good quality cameras. Having bezels is not a sin despite what reviews make out. Symmetry and function are more important. Eg having great stereo forward facing speakers plus somewhere to put your hands to avoid accidental touches are good selling features. Something like the old Galaxy S9 and current Sony phones are absolutely fine.


Update: I added a couple more smartphone designs. New community poll. Vote on which design is best! Note: no folding phone designs are included. Most are all based on existing slab-style smartphones, and have a bezel-less look but can still take selfies.

Do you need to be able to take selfies? Do you need the camera to be high quality with different lenses? Would you prefer not seeing the camera? What about privacy, would you want it covered up? Do you need wireless charging?

Which design do you think would be the perfect phone for you?