Vivo APEX 2020 is here with in-display camera, insane 60W wireless charging

Vivo APEX 2020
Vivo APEX 2020 (Image credit: Vivo)

What you need to know

  • Vivo's APEX 2020 is now official, touting a waterfall display with 120-degree curves on either side.
  • The phone is the first to feature a 16MP in-display camera module.
  • There's a Continuous Optical Zoom lens that delivers 5 - 7.5x magnification.
  • The phone also has a 48MP secondary lens at the back with gimbal-like video stabilization.

Once a year, Vivo introduces a concept phone in the APEX series, giving us a look at the future of phone design. The APEX 2018 was one of the first with a full-screen display and retractable camera module, and the APEX 2019 built on that design by eliminating all buttons and ports.

For 2020, Vivo is taking things to a whole new level. The APEX 2020 has a 6.45-inch waterfall display that eliminates bezels on the sides, and the extreme 120-degree curve on either side means you get an "ultra bezel-less display." To put things into context, the NEX 3 has a similar waterfall display, but the curves extend to just under 90 degrees.

Vivo APEX 2020

Source: Vivo (Image credit: Source: Vivo)

Like last year, Vivo is getting rid of physical buttons, and instead you get pressure-sensitive buttons on the side. The phone also has third-generation Screen SoundCasting tech, with the screen effectively acting as a speaker.

The APEX 2020 won't be releasing commercially, but most of these features could end up in this year's NEX flagship.

One of the main highlights this time around is the under-display camera, with the phone featuring a front camera module that's embedded directly underneath the display. Vivo says it increased the light transmittance of the part of the screen where the camera is embedded to six times that of the rest of the screen, and in doing so it was able to reduce "optical interference, diffraction and stray flashes."

That said, the tests were conducted in a lab, so it will be interesting to see how the front camera will fare in real-world usage conditions. The 16MP front camera uses four-to-one pixel binning, and Vivo mentioned that it is relying on algorithm optimizations to fine-tune the image quality. With Xiaomi stating that in-display cameras aren't ready for consumer use, it will be interesting to see if Vivo will roll out the feature in a commercial phone in 2020.

For the rear cameras, Vivo is highlighting Continuous Optical Zoom between 5 - 7.5x, stating that the phone is the first in the world to offer continuous zoom at such high magnification. Vivo is leveraging a 4-group lens combination with two fixed lenses and two movable sensors to achieve continuous zoom, and it is also using multi-frame algorithms for object detection. Vivo is also touting gimbal-like video stabilization, with the tech beating out regular OIS systems by a significant margin.

Another highlight is the 60W wireless charging, which Vivo calls Wireless Super FlashCharge 60W. That's more than most wired charging solutions today, and Vivo says it's fast enough to charge a 2000mAh battery in just 20 minutes. Once again, we'll have to wait and see if this tech shows up on a phone customers can buy in 2020.

Vivo APEX 2020

Source: Vivo (Image credit: Source: Vivo)

The APEX 2020 won't be available to the public, but if history is any indication, Vivo will fold most of these features into this year's NEX flagship. What do you make of the phone? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is Android Central's Senior Editor of Asia. In his current role, he oversees the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, networking products, and AV gear. He has been testing phones for over a decade, and has extensive experience in mobile hardware and the global semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.