10 Best Phones With Motorized or Pop-Up Cameras

Smartphone manufacturers are pursuing real bezel-less phones over the past years. But the front selfie camera is a big problem. How would one achieve a full-screen design without compromising the front-facing camera? From the iPhone X notch to the water-drop notch to hole-punch camera displays, now it seems that a pop-up selfie camera is the answer. Smartphone giants such as Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, OnePlus, Vivo, and OPPO, have all rolled out awesome pop-up camera phones in 2019.

SEE ALSO: Best Camera Phones in 2019 for Every Need and Budget

How does a pop-up camera work?

Pop-up cameras work exactly as it sounds. It sits as a separate component inside the smartphone body and pops out mechanically when you activate it.

pop-up selfie camera phone
pop-up selfie camera phone

Pros and Cons of pop-up selfie cameras


  • Full bezel-less display without notches
  • Impressive and more immersive viewing experience


  • Susceptible to damage
  • Easily attracts dirt and dust particles
  • Not water resistant

OPPO FIND X — high-end flagship phone

  • Display: 6.42-inch
  • Screen-to-body Ratio: 93.8%
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • Battery: 3,400mAh
  • Camera: 16MP+20MP primary dual camera, and 25MP selfie shooter
  • Launch date: June 30, 2018

OPPO Find X is perhaps the first flagship smartphone to be boasted as having a “full screen”. As early as June 19 of 2018, it was released in Louvre in Paris with an impressive screen-to-body ratio of 93.8 percent, due to the “never-seen-before” slider design and curved display. The front of the slider hides the infrared (IR) LED light, IR camera, depth sensor, earpiece, front camera, and the dot projector for facial recognition. To protect the slider in case of a drop, the phone comes equipped with a self-retracting mechanism that closes the slider when a drop is detected to protect it.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 — magnetic sliding front camera

  • Display: 6.39-inch
  • Screen-to-body Ratio: 93.4%
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • Battery: 3,200mAh
  • Camera: 12MP+12MP primary dual camera setup, 24MP+2MP dual selfie shooter
  • Launch date: August 30, 2018
MIX 3 Smartphone
Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 Smartphone with magnetic sliding front camera (source: Xiaomi)

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 sports a nearly bezel-less display with a magnetic sliding front camera setup, achieving a screen-to-body ratio of 93.4 percent, one step further compared with the “three-side bezel-less” screen of Mi MIX 2. The magnet is made up of neodymium, with a life expectancy of over 300,000 activations. Its manual slider is like that of Huawei’s Honor Magic 2, but the difference is that the Mi Mix 3 bears both the front and rear cameras on the slider.

Xiaomi is one of the earliest smartphone manufacturers to put a selfie camera on the bottom bezel for its Mix-series phones and hides the front camera behind the display.

Honor Magic 2 — slider mechanism for selfie camera

  • Display: 6.39-inch
  • Screen-to-body Ratio: 91.5%
  • Processor: Kirin 980
  • Battery: 3,500mAh
  • Camera: 16MP+16MP+24MP primary triple camera setup, 16MP+2MP+2MP triple selfie shooter
  • Launch date: August 30, 2018
Honor Magic 2 — slider mechanism for selfie camera
Honor Magic 2 — slider mechanism for selfie camera (source: hihonor)

Honor, a sub-brand of Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei, has also released a phone featuring a sliding mechanism much like that of the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, the Honor Magic 2. On its slider mechanism there is an impressive triple camera setup behind the bezel-less display, along with the front facing sensors, earpiece, and sensors for Honor’s 3D face recognition technology for faster and more secure face unlock capabilities. The Magic 2 has the same cutout for the earpiece right above the display as Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, however, the device doesn’t automatically open up the front facing camera upon opening the slider.

Lenovo Z5 Pro — a budget slider camera phone

  • Display: 6.39-inch
  • Screen-to-body Ratio: 95%
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 710
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Camera: 24MP+16MP main camera, 16MP+8MP selfie camera
  • Launch date: November 2, 2018

Lenovo has also joined the slider camera club with the Z5 Pro. The Z5 Pro targets the mid-range phone market with the best mid-range processor Snapdragon 710, and a premium sliding design similar to the Mi Mix 3 and Honor Magic 2. The sliding screen mechanism housing the dual-lens selfie camera allows the phone to offer a full-screen display without punch-holes or notches, and achieves a 95 percent screen-to-body ratio. The Z5 Pro also supports an in-display fingerprint sensor, which remains a relatively rare feature even among flagships.

Samsung Galaxy A80 — pop-up rotating camera

  • Display: 6.7-inch
  • Screen to body: 86%
  • Processor: Snapdragon 730
  • Battery: 3700 mAh
  • Camera: 48MP main camera, 8MP ultra-wide camera, and 3D depth camera
  • Launch date: April 2019
Galaxy A80 with pop-up rotating camera
Galaxy A80 with pop-up rotating camera (source: samsung)

Samsung’s mid-range Galaxy A80 is the first Galaxy smartphone with an all-screen design achieved using a very innovative camera system. It has a triple rear-camera (including a 48-megapixel camera, an ultra-wide eight-megapixel camera, and a 3D depth camera) setup on a horizontal bar, which can automatically slide up and rotate to become a selfie camera. Unlike the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 and the Honor Magic 2’s pop-up setup, Samsung rotates the rear-mounted camera system. However, the slide and rotate mechanism cannot be used for facial-recognition unlocking, so users can only use the in-screen fingerprint reader.

Asus Zenfone 6 — flip camera

  • Display: 6.4-inch
  • Screen-to-body Ratio: 92%
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Camera: 48MP + 13MP flip camera
  • Launch date: May 17 2019
Asus Zenfone 6 — flip camera smartphone
Asus Zenfone 6 — flip camera smartphone (source: ASUS)

Asus ZenFone 6 is ASUS‘ first smartphone with a rotating ‘flip’ camera for reducing bezels and an all-screen front. It sports a dual camera module that resides on the back in its default position, and rotates forward when taking selfies. This design is much like the rotating camera of Samsung Galaxy A80, but ASUS’ implementation is relatively simple. The motorized dual-camera setup present on the phone back simply rotates vertically to face the user of the phone. Also, ASUS allows the ZenFone 6 users to control the amount of rotation, so the users can stop the rotation midway to take photos at interesting angles. With an affordable price, the phone is set to compete against the recently launched OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 7 in the markets.

Oppo Reno 10X Zoom Edition — shark-fin Camera

  • Display: 6.6-inch
  • Screen-to-body Ratio: 93.1%
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
  • Battery: 4,065mAh
  • Camera: 48MP+8MP+13MP main triple camera, 16MP pop-up selfie
  • Launch date: April 10 2019

OPPO’s new production line OPPO Reno released its OPPO Reno series smartphones. The new OPPO phones are notchless and feature a peculiar wedge-shaped module, like a shark fin, housing the camera, earpiece, front soft light and the rear LED flash. OPPO claimed that the fin can open and close 200,000 times, which is equivalent to opening it 100 times a day for five years. The camera retracts by itself to avoid damage if it drops. Thanks to the notch-less design, the phone has an impressive 93.1 percent screen-to-body ratio.

Vivo NEX — ultra full-view display

  • Display: 6.59-inch
  • Screen-to-body Ratio: 91.24% (Narrow bezels: 1.71mm)
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Camera: 12MP+5MP primary dual camera setup, 8MP pop-up selfie
  • Launch date: June 2018
vivo NEX Ultra FullView™ Display smartphone
vivo NEX Ultra FullView™ Display smartphone (source: vivo)

“Say goodbye to the notch… and say hello to an Ultra FullView™ Display for the ultimate viewing experience.” To realize an ultra-full viewing experience, Vivo designed the vivo NEX, the front selfie camera is hidden behind the display instead of in the common water-drop notch. When taking selfies, it elevates in just 1 second, then retracts automatically when you’re done.

OnePlus 7 Pro — PREMIUM PHONE with pop-up camera

  • Display: 6.67-inch
  • Screen to body: 93%
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Camera: 48MP+8MP+16MP primary triple camera, 16MP pop-up selfie shooter
  • Launch date: May 2019

OnePlus, a Shenzhen-based Chinese smartphone manufacturer, had unveiled its newest flagship OnePlus 7 Pro in May 2019. What impressed users most may be the pop-up camera and extremely high pixel density screen (516 ppi) with a high refresh rate of 90Hz.

The OnePlus 7 Pro delivers a fluid viewing experience that makes everything you do faster and smoother. The entirely notch-free and curved display offers a higher screen-to-body ratio for a more immersive viewing experience while playing a game, watching a movie or browsing web pages. For the pop-up camera, OnePlus claimed that the 7 Pro can withstand 300,000 cycles of activations or over 400 times a day for 2 years. It also auto-retracts if it detects sudden movements like a drop, and issues a pop-up warning if you try to push it in manually. So, it’s not that easy to wear out or break.

Redmi K20 Pro — budget pop up camera phone

  • Display: 6.39-inch
  • Screen-to-body Ratio: 91.9%
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Camera: 48MP+13MP+8MP primary triple-camera setup, 20 MP pop-up selfie
  • Launch date: May 28, 2019

Redmi, one of Xiaomi’s sub-brand, has released budget-friendly phones to address the demand of mid- to low-end smartphone markets. On May 28 in China, it released its first flagship device, the Redmi K20 Pro. By digging into a good chunk of space inside the phone, the K20 Pro also features a capable pop-up camera module (with LED lights) to address the growing demand of notch removal. And the pop-up module has a self-retracting mechanism that allows the module to quickly retreat whenever the phone detects that it’s in a state of free-fall.