Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 will get under-display camera — but so will its rivals

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 review rear camera selfie
(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is tipped to get an under-display camera, but this cool new tech may not be as much of a novelty as we first thought.

We know this thanks to perennial leaker Ice Universe. They describe the second half of this year as "when the Under Display Camera officially debuts." Many of the top Android manufacturers, aside from Samsung, are apparently planning to launch phones with this feature.

Samsung announced it was working on UPC (under-panel camera) tech for laptops earlier this year. Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo have all made concepts or patents which implement under-display cameras on its phones too. 

Xiaomi's Mi Mix 4, one of the phones mentioned by name in Ice Universe's tweet, will be particularly interesting. The company already makes excellent flagship phones like the Xiaomi Mi 11, and has just produced its first foldable with the Xiaomi Mi Mix 4. Of all the companies poised to introduce under-display cameras, Xiaomi seems like the most dangerous rival for Samsung.

ZTE is also worth keeping an eye on. The first example of an under-display camera we had was the ZTE Axon 20 5G. Its hardware was quite impressive, but the image quality that camera produced was less so. Therefore the next generation of this phone will hopefully have made some major upgrades compared to the Axon 20.

While foldable phones are impressive devices, not one has made it to our best Android phones list yet. It's because they're simply not as practical as standard smartphones for a number of reasons, including price, hardware quality and durability. Under-display cameras likely won't be a cure-all for this, but are a sign of the continuing evolution of this new form factor. Plus, it's likely we'll see these cameras appear on more regular phones in the near future as the technology becomes more affordable and refined. 

With Samsung coming on the third generation of the Z Fold, and the second generation of the Galaxy Z Flip, it's got the foldables market sewn up well. However, there are potential rivals on the way such as the rumored iPhone Flip and Google Pixel Fold. Plus, with existing foldables currently barred from the U.S., such as the Mi Mix Fold or the Huawei Mate X2, are allowed in, that'll be even more competition that should, in theory, drive future foldables to new heights.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.