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.
Now 100% notch free. If Lenovo's failure to deliver a genuine full-screen display for the Z5 left you feeling burned, Vivo's flagship Nex could ease the pain. The Nex is making the transition from concept phone to retail product -- in China, at least -- and boasts an impressive 91.24 percent screen-to-body ratio. Nex runs on Qualcomm's state-of-the-art Snapdragon 845 processor, and backs it up with 8GB of RAM topped off by an Adreno 630 GPU. Tucked behind its 6.59-inch Ultra FullView display is a 8-megapixel camera that ascends whenever you summon it to take a selfie. We first laid eyes on the pop-up camera during this year's MWC. It pops out in under a second (or so Vivo says) and retracts once you've finished snapping. It basically eliminates the need for a notch, which is all the rage right now. Realizing the Nex's expansive, almost bezel-free look naturally demanded slight changes in other design components. In this case, the earpiece speaker is moved into the screen, and Vivo opts for an third gen in-display fingerprint scanner which helps to conceal the sensor beneath the display. The jury's still out on overall efficacy -- our test provided mixed results -- but early owners will be able to determine whether the fingerprint tech has improved since then. Regardless, Vivo's attempts at developing in-display fingerprint readers has paved a path which other smartphone makers are likely to follow.