Home / Tech / The pop-up selfie camera on the OnePlus 7 Pro looks like it's begging to break after a drop, but the smartphone a clever trick to prevent that

The pop-up selfie camera on the OnePlus 7 Pro looks like it's begging to break after a drop, but the smartphone a clever trick to prevent that

OnePlus 7 Pro selfie camera

  • The OnePlus 7 Pro has a pop-up selfie camera that allows the phone to ditch the iPhone-style notch or Samsung-style selfie camera cutout.
  • The only concern I had was that the pop-up selfie camera could break if I dropped the phone.
  • OnePlus says the OnePlus 7 Pro detects when it’s dropped, and automatically retracts the selfie camera if it’s in use.
  • I tested to see if the pop-up selfie camera could retract itself quickly enough when dropped from chest height, which is about five feet for me.
  • The verdict? It retracted most of the way, but not fully.
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One of the most distinguishing features on the new OnePlus 7 Pro smartphone is its pop-up selfie camera that extends out from the top edge of the phone when you want to take a selfie.

It eliminates the need for the phone to have an iPhone-style notch, or the Samsung-style selfie camera cutout, and the result is the OnePlus 7 Pro lets the Android operating system and your apps breathe a little easier on the screen, like they did before notches and cutouts were popularized.

But the question that kept creeping into my mind was: Isn’t this extending camera going to break if I drop it?

OnePlus thought of that, and gave the OnePlus 7 Pro awareness of when it’s experiencing a drop. At that moment, when the OnePlus 7 Pro senses the surely-terrifying experience of being dropped, the phone automatically retracts the camera, like a creature that scampers back into its hiding place. 

I was able to capture the popup selfie camera retracting into its enclosure with a slow-motion camera, check out how it fared:

SEE ALSO: The best smartphone company you’ve never heard of just schooled Apple and Samsung in how to make a premium phone with the new OnePlus 7 Pro

Here’s the OnePlus 7 Pro’s pop-up selfie camera in action. It’s like a prairie dog peeking its head out to check out the landscape.

 

Apart from amazement, one of my first thoughts about the OnePlus 7 Pro’s pop-up selfie camera was “This thing is going to break off if I drop the phone.”

Thankfully, OnePlus had already thought of that. The OnePlus 7 Pro can detect a drop when its pop-up selfie camera is deployed, and it’ll automatically retract the camera.

 

OnePlus says it takes 0.53 seconds — about half a second — for the camera to raise and lower itself. It raises quickly enough for when you want take a selfie, at least for me.

 

But the big question is, does the pop-up selfie camera scamper back into its hiding place quickly enough when the OnePlus 7 Pro is accidentally dropped. The answer? Not quite.

The only way to find out was with a quick test where I dropped the phone from a height of about 4 and a half feet and captured the drop with a slow-motion camera. Thankfully I had the Galaxy S10, which has a great slow-motion camera mode.

Check out the test below. I’d advise to expand the GIF to a full size video, and tap the “SD” button on the bottom-right to change it to HD for a better view of the pop-up selfie camera retracting as it falls:

It’s a little hard to tell, but the pop-up selfie camera doesn’t quite fully retract into its enclosure before the phone hits the ground. You can tell the pop-up selfie camera is still in the process of retracting by the sliver of light reflecting off the selfie camera when the phone hits the blanket. 

Still, it might just retract enough to prevent the selfie camera from breaking off, even if it hits the ground at an angle that would prove fatal to the pop-up selfie camera if it hadn’t retracted at all. 

It’s also more likely that the pop-up selfie camera would fully retract if it was dropped from a higher heigh, like face-height where you’d take a selfie from. That, of course, depends on how tall you are.

A case might also let the OnePlus 7 Pro’s pop-up selfie camera survive a drop around the selfie camera’s enclosure.

 

At the end of the day, there’s no telling how durable the pop-up selfie camera on the OnePlus 7 Pro is actually going to be, whether the phone lands directly on the exposed selfie camera, or at an angle.

When I manually pressed down on the selfie camera only using as much pressure that was needed for the camera to retract, the OnePlus 7 Pro shows me a notification saying “To protect the front camera, please avoid pressing it manually.” Who knows how the pop-up selfie camera would react if it received a sudden shock from a direct impact onto a hard surface. 

It’s an unproven feature that adds more breaking points to a smartphone, but I welcome the pop-up selfie camera innovation from OnePlus.

The pop-up selfie camera afforded the company the ability to deliver a totally notch- and cutout-free display on the OnePlus 7 Pro. As a result, the OnePlus 7 Pro’s display is objectively unmatched by screens on Apple’s iPhones or Samsung Galaxy S10 series, especially when you consider how smoothly the screen works when you swipe around the Android operating system and apps.

Still, the pop-up selfie camera on the OnePlus 7 Pro adds an element of risk that you’re going to have to gauge for yourself. It’s good to know that OnePlus has a repair service where you can ship off your phone to get the pop-up selfie camera repaired.