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Vivo NEX First Impressions: A glimpse at the bezel-less future

The Vivo NEX does away with the notch by adding a mechanical pop-up selfie camera.

vivo nex front

Photo Credits - Rehan Hooda


  • The Vivo NEX is priced at Rs 44,990 and will be available via Amazon India and Vivo e-store.

  • It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, and comes with 8GB of RAM.

  • Vivo NEX also comes with an in-display fingerprint scanner.

Smartphones with notched displays have become common today, and you will find them on the likes of OnePlus 6, Asus Zenfone 5Z, Huawei P20 Pro and more. Yes, these smartphones are “closer” to offering full-screen edge-to-edge displays, and even though the notch is a clever implementation, it is just a temporary solution. And while the likes of Samsung and Apple may be busy with their full-screen prototypes, Chinese smartphone makers have figured out a way to offer a truly bezel-less display.

At the MWC 2018, Vivo showcased its concept APEX smartphone featuring a mechanical pop-up selfie camera. The smartphone maker was quick enough to turn this concept into reality with the NEX-series. Earlier today, Vivo launched the NEX smartphone in India priced at Rs 44,990. It will be sold exclusively via Amazon India and Vivo e-store starting July 21 . There are There are four key features of the smartphone which I will be talking about today. I’ve been playing around the Vivo NEX for the past couple of days, and here are my first impressions.

True all screen display

Smartphone makers have been offering full-screen displays with 18:9 or 19:9 aspect ratio, but there still are some bezels on the top and bottom. Vivo has managed to offer a complete edge-to-edge display experience without the notch, and negligibly thin bezels. It features a 6.59-inch Super AMOLED screen with full HD+ resolution, 2316×1080 pixels and a taller 19.3:9 aspect ratio. It has a screen to body ratio of 91.24 percent.

Photo Credits – Rehan Hooda

The screen is super bright, has punchy color reproduction, and it is just a treat to watch movies, videos and play games on the big screen. And because you have the full-screen real estate, even surfing your favorite websites or reading e-books is an experience. I’ll talk more about the screen in my in-depth review soon.

Screen SoundCasting tech

To achieve an edge-to-edge display experience, Vivo had to make way for newer technologies, and this meant removing the earpiece too. Then how does it transmit audio? Well, the NEX uses Screen SoundCasting tech, something similar to what Xiaomi did with the first Mi MIX smartphone when it incorporated a piezoelectric speaker. However, while Mi MIX speaker had its set of issues, Vivo seems to have figured a way out.

Photo Credit – Rehan Hooda

The NEX uses the Screen SoundCasting tech that converts your entire display into a speaker. It works on the principle of bone conduction technology. I’ve been using the NEX for a couple of days now, and so far, the tech works without any issues.

Watch: Oppo F7 Vs Vivo V9: Specifications compared

In-display fingerprint scanner

For unlocking the smartphone, we have been relying on fingerprint scanners, and now face unlock is getting popular. The next innovation in biometric-authentication is the in-display fingerprint scanning, which was first showcased by Vivo at MWC Shanghai 2017. The Vivo X21 was the first commercial smartphone to come with the tech, and now the same continues with the NEX as well.

Photo Credits – Rehan Hooda

While Vivo’s APEX concept phone had the bottom half of the screen acting as a fingerprint sensor, the NEX comes with a circular area where you have to place your finger to unlock the smartphone. From what I tried so far, it is pretty quick in unlocking the smartphone, although not as fast as the traditional fingerprint scanners, still, a good head start. Take a look at the below clip to see how it works.

Pop-up selfie camera

Now, coming to one of the USP’s of the smartphone, the elevating selfie camera. To get the full-screen experience right, Vivo has the front camera hidden in the chassis. When you open the camera app and switch to the front camera, it mechanically pops up, and retract back when you close the app or switch to rear cameras.

Photo Credits – Rehan Hooda

Sure, it looks and sounds futuristic, and works well too. However, it does raises some concerns. What happens to the mechanism when the app freezes or when dust gets accumulated? If the front camera is open, and phone accidentally falls down, what happens then? And lastly, what happens if someone tries to force and push the camera back in? Well, only time will answer these questions, till then, watch the below clip to see the pop-up selfie camera in action.

Vivo NEX specifications

NEX is a flagship smartphone and Vivo hasn’t compromised on the specifications. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC paired with 8GB of RAM and 128GB onboard storage. Sadly, there is no option to expand it further, and I believe 128GB space is more than enough.

In the photography department, the NEX is equipped with a dual camera setup at the back comprising a 12-megapixel primary sensor of f/1.8 aperture, and a 5-megapixel secondary depth sensor of f/2.4 aperture. The second camera helps to add DSLR-like bokeh effects to your photos. Vivo has also added AI chops in the camera for scene detection, which can tweak the settings accordingly to capture better photos based on the scene.

Photo Credits – Rehan Hooda

Up front is an 8-megapixel camera for selfies and video calling. It supports Face Beauty mode, AR Stickers and portrait mode, along with lighting effects such as Natural Light, Studio Light, Stereo Light and Monochrome. 

To keep things ticking, there is a 4,000mAh battery with dual quick charge feature for fast charging. Running on Android 8.1 Oreo OS with Funtouch OS custom skin on top, the smartphone comes with connectivity options such as Bluetooth, USB Type-C, Wi-Fi 802.11ac and GPS. 

Final words

Overall, the Vivo NEX is a flagship smartphone that comes with top-end hardware under the hood. Yes, smartphones with similar hardware such as OnePlus 6 and Zenfone 5Z are slightly on the affordable side, but the innovations that Vivo NEX packs in make it a premium smartphone in every sense. Still, it is considerably cheaper than the iPhones and Galaxys of the world. I will soon be publishing my in-depth review of the NEX in the next few days to talk about the performance and practicality of the innovations. Till then, stay tuned.

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  • Published Date: July 19, 2018 1:31 PM IST
  • Updated Date: July 19, 2018 5:55 PM IST