Reviews

VIVO NEX Review: The Most Innovative Smartphone Around The Globe

Throughout the ages, there are always some subversive imaginations and exciting technologies appearing in the smartphone industry. However, when it comes to implementation of products, it is always in the distant future. In the past two years, the most anticipated concept was the arrival of a ‘genuine’ full-screen smartphone. Before the announcement of the VIVO APEX concept phone at the MWC2018, the highest screen ratio had been 85%. And while its competitors were busy with playing with this number, VIVO switched to the production of a true full-screen smartphone quickly. However, the phone changed its identity and came to consumers with the name of the VIVO NEX.

VIVO NEX

The VIVO NEX comes with the same full-screen approach as its predecessor. It even adopts a couple of innovative approaches such as the on-screen fingerprint identification, pop-up front camera, and others. At the same time, there are a couple of other technologies not talked about at the launch event. Shortly, the NEX proves the future is getting closer. You shouldn’t take it as an experimental handset. Vice versa, it’s the first step into a new era.

VIVO NEX Appearance

Compared with the current smartphones, the VIVO NEX comes with the highest screen ratio of 91.24%. So all the assumptions and calculations as it will reach 98% are myths. Actually, there are no borders and no forehead. But the manufacturer couldn’t avoid removing the chin. On the Mi MIX series handsets, we have seen there is a relatively wider chin to carry a front camera. As for the NEX, the existence of the chin came with another purpose in mind.

VIVO NEX

In comparison to the original APEX, the VIVO NEX uses an arc scheme. It not only provides a better grip but also removes the borders on edges. In addition, the R-angle of the body and the R-angle of the screen are identical. So when the phone unlocks, it doesn’t lose its beauty. With the ultra-narrow design of the body, the screen can visually create a stunning and immersive visual experience.

VIVO NEX

As for parameters, the VIVO NEX sports a 6.59-inch AMOLED display with a 2316×1080 resolution and a 19.3:9 aspect ratio. The left and right frame thickness of the fuselage is 1.71mm, and the thickness of the upper and lower frame is 2.16mm and 5.08mm, respectively. With the advantage of a narrow bezel, it controls the body size to be similar to the traditional 5.7-inch 16:9 phone. As for the display quality, it is always consistent with its high color gamut.

VIVO NEX

The VIVONEX fuselage structure uses the current mainstream solution, namely the structural design with double-sided glass and metal middle frame. Among them, the frame of the body has a slight curvature on the surface for the sake of integrity. The volume rocker is placed on the right side along with the power key. The Jovi’s own button is on the opposite side.

VIVO NEX

The back of the phone is specifically made of 3D glass material and uses the ‘holographic technology’ process. The dual-camera along with a flashlight is placed on the upper left corner. The NEX logo is in the middle.

VIVO NEX

Although the USB Type-C interface is quite common in current smartphones, when it appears at the bottom of the NEX, it has a feeling of grief. Undoubtedly, it’s the future. But we’d like to see the VIVO NEX will cause no inconvenience for more people.

No need to sadden – the 3.5mm audio jack is on the top. It should be noted that the NEX still inherits the Vio-brand Hi-Fi gene and continues the classic music tuning style. Moreover, it comes with an XE710 headset to better achieve the Hi-Fi sound. According to reports, the VIVO NEX uses a groundbreaking SIP packaging technology, making NEX’s Hi-Fi module occupy less than half of Xplay6’s layout area. AT the same time it brings the same outstanding audio performance and sound quality performance.

VIVO NEX

VIVO NEX Gallery

Technology

As the entire front panel serves as a screen, all the components previously placed there should change. Thus the phone should come with innovations.

VIVO NEX

The first innovation refers to the fingerprint identification. Actually, at the MWC 2018, the APEX was introduced as the first phone coming with a half-screen fingerprint scanner. But it didn’t appear on the VIVO NEX. So we can write down this handset is the third smartphone with an on-screen fingerprint technology coming our way from VIVO. As a reminder, the first two were the VIVO X20 Plus UD and the VIVO X21 UD.

VIVO NEX

For traditional handsets, the vast majority of smartphone manufacturers currently put the earpiece components at the top border, but this will make it thicker to some extent. This time, the VIVO NEX is using a brand new solution: full-screen sound technology, which replaces the existing handset with full-screen sound technology to ensure a good handset experience.

The vocalization technology has been able to match the sound quality of a traditional handset and it can further release the frontal space. Honestly, we have seen a similar technology on the Xiaomi Mi MIX and Mi MIX 2. If you guess, we are talking about the piezoelectric ceramic driver, which means the vibrations will be beamed right through the glass making the people listen to a call without the traditional gap for a speaker. Though it was an innovation, there were real issues with it. The bugs were fixed only on the Mi MIX 2S.

VIVO NEX

Along with the earpiece, there is often a light/distance sensor. Our protagonist uses hidden elements technology. It hides the proximity sensor at the top of the screen, while the light sensor is hidden under the screen.

Previously, the manufacturers retained either the forehead or the chin to put the front camera there. Say, the most of smartphone makers put it on the forehead, while the Mi MIX series handsets, the Smartisan Nut R1, and a few other handsets carry it on the chin. As for the VIVO NEX, it uses the much-talked pop-up design. And though it’s been said the patent for this technology belongs to Essential, the manufacturer continues using it.

VIVO NEX

As for the camera parameters, it comes with an 8MP resolution. It lifts instantly once the front camera app launches, using a newly created micro-drive system. According to VIVO, this camera can be lifted and hidden up to 50.000 times. Interestingly, when the camera lifts/hides, there is a special sound. Initially, we have been thinking the sound comes from a motor. But then we found out there are three sound effects you can select. They refer to both up and down.

VIVO NEX

System

The VIVO NEX comes with tons of new approaches. Therefore, the system should be overhauled as well. It should be said, the Funtouch OS 4.0 is currently one of the most customized and optimized systems available in China. It is based on Android 8.1.

VIVO NEX

Generally, Funtouch OS has always been known for its smoothness, stability, and practicality in its early versions. With the Funtouch OS 4.0 release, these features are still there. And based on these excellent experiences, Funtouch OS is also constantly optimized to improve user favorability.

VIVO NEX

As we are dealing with a handset that has no bangs, there are no adaptation problems. Moreover, the gesture operation proposed by the first full-screen smartphone of the company, the VIVO X20 is also becoming more and more stable, mature, and functional. This set of interactive gestures is still one of the best among many programs.

‘Super Smart AI’ is the main core of this system. It upgraded the previous version of the Jovi Smart Assistant. In this version, Jovi has more application scenarios and useful features. In addition, with the integrated artificial intelligence engine, the smart operation of each sector has also been substantially improved. In this regard, the VIVO NEX is equipped with a Jovi AI independent button on the left side of the fuselage, which can quickly evoke the corresponding smart operation. For example, a short press triggers smart recognition and a long press wakes up the voice assistant.

VIVO NEX

Jovi’s intelligent voice assistant has been completely upgraded in terms of functionality. Now it adopts many applications on the basis of ‘voice.’ In other words, it can replace the ’key operations’ by ‘voice.’ Generally, the key features of the new OS are as follows:

  • Newly-designed Energy UI and new AI dynamic icons: Not only have the corresponding dynamic display, but also the icon color change function, the system will intelligently recognize the warm and cold tone of the wallpaper, and automatically adjust the visual style of the icons.
  • New Jovi voice function: Deep coverage system function and high-frequency third-party applications. The traditional touch operation can be realized by voice. It supports 20 high-frequency scenes and 600 core functions.
  • Complex Commands: Jovi integrates deep natural language understanding technology to accurately extract useful information from natural language, understand complex logic relationships, and easily deal with complex sentences such as complex WeChat operations.
  • Jovi Command Teaching and Plaza: Users can also continue to educate Jovi. Lazy people can also study at Jovi Square. In the future, hundreds of millions of users will share teaching orders. The popular instruction will be free to add default features.
  • AI independent button: the NEX has a Jovi AI independent button on the side of the camera body. A long press to wake up Jovi can directly talk and use more functions.
  • AI Wisdom: Full coverage of Encyclopedia, Shopping, Translation, Scanning, Screen Recognition, etc. Pressing the AI independent button on any application, such as camera, webpage, chat, and other, Jovi will immediately respond.
  • AI scene recognition: not only can identify night scenes, jitter and backlight scenes, adjust the photo effects, but also identify the contents of photos, such as portraits, food, flowers, and make further optimization.
  • AI filter: According to the result of scene recognition, the most suitable stylized filter is recommended.
  • AI portrait composition: automatically matches the best composition method according to the content of the shot, guiding the user to move the phone and optimizing the composition.
  • AI backlight photo: dynamic range of up to 11.3eV, also equipped with intelligent frame selection technology for the first time. According to the scene changes, intelligently selects the number of composite photos, enhances the speed and effect of the backlight mode in different scenes.
  • AI Make-up: Self-timer is the traditional strength of VIVO, and AI Make-up on NEX can provide excellent beauty effect.
  • AI Lab: VIVO has established AI joint laboratories with partners such as NetEase, Gold, Baidu, Infofly, Ant Financial, and others to conduct in-depth cooperation on AI algorithms and data, including speech recognition, machine vision, and semantics understanding, knowledge maps and other technical ecosystems. All these technologies have been integrated into Jovi.

VIVO NEX Performance

As the VIVO NEX is a top-end smartphone, it’s reasonable to see a Qualcomm flagship chip, the Snapdragon 845. It is also paired with an 8GB of RAM and 128/256GB storage. It’s obvious why the manufacturer chose this SoC. The latter uses Qualcomm’s proprietary octa-core Kryo 385 processing architecture, Adreno 630 graphics architecture, Hexagon 685 DSP, Spectra 280 ISP, and second-generation 10nm process.

When testing in various benchmarks, we didn’t expect the VIVO NEX will outrun many of its competitors. But thanks to a software optimization, it scores 288,293 points at AnTuTu and 9000 points at GeekBench 4.1’s multi-core test. Thus it performs better than many SND845-powered smartphones.

VIVO NEX

The phone is not described as a game handset, but it faces no problems when playing the Honor of King and Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. Both games were tested at the high frame rate mode. The phone was running at 60fps.

VIVO NEX

VIVO NEX

The VIVO NEX is also ideal for temperature control. After playing Honor of Kings for 30 minutes, the temperature of the fuselage is quite acceptable.

VIVO NEX

In the past, the VIVO phones have always been biased towards a balance between performance and power consumption. But this model comes with an SND845, which should consume more power than the Snapdragon 600 or 400 series chips.

Our protagonist is packed with a 4000mAh battery, which is obviously larger than other flagship phones. When tested, the phone consumes 12% in one hour of video playback and 11%-14% in 30 minutes of playing a heavy game. So we can state it’s not ideal but a daily use is guaranteed.

VIVO NEX

As for charging, the VIVO NEX follows the previous dual-engine flash charging scheme, and its original adapter supports up to 22.5W output. Under the actual charging test, 50% of the power can be reached in 30 minutes, and it takes 92 minutes to fill the entire battery.

VIVO NEX

VIVO NEX Camera

Photographing has always been a major point in the VIVO branded smartphones. So by adding AI elements to it, the manufacturer step by step improves the shooting capabilities of its smartphones. The VIVO NEX camera is based on AI smart technology. It provides AI scene recognition, AI backlight photo, AI filter, AI composition, and other functions. In addition, it supports DCI-P3 wide color gamut, enabling more accurate color capture.

VIVO NEX

The handset uses a 12MP +5MP dual-lens combination on the back and an 8MP camera on the front. In addition, the rear main camera adopts the Sony IMX363 sensor, which provides a 1.4um pixel size, and has a f/1.8 aperture, 12 million full-pixel dual-core focusing technology, and supports high-precision 4-axis OIS + EIS technology.

As we can judge from the daytime samples, the VIVO NEX continued its previous high-sharpness and high-contrast imaging style. Moreover, it is more accurate to restore the white balance and the picture saturation similar to the naked eye.

VIVO NEX

VIVO NEX

VIVO NEX

VIVO NEX

VIVO NEX

VIVO NEX

VIVO NEX

VIVO NEX

With the advantage of ‘backlit photography,’ the VIVO NEX also achieved a relatively good imaging level. The imaging tolerance of NEX is far higher than that of its competitors. In addition, the transitional style of light and shade gives a feeling of 3D photos.

VIVO NEX

VIVO NEX

With the combination of f/1.8 aperture and dual-core pixel focusing technology, the VIVO NEX has a clear advantage in shooting macro scenes. It can blur the background while focusing accurately. Even in the case of macro photography in a low-light environment, it can still have a nice detail presentation and step by step blurring performance.

VIVO NEX

VIVO NEX

VIVO NEX

VIVO NEX

In terms of screen purity, the added OIS and EIS anti-shake technologies play a key role in ensuring screen brightness while suppressing noise.

VIVO NEX

After adopting a lifting camera approach, the self-timer imaging still maintains a consistently high standard. In combination with the proofreading analysis, it can increase skin redness and gloss, and with the aid of AI photography, beauty effects can also be processed point-to-point.

VIVO NEX

Conclusion

The VIVO NEX is the best creation we have ever seen. Of course, there are a few factors affecting our decision. First, this is the first true full-screen smartphone, the screen ratio of which reaches up to 91%. Second, this handset comes with an on-screen fingerprint identification. And though it’s only the third in VIVO’s list, there are too little devices with a corresponding technology. Among them, we can mention the VIVO X20 Plus UD, VIVO X21 UD, Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design, and the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition.

VIVO NEX

Honestly, the VIVO NEX has demonstrated its reliability in innovation and pragmatism from the inside out. The innovations in this handset are everywhere. And this statement doesn’t refer to the lifting camera only.

VIVO NEX

At last, the only thing we can complain about is its pricing. It costs more than many top-end handsets on the market. But we should also say it is worth the price.

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Argam Artashyan

Back in 2010, he was dismissed from his position as a lecturer at the university. This made him get another job at his friend’s digital marketing company as a blog writer. After a few years, when he was thinking the article writing is his mission, Google pushed the Panda update and affected the company and websites he was working at. (Un)fortunately and surprisingly, he got an offer to head a large knitting factory. In 2016, he got his Ph.D. and resumed teaching at the University … and writing tech-related articles following his passion.

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