We talk a lot about phone cameras, but these conversations usually revolve around the rear camera. I want to turn things around and talk about the humble forward-facing camera today ̵1; more specifically the hole punch camera (sometimes also called a punch screen). Of all the different types of selfie cameras on the market today, I think this one is the best. Here’s why.
More screen, no notch
Apple first introduced the screen hack with the iPhone X, which served a practical purpose. The hack contains all the sensors and depth scanners required for Face ID – so it’s more about utility than aesthetics.
But then something strange happened: Other manufacturers copied this feature without good reason. The notch was found on other phones without any secure face scanning technology. (I’m looking at you, Pixel 3 XL.) They did it to look.
But the notch is ugly, and it’s even worse to add it to a phone just for the look. Some manufacturers decided on a less intrusive “teardrop” notch, which is slightly better but still not good as it creates a divot in the middle of the notification area on most phones. This is the same problem with the centered punch camera – which is still better than a notch but not quite as good as the offset punch.
If a phone does not need a notch (due to face scanning technology), it is the right way to set the camera aside. With a hole punch camera, you get more screen for the size of the phone, minimized obstacles at the top of the screen and an overall cleaner experience.
The only type of forward-facing camera that is less intrusive than punching is the pop-up camera, but it was only seen on a few phones (like the OnePlus 7 Pro). In addition, it has a greater risk of failure (more moving parts) and costs more to manufacture.
They are small and out of the way
If a phone does not have a notch, the second most common placement of a front camera is in the frame. It is a good place to place a camera because it is just an open area where nothing else happens. But with a hole punch camera, you can avoid the cut and upper frame.
So you get a higher screen-to-body ratio with a hole punch camera. This means that the phone can have a total smaller footprint with a larger screen (compared to a phone with an upper frame). You only get a small clean little hole in the upper corner. I actually think it looks really good!
They actually offer some tools
Look at your current smartphone’s camera. What does it do when you are not using it? Nothing. It’s just sitting there. But with a perforated camera, you can actually add some tools to it.
For example, you can use something like the Energy Ring to add a battery meter around the camera punch. You can then use something like the System UI Tuner on Pixel phones to hide the battery icon, making the entire status bar cleaner.
Of course, this is really the only extra tool you can add to a percussion camera. But that’s not all you can do about it.
And they’re pretty funny
One of the more interesting things you can do with a hole punch camera is to use a wallpaper that effectively hides the camera by mixing it with the wallpaper. It is fun.
Each wallpaper must be uniquely designed to match a specific phone, as percussion cameras are available in a variety of locations, but fortunately there are apps available in the Play Store that make it easy. Google even came up with the fun of the Pixel 4a and included some pretty decent ones out of the box.
The best phones with punched cameras
Okay, so now that we’ve discussed why punch cameras are bees’ knees, let’s talk about some of the best phones on stage right now that have punch.
Budget Champs: Pixel 4a and Galaxy A71
If you’re looking for a budget phone that has one stroke and has our favorite camera set on the front, look no further than Google Pixel 4a and Samsung Galaxy A71.
4a got a perfect 10/10 in our review, which makes it one of the best budget phones you can buy today. But if you’re more of a Samsung fan, the A71 is hard to beat. There is also a 5G version available, but it is quite a bit more expensive than its 4G counterpart.
Google Pixel 4a
Samsung Galaxy A71
Center-Punch Powerhouse: Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Note 20
If you like the flagship market, it’s hard to ignore the Galaxy S20 and Note 20 families. They both have power pack phones ranging from $ 800 to $ 1450, depending on what you’re looking for. And even if they do not have the favorable punch camera, they both have a centered punch.
Samsung Galaxy S20
Samsung Galaxy Note 20
Lots of Bang for the Buck: OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro
If you’re looking for a flagship phone for not really flagship prices, look no further than the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro. Both phones are packed in the salivary gland (phones have saliva, right?) With advanced specifications including premium hole punches.
OnePlus 8 Pro
OnePlus 8 Pro Onyx Black,? 5G unlocked Android smartphone in the USA, 12 GB RAM + 256 GB storage, 120Hz liquid screen, four-camera, wireless charging, with Alexa built-in
This is the OnePlus flagship device. It has a 120 Hz screen, 12 GB RAM, 256 GB storage, wireless charging and more. It’s a beast.