ZTE puts cameras in focus for flagship Axon 40 Ultra launch
Back in 2020, China's ZTE tried to wave goodbye to notches and punch-holes with the first under-display selfiecam in the Axon 20 5G smartphone. Now a much-improved third generation of the technology has debuted in a flagship Ultra model.
Initially launched in China, the pixel density around the under-display camera (UDC) of the Axon 40 Ultra smartphone now stands at 400 pixels per inch, with the upgraded chip now featuring the company's latest MRC algorithm, intelligent pixel enhancement and intelligent display optimization technology.
The camera itself is a 16-MP module with large 2.24-µm pixels for "greater light sensitivity for the UDC area" and an AI selfie algorithm that automatically adjusts settings for different lighting situations to reduce noise and glare. ZTE has also included a "Smart Makeup" feature to beautify facial shots.
Meanwhile the whole screen has been configured so that each pixel is driven by its own circuit with transparent wiring, which is reported to result in improved clarity for the 6.8-inch AMOLED display at 1,116 x 2,480 resolution. Refresh rates up to 120 Hz can be had for smooth onscreen action, and 360-Hz touch sampling makes for snappy input response.
The screen can also manage 1,500 nits of peak brightness, has a 10-bit color depth with support for 100 percent of the cinematic DCI-P3 color space, and sports 1,440-Hz pulse-width modulation dimming to reduce screen flicker when viewing dark scenes in movies and games.
The handset's processing powerhouse comes courtesy of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 mobile platform, supported by UFS 3.1 storage and LPDDR5 RAM. Liquid-cooling technology keeps the smartphone performing at its best during heavy usage, with nine-layer heat dissipation, dual-channel vaporizer and graphene-based phase-change nano cavity.
There's a triple camera array around back rocking a 64-MP main, 64-MP ultra-wide and 64-MP periscope telephoto. ZTE refers to the main module as the "humanity camera" and it employs a Sony IMX787 image sensors for fast dual-pixel omnidirectional focusing, boasts optical image stabilization, features a seven-element lens with f/1.6 aperture for the promise of impressive bokeh and offers the equivalent of a 35-mm focal length.
The ultra-wide also makes use of Sony's IMX787 sensor, but has a 16-mm equiv lens incorporating a 4-cm AF macro. There's no mention of the sensor used for the remaining camera unit, but it's fronted by a 91-mm equiv lens with 5.7x optical zoom and hybrid optical/electronic image stabilization for smooth run and gun shooting.
ZTE is also boasting that the Axon 40 Ultra is the only smartphone available that supports 8K video recording with all three cameras, can capture objects in motion via its adaptive shutter algorithm and supports preset focusing for time-saving potential. And the AI algorithm at the heart of the super night scene video feature can "improve the brightness of the picture, enhance the resolution when shooting videos is dark areas, reduce noise, and truly restore color information."
Elsewhere, the smartphone comes with dual DTS speakers, a X-axis linear motor providing haptic feedback, and the unit's 5,000-mAh battery supports 65-W fast charging.
The Axon 40 Ultra is reported available in China, with the 8-GB/256-GB model priced at ¥4,998 (around US$740) and the 12-GB/256-GB handset coming in at ¥5,298 (~$785). The smartphone is expected to be offered globally from June.