Xiaomi launched the new Mi Mix 4 earlier this week, which also happens to be its first ever smartphone to feature an under-display camera. Although the technology is considered to be the phone’s main draw, company senior vice president Lu Weibing insisted that the focus of the new handset is not its hidden camera, but its display.
Lu explained on his Weibo page that Xiaomi’s biggest achievement with the Mi Mix 4 is actually its new display technology, known as Camera Under Panel (CUP), which managed to render the phone’s selfie camera to be virtually invisible. This enables it to present a seamless high quality 400ppi full-screen experience, unlike most of its competitors that have also debuted their own under-display camera technology.
The vice president’s decision to release the statement is surprising yet honest, and it also goes to show that Xiaomi is indeed aware that current under-display camera technology has yet to achieve the desired quality of regular front-facing shooters. In the same post, Lu even urged fans and customers to instead opt for the brand’s existing smartphones with in-display or notch mounted cameras if they desire a better selfie experience.
It certainly is bizarre for a smartphone brand to celebrate the display aspect from the overall under-display camera technology rather than the imaging system itself, but this is somewhat expected from Xiaomi’s Mi Mix devices. Since 2016, the brand has implied that the product line is intended to be “concept devices that users can buy” – with the more notable releases being the wraparound display-equipped Mi Mix Alpha and the more practical Mi Mix 3 series, which features a magnetic slider body to hide its front-facing cameras.
Regardless, it is very likely that Xiaomi will carry over its new CUP technology to future smartphones. Hopefully, tagging along with it will be an improved imaging system that could potentially rival regular selfie cameras.