Fans have been divided over the implementation of notch on modern phones. Some like it and some don’t. Well, the notch, a cutout on top of the display, is more of a compromise if you want a phone with larger screens and don’t want the overall form factor to be like a tablet. But is the notch the only way to have an all-screen phone? The answer is no. And the great example for this Vivo’s Nex.
Vivo Nex comes with an impressive 91.24 per cent screen-to-body ratio with absolutely minimum bezels (at least on the top bar). So, where do the camera modules, speakers and other necessary sensors go? Vivo is implementing the first-of-its-kind camera module that is tucked into the top edge of the phone and can be summoned whenever you’re taking a selfie or need it for video calling. It works and looks really cool. A bit of gimmicky, but that’s fine.
And as far as the sound goes, Vivo has included a screen sound casting technology to transmit sound from the screen. This essentially means the display acts as a speaker and earpiece. To further amplify the sound, Vivo Nex comes with Hi-Fi with System in Package technology (SIP). It has a singular chip to house a Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) and a matrix with as many as three operational amplifiers.
Vivo Nex doesn’t come with a dedicated rear-facing or front-facing fingerprint button, instead it has also been embedded into the screen.
Just from innovation point of view, it’s pretty unique and forward looking, considering that both Apple and Samsung were rumoured to include this feature in their flagship phones.
Priced at `44,990, Vivo Nex isn’t really crossing the threshold of being a super-expensive smartphone upon launch. In fact, the premium version of OnePlus 6 (Avengers Edition) comes at `44,999.
Does the combination of these futuristic technologies and a price advantage make Vivo Nex a perfect phone?
Vivo Nex, backed by Snapdragon 845 processor and 8GB RAM, handles most of the basic tasks with ease. The phone didn’t disappoint at all with its performance.
Adding to the gaming experience or any multimedia streaming is the edge-to-edge 6.59-inch 2316×1080 FHD+ Super AMOLED display. Colours are vibrant and watching any high resolution video is cool on the device. Other elements like call quality and battery life are pretty satisfactory.
The highlight of the phone, however, remains the motorised selfie-camera. The camera makes a mechanical noise (digital sound on the phone and can be customised) whenever it’s summoned. It’s kind of attention-grabbing and worth showing off to your friends and family.
The phone featuring 12-megapixel and 5-megapixel dual-camera setup takes pretty decent quality photos in good light conditions. Though not very consistent, the camera is alright. Low-light photos are also alright for its price point. Just don’t expect it to be on par with expensive flagship ones like Google Pixel 2 XL and Samsung Galaxy S9+.
Areas where Vivo Nex lags behind – the first on the list is Funtouch OS 4.0 (based on Android Oreo 8.1). The UI experience is disappointing after having used OnePlus 6 for a long period of time.
For instance, in default use, there’s no search bar to find applications. With the unit loaded with a number of apps, it becomes a bit annoying to find the app you want to use. On OnePlus 6, the OxygenOS will furnish your recent apps or let you search for app you’re looking for. Although it’s a small issue, but is very important in daily use cases. The workaround is that you can download a third-party launcher. We recommend Nova which is quite fluid.
We also struggled to register our fingerprint scanner on the screen. After multiple attempts, we just abandoned it, resorting to passcode-based unlocking. But it appears the fault is with our unit as other reviewers haven’t reported similar issues.
Vivo should be commended for bringing a phone, which could have remained in concept phase for a long time, to users and trying to democratise future-looking features like screen-sound casting or a motorised selfie camera.
The performance, except for the buggy UI, is satisfactory. As compared to basic models of OnePlus 6, Vivo Nex does seem little expensive, but considering the unique looks and special features, it’s worth giving a shot. The phone is certainly going to appeal to people who’re looking for a device that is different, has good looks, and doesn’t compromise on performance.