At an event in Shanghai, Chinese phone manufacturer Vivo today announced the launch of its latest flagship device — called simply the Vivo NEX. The NEX takes the current convention for bezel-less displays, and pushes it a notch further (pun absolutely intended). The phone boasts a (frankly bonkers) 91.24 percent screen-to-body ratio, which is about as high as youll get on any phone. Its accomplished this by ditching the dreaded notch entirely. Thats right — theres no notch at all blemishing the phones 8.59-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display. The 8-megapixel front-facing camera is actually hidden within the body of the phone, and pops up when its to be used. Thats a pretty nifty design, although the cynic in me thinks that its yet-another complicated component to break — especially if youre a selfie-fiend, and constantly exposing the pop-up mechanism to wear-and-tear. Another weird feature of the Vivo NEX is that it ditches the earpiece entirely, replacing it with the companys Screen SoundCasting Technology. This, the company says, offers better call quality than a traditional earpiece, with more powerful bass and softer, smoother treble. TNW is receiving a review unit in the coming days, and were really excited about testing this feature in particular. The Vivo NEX also saves space by using an under-screen fingerprint reader, much like the ultra-extravagant Huawei Porsche Mate RS. This helps Vivo accomplish its ultra-extreme screen-to-body ratio, but at a cost. My colleague Abhimanyu tried the device, and complained that the fingerprint reader wasnt especially responsive. For what its worth, thats been my experience with the technology too, on both the Huawei Porsche Mate RS, and on the Honor 10 (which uses an under-glass fingerprint reader). When it comes to speed and accuracy, you simply cant beat a dedicated fingerprint reader. The NEX is Vivos latest flagship phone, and its appropriate it receives flagship specifications. The device packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, which is backed up by 8GB of RAM, and an Adreno 630 GPU. It also boasts a 4,000 mAh battery, which is pretty sizable. In terms of storage, users get 256GB to play with (less whatever the system uses). Truthfully, I cant imagine ever coming close to filling that up. It seems a little excessive. That said, I can imagine it being welcomed by those who like to hoard apps, or capture lots of high-definition video. Speaking of which, the phone backs a dual-camera setup, with a 12MP primary shooter, and a 5MP secondary one. Vivo says its infused its camera app with some new AI features, which can produce higher-quality photographs. Huaweis done something similar with the P20, P20 Pro, and the Honor 10. Itll be interesting to see how Vivos effort compares. Potential punters will be delighted to hear the Vivo NEX runs Android 8.1 — although its Vivos own spin on it, called Funtouch 4.0. Chinese phone manufacturers are no stranger to taking an axe to Android, and crafting it in their own image. Just look at Xiaomis MIUI, which is actually really decent (I actually prefer it to stock Android). Itll be interesting to see how Vivos attempt stands up. The Vivo NEX will be available in China in black and red variants. As mentioned, TNW is getting its grubby paws on a review unit, so stay tuned for our final verdict.
Vivo has announced a new flagship device called the Nex, a phone that the Chinese company claims fulfills the bezel-less dream. The Nex is based on Apex, the impressive concept phone we saw at Mobile World Congress in February. Like Apex, the Nex avoids the now-ubiquitous display notch by employing an elevating selfie camera that pops out from the top edge of the phone when required. This allows the Nex to achieve a screen-to-body ratio of 91.24 percent, Vivo says, though there is still a slight chin at the bottom of the screen. Further contributing to the bezel-less effect is Vivos glass-vibrating screen soundcasting technology, which replaces the earpiece speaker, and it sounded pretty good in my experience with Apex. The Nex also uses an in-display fingerprint sensor, but unlike Apex, it doesnt cover a large area of the screen. It sounds like the implementation is similar to the X21, which we found to be impressive in practice despite only working over a thumbprint-sized area. Vivo does say that its third-generation sensor improves on speed, which was a slight caveat with the X21. The basic specs of the phone couldnt be much more high-end : theres a Snapdragon 845 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 4,000mAh battery, 256GB of storage, and a 6.59-inch 1080p+ OLED display. (Theres also a cheaper model with a Snapdragon 710, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage.) The primary camera is 12 megapixels with an f/1.8 lens backed by a 5-megapixel f/2.4 module, while the pop-up selfie camera is 8 megapixels and f/2.0. Oh, and there's a headphone jack. The Nex will be slightly hefty by modern standards, however, at 199g and 7.98mm thick, the design looks sleeker than the boxy Apex prototype. Basically, the Vivo Nex is a bleeding-edge device designed for anyone who wants the most legitimately bezel-free phone possible at this moment in time. The obvious caveat is that itll only be available in China, priced at 4,998 yuan (about $780) for the high-end model, which is a lot cheaper than the 8,316-yuan iPhone X but more expensive than a local flagship like the 2,699-yuan Xiaomi Mi 8. But Vivo is actually making this thing, and that's reason enough to dream about the notchless future. We're looking forward to seeing how well it works out in reality.