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OnePlus Concept One hands-on: disappearing camera

Now you see the camera, now you don't Now you see the camera, now you don't. Yeah, OnePlus is doingsomething new this year. (gentle music) OnePlus is unveiling a phone here at CES, but you're not gonna beable to go and buy it. It's just a concept phone. In fact, that's what it's called. The OnePlus Concept One. And the idea behind this phone,with its black glass strip and its orange papayastitched leather body is that they can hide thecameras with this glass that can electronically switch between opaque and transparent. The idea is that it justmakes the phone look nicer, because instead of seeinga bunch of camera lenses, you see a black pane of glass. (gentle music) OnePlus says that theycan switch between opaque and transparent in .7 seconds, which is about the time it takes to open the camera app in the first place.

So that's cool, I guess. Actually, actually it is pretty cool. But this new technologyhas a practical use too because you can set it tobe a neutral density filter. So when you're outside taking a shot of something really bright, it makes the glass a little bit darker so that all your photos or videos aren't completely blown out. To use a neutral density filter, you have to go into ProMode on the camera app. When you do, you'll see alittle button that says ND8. You tap that, and it togglesthe density filter on and off. You can't adjust how, youknow, strong or opaque it is, but it does seem to work. The room we were in wasn't super bright, but you could see a littlebit of a difference. Obviously, we're gonna needto fully test this thing in order to say for sure, but of course, we can'tfully test this thing because it's just a concept phone. One more thing. It's opaque, but it'snot like opaque opaque. If you tilt the phone aroundin the light a little bit, even when the thing is supposedto cover the camera lenses, you can still kinda see thecamera lenses from time to time. That's fine. Again, this is just a concept. OnePlus says that they haveto do a lot more testing before they can put it ona real production phone. There's a lot of extrawork that they have to do, and you know what, this is silly, right? They've been developingthis thing for 18 months just so that they can cover upthe camera lenses on a phone. And that might be necessarylater on in the future when we get to four,five, six camera lenses in the back of the phone.

That could look really horrifying, and so you might actually want this, but right now, it's silly. But this is what CES is for. I mean, we saw a TV thatrotates into portrait mode, so yeah, they're allowed to make something weird on a phone too. So let's talk about howthis actually works. It is electrochromic glass, which is two panes of regular old glass, and then inside is an electrochromic layer that can switch from transparent to opaque when electricity is applied to it. It's the same technology that gets used on a lot of sunroofs, in fact, it's the same technology that gets used in McLaren sunroofs, and OnePlus says they work with McLaren to develop this technologyand shrink it down to phones. And shrinking it down isactually what took a lot of work. They had to get the panes of glass that sandwich it really, really thin, and they had to get theelectrochromic layer really, really thin, and they hadto make it all work faster than it usually does whenit's just on a sunroof. So again, they say itcan happen in .7 seconds, and they manage to make thisglass .35 millimeters thick, which is, they claim, the thinnest electrochromic panel ever, and the fastest electrochromic panel ever. Electrochromic is really hard to say like four times in a sentence. So why does this concept need to exist?

Is it really that important to be able to cover up your camera lenses or get a software-defined ND filter. Well a software-defined ND filter actually sounds pretty dope on a camera, but what this is really for is to convince you thatOnePlus does innovation and that OnePlus is super cool. That's why they partner with McLaren. That's why they use like the McLaren papayaorange stitched leather. It's their whole vibe, theirwhole ethos is to be cool, and they think this looks cool, and who am I to say they're wrong? Hey everybody, thanksso much for watching. We have a ton more videos from CES. We've got that rotating TV, we've got a extremely redChromebook from Samsung, and plenty more, so keepit locked to The Verge. 

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