(Pocket-lint) - Zoom rolled out a new feature to its meeting app for Android phones, and with the usual bugs and optimisations, the latest app update includes virtual backgrounds. But there's a catch: not all phones are made equal, and so the feature doesn't work on all of them.
We downloaded the latest app version - updated on 21 September by Zoom to version 5.3.52640.0920 - on several phones of varying specs and power, but it (mostly) only ran on those we'd consider flagship devices with high-end processors in.
It makes sense and is similar to the way the desktop app works because - of course - generating that virtual wallpaper and constantly adapting it to make sure it stays behind you takes some processing power.
With the luxury of having multiple test phones in our offices, we ran the new virtual background feature successfully on the following:
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- Huawei P30 Pro - 2019 flagship powered by Kirin 980 processor (8GB RAM)
- Samsung Galaxy S20 - 2020 flagship powered by Exynos 990 processor (8GB RAM)
- OnePlus 8 - 2020 flagship powered by Snapdragon 865 (8GB RAM)
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20 - 2020 flagship powered by Exynos 990 processor (8GB RAM)
- Google Pixel 4 - 2019 flagships powered by Snapdragon 855 processor (6GB RAM)
Most of the phones we tested that the virtual background feature didn't work on were what we'd class as low end or mid-tier devices. Except for one notable exception:
- Google Pixel 3a XL - 2019 mid-tier powered by Snapdragon 670 (4GB RAM)
- OnePlus Nord - 2020 mid-tier powered by Snapdragon 765G (8GB RAM)
- BlackBerry Key2 - 2018 mid-tier powered by Snapdragon 660 (6GB RAM)
- Nokia 5.3 - 2020 low end powered by Snapdragon 665 (4GB RAM)
- Nokia 8.3 5G - 2020 mid-tier powered by Snapdragon 765G (6GB RAM)
- Sony Xperia 1 ii - 2020 flagship powered by Snapdragon 865 (8GB RAM)
The Sony Xperia flagship clearly threw a spanner in the works here by being the only top-tier device which didn't allow the feature to work, but for the most part, the list is split into flagships and non-flagships, with the lower power phones being the ones that couldn't run the virtual backgrounds.
Apart from that single exception, the rule of thumb is: if you have a phone that's powered by the top tier processors from Huawei, Qualcomm or Samsung, the feature should work for you.
So give it a try and maybe even take some of our favourite virtual backgrounds for a spin on your phone next time you have a zoom meeting.