Samsung Display promises thinner laptop bezels with unproven under-screen webcams  01/14/2021 10:11:36   Jon Porter
The technology makes for smaller bezels, without having to relocate the laptops webcam.
Image: Samsung Display

Samsung Display has released a teaser for its under-screen camera technology meant for laptops, dubbed Samsung Blade Bezel, on its Weibo page. It promises that its UPC (Under Panel Camera) tech can make a laptops bezels smaller without having to relocate its webcam, while also making the OLED display itself be both thinner and lighter. Theres no mention of the impact of the technology on the webcams image quality, however, which has become increasingly important in the age of social distancing.

We saw the first smartphone with an under-display selfie camera release commercially last year. However, the ZTE Axon 20 5Gs implementation of the feature simply wasnt very good. The quality of its selfie camera photos was poor, and the portion of the display that covered the camera suffered from much lower resolution than the rest of the screen.

This isnt the first time weve heard about Samsung Displays under-panel camera plans. Previously, however, attention has focused on its use in smartphones, where manufacturers have obsessed over reducing bezel size in recent years. Back in 2018, Samsung Display mentioned under-display camera technology during a presentation about the future of phone design, and the following year an executive said the technology could be ready for use in smartphones in the next 1-2 years.

Wow ! Samsung Display reveals its under-Display camera technology for the first time, which will be used for OLED notebook screens first

 Ice universe (@UniverseIce) January 14, 2021

Now, it seems, the technology is also headed to laptops, where it could allow for smaller bezels without having to relocate the webcam to below the screen. Thats the approach taken by Huaweis MateBook X Pro which has small screen bezels thanks to a webcam thats built into its keyboard. Unfortunately, this placement means the webcam is directed at you from a very low angle, when ideally you want it to be positioned at eye-level. The Dell XPS 13 has a small bezel thats still big enough for a webcam, but the cameras quality isnt great.

While the technology could make for better-looking laptops, its unlikely to do much for the image quality of built-in webcams themselves which continue to suffer from stubbornly low-quality despite their sudden importance in the age of COVID-19. Ultimately, laptops with better webcams, like the Pixelbook Go or Surface Laptop 3, tend to have larger bezels needed to house beefier imaging components.

Samsung Display provides panels to a variety of different manufacturers. That means we could see Samsung Blade Bezel technology appear in laptops across the industry, rather than being confined to Samsungs own devices. Todays teaser doesnt mention when the first laptop with the technology could release, however.

As for when an under-display camera could appear in Samsungs smartphones, a recent report from The Elec suggested that it might make its debut in the companys third-generation Fold.

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