Samsung just unveiled its first under-display camera — but not for phones

Samsung UPC under-display camera
(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung just showed off an under-display camera, but it's not for a phone like we were hoping.

A new video from the company has debuted an under-display "invisible camera" sensor for laptop screens, as well as new ultra-thin "Blade bezels" surrounding it.

The original video comes from Samsung Display's Weibo account, but was later published on Twitter by leaker Ice Universe. Twitter user Fold Universe replied to IU's thread with an English version of this video, if you want to see what all the dynamic text is saying.

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As the video's graphics show, the UPC (under panel camera) is located at the top of the laptop's display as normal, but with the display covering the opening. The pixels over this part of this display will switch off whenever you're trying to take a photo or record video. 

There are several other benefits to Samsung's display mentioned in the video, including thinner and lighter construction and a higher screen-to-body ratio. 

Samsung UPC under-display camera

(Image credit: Samsung)

We've seen similar technology in action on the ZTE Axon 20 5G,  and it's a very clever system. The fact you don't see the camera unless you need it works wonders for immersing yourself in movies or games.

It's been rumored for some time that Samsung has been close to introducing this feature on its own flagship phones. This was first suggested for the Galaxy Z Fold 2, which then launched with a normal punch hole notch. The Galaxy S21 was also briefly thought to use an under-display camera, but the number of leaks saying otherwise means that's a definite no.

Samsung UPC under-display camera

(Image credit: Samsung)

The first Samsung phone to debut an under-display camera like this one could be the Galaxy Z Fold 3 or Galaxy Note 21, both assumed to be launching in Fall 2021. The fact that Samsung is publicizing its under-display camera technology, even if not specifically for phones, makes this seem more likely.

For now, though, bringing this technology to Samsung laptops could provide a much-needed shot in the arm. Despite making a decent variety of notebooks, Samsung's best product, the Galaxy Book Flex, is still way down our best laptops list compared to devices from Apple and Dell. A new flagship featuring this UPC tech could just turn that around.

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.