OnePlus recently unveiled a new technology at CES 2020. It’s a new innovation from OnePlus by bringing an Invisible rear camera using an electrochromic glass. OnePlus used its recent launch of OnePlus 7 Pro phone to experiment this new tech and called as OnePlus Concept One Phone. Now here its my hands-on experience & first impression on OnePlus Concept One.
Firstly, to confirm the this not a new phone & its not commercial launch. OnePlus just made a new innovation on the OnePlus 7 pro mobile. As you can see here, the rear camera sensors including the LED flash, OnePlus logo are disappearing during the camera application, not in use & start to appear after opening camera app in the device.

OnePlus bring this new innovative technology and called it as OnePlus Concept One.

OnePlus Concept One First Impression

On the physical overview, starting from the rear side the rear panel is fully stitches with papaya orange color leather material that is used on the seat of McLaren 720s model car. After that, it has a camera arrangement at the center, and at the top electrochromic glass is equipped. Similarly, OnePlus built this glass based on the reference of McLaren 720s car sun roof glass. OnePlus used that similar glass material on the top of the camera module, LED flash, logo & on the full center path.

Apart from this all other arrangements are similar to OnePlus 7 Pro mobile. On the front, it has full view display sports with Fluid AMOLED curved display with 90Hz screen refresh rate. Then Popup camera & secondary microphone at top and USB Type-C port, speaker grille, SIM card slot at bottom. On sides, at right volume keys & power button on left located.

Electrochromic Glass used for shifting from Opaque to Transparent

Earlier, OnePlus brings the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition on partner with McLaren Car Company. OnePlus started working during that period itself for bringing the Electrochromic glass into OnePlus Smartphone. OnePlus says, it takes almost 18 months to bring this Electrochromic glass.

The Glass is about just 0.38mm thickness which transform the color-shifting on the glass to hide rear camera lens & LED Flash. Electrochromic glass gets activated when a camera application starts to run. Once the camera application starts a small voltage passes through the electrochromic glass that makes the glass from Opaque to Transparent. The Color Shifting (Opaque to Transparent & Transparent to Opaque) time will be about 0.7 seconds once the camera application open & similarly, closing.
In general, Electrochromic glass is used in rich hotels, luxury planes and in premium cars to control the sun rays. However, OnePlus used a McLaren 720s car electrochromic glass in OnePlus Concept phone. The Electrochromic glass is made of two glass in-between two electrodes are separated on each side of the glass. Each electrode is made of different chemical particles. When a small voltage applied, crystal particles moves from the inner electrode into the outer electrode and make the glass into Opaque. Again, passing an amount of voltage, the crystal particles move back to the inner electrode and the glass became transparent. 

OnePlus Concept One ND8 Filter mode

As I already said, the electrochromic glass used will be converted from Opaque to transparent and similarly, transparent to opaque but in addition, that it will be exposed in semi-transparent. This mode is called ND8 Filter it can be managed under a dedicated option available in the Pro Mode in the camera application.

In general, ND8 Filter used in most of DSLR cameras to filter the light travelling to the camera sensor. The ND8 Filter filter the light & allow half off the light to camera sensor so with the help of this ND8 Filter it will be helpful to shot photos with the longer exposure time even at the more lighting condition. Similarly, in the same vein, OnePlus brings the same feature into the OnePlus Concept One. So once you enabled the ND8 filter mode on the Pro mode, the electrochromic glass placed on the camera sensor will allow only half off the light to the camera sensor. Therefore, you can take long exposure photos like continuous shot even at more lighting conditions. Also, the output sample will not be overexposure in photos. Now let me share with you some of the camera samples captured on with & without ND8 filter mode in OnePlus Concept One phone.  

OnePlus Concept One Camera Samples (ND8 Filter Mode)

Here I captured photos on the OnePlus Concept One in both ND8 Filter mode On & Off condition. In overall on comparing the photos between the ND8 Filter enabled photos & without ND8 Filter photos shows a less saturation, contrast & color reproduction on with ND8 Filter mode photo samples. As I said earlier, once enabled the ND8 Filter, the light goes into camera sensor are filtered so, output sample becames dull because of less available light. Let’s take a look on to below samples, 

With ND8 Filter Vs Without ND8 Filter Photo Samples

As you seen in the above camera samples it been noted that the photos captures by enabling ND8 Filter mode having lack of color reproduction, color saturation, less contrast & overall the photos looking dull. Similarly, on the other hand, on looking photos without enabling ND8 Filter mode that means it’s a normal photo mode. It has all details, good color reprodution, saturation and overall the photos looking good enough. On viewing internally, the photos captured without ND8 Filter mode ISO level is less than photos captured in ND8 Filter mode. Likewise, the exposure time is less compared to ND8 Filter mode. 
Therefore, it clearly shows, that the light passing to the camera sensor are filtered into half because of this situation camera automatically optimized the ISO & Exposure time value into maximum while capturing on the ND8 Filter mode. But even though the output sample photos not looking good enough because of light filtered by electrochromic glass. Actually, the concept is, this ND8 Filter mode best for using when capturing longer exposure photos at the more lighting circumstances like direct sunlight, etc. So, that it reduces the over exposure photos into a normal one so, capturing photos using ND8 filter mode at a normal scenario will not give you good output. This feature is actually more needed for photographers also, this feature mostly used in DSLR cameras. 
Finally, the OnePlus Concept One phone is a new concept from OnePlus like ElectroChromic Glass at rear camera lens to disappear camera sensors, leather case stitches at the rear panel, and finally an ND8 Filter mode setting in the camera application. These are all new concepts brings by OnePlus into a earlier device OnePlus 7 Pro mobile and called it as OnePlus Concept One. Also, as per the OnePlus confirmation, this new technology & features will or will not features on the upcoming OnePlus mobile phones. But mostly, it will be feature before ending of this year in the upcoming OnePlus Smartphones like OnePlus 8 Pro or OnePlus 8T Pro.