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Vivo NEX is official with super-thin bezels, pop-up front camera and top-end specs

Vivo showed off a concept phone back at MWC with ultra-thin bezels and a pop-up front camera, and the company has formally unveiled the product in China. The Vivo NEX comes with a 6.59-inch FHD+ 19.3:9 Super AMOLED display that offers a 91.2% screen-to-body ratio, with the company noting that it took several "industry-first" technologies to maximize the screen real estate.

Vivo ditched the standard earpiece in lieu of Screen SoundCasting Technology, which turns the entire screen into a speaker. The tech is similar to what you'd find in bone conduction headsets, and Vivo says it offers more powerful bass and smoother treble, all while enabling the brand to shrink the top bezel.

Vivo NEX hands-on: One step closer to a bezel-less future

Vivo NEX

Speaking of bezels, the top bezel is just 2.16 mm thick, with the bottom bezel coming in at 5.08 mm and the side bezels at 1.71 mm. The NEX also features a third-generation in-display fingerprint sensor, with the brand stating that the new sensor is 50% better at recognition accuracy with a broader detection area and 10% faster unlock speed.

While the front of the phone gets all the attention, the back isn't all that bad either. The glass back is coated with what Vivo calls "Holographic Diffraction Dynamic Color" illusion technology, which sees thousands of "diffraction units" laser engraved onto the back of the device to create a "dreamlike sci-fi effect."

Vivo NEX

The phone's pièce de résistance is the retractable 8MP front camera. The module is hidden away in everyday use, and pops up whenever you activate the front camera to take a selfie. It takes just over a second for the module to pop up, and Vivo says that the micro-drive system along with the independent drive ICs allow the camera to elevate with "absolute precision."

The motor can push up to 500 g, withstand a thrust force of 45KG, and can be raised and lowered over 50,000 times. Vivo is basically saying that the module won't break should the phone take a tumble when it is activated.

Under the hood, the NEX is powered by a Snapdragon 845 chipset, and it comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage as standard, and you can also pick up a variant with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. There's also a 4000mAh battery, dual 12MP + 5MP cameras at the back (with 4-axis OIS), and the phone runs Funtouch OS 4.0 based on Android 8.1 Oreo. And unlike the Mi Mix 2, the Vivo NEX has a headphone jack.

Vivo is also selling a base variant of the NEX with a Snapdragon 710 along with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, which will be available for ¥3,898 ($610).

Vivo NEX specs

Vivo is touting the AI capabilities of the NEX, with the phone offering AI-assisted scene recognition, HDR, filters, and photo composition. Vivo is also rolling out updates to its China-specific Jovi voice assistant, which can now launch apps and identify objects on a user's screen, à la Bixby Vision.

Vivo's solution for the notch is certainly intriguing (and it looks really cool), but it remains to be seen if the retractable camera works seamlessly in day-to-day usage.

For now, the Vivo NEX is limited to the Chinese market, where the phone will go on sale for the equivalent of $610. The variant with the Snapdragon 845 will retail for ¥4,498 ($700), and the version with 256GB of storage will set customers back ¥4,998 ($780). There's no indication that the device will make its way to global markets, but we'll let you know should that change.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts on the Vivo NEX?

Vivo NEX hands-on: One step closer to a bezel-less future

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor covering Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone manufacturers, and writes about the semiconductor industry, storage servers, and audio products. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

19 Comments
  • Looks like a step in the right direction towards an all screen phone.
  • They found a way to maximize screen real estate without adding a %$#@ notch.They also kept the headphone jack and a massive battery. Hats off to them and their efforts. Other OEM's need take notes. This is how you evolve the mobile platform and give the consumer what they want. I have my fair share of mobile devices but I'll still take a base model just to say I have it. I'll flaunt it to all those who chose to follow unnecessary trends.
  • +1000 well said!!! 🤯
  • Unlike many OEMs did this year Vivo was smart by copying Xiaomi instead of the notch. Even Xiaomi could learn that lesson but with NEX out I'm pretty sure the company will wake up and show the world how its done again. MIX 3 is on its way and it should improve on the things NEX doesn't have right yet. For example that pop up camera is not the trend. At 50000x lifetime use anybody that is a selfie taker will know there are many more than 50000 selfie opportunities in the lifetime of a smartphone. Of course if they didn't have it pop up then the only other solution they had was to copy more of the MIX and include it at the bottom. It's refreshing to see that Xiaomi's piezoelectric tech is getting praise for once. Since there's been such a move for bad press of Xiaomi (obviously to keep Apple from worrying) back when Xiaomi first released it the tech was bad mouthed for not being loud enough. Hopefully with the good press for the tech now that Vivo took it on too Xiaomi might bring it back for MIX 3.
  • If priced right if it comes west, it will instantly be a leader among the large number of devices all competing for a sliver of the mobile market not captured by Apple or Samsung...both have loyal customers that are difficult to poach. Going forward Obviously, it would need Google Play services.
  • so that screen is larger than the Note 8 and S9+, is that just taller? or is it wider too, ideally getting back to the width of a 16:9 phone like the LG V20, or Mate 9
  • The hardware on this phone appears be awesome, like njikoka said. The only gap, is how is the software/user experience?
  • Really hope the international version has front facing stereo speakers?
    FPS on the back and proximity sensor on the front?
  • That won't happen
  • Yea I know.
    I would actually settle for it actually working half as well as a normal phone.
    But that's not going to happen ether.
  • Never used Funtouch OS either but besides that the phone has some very high specs and a Xiaomi level build. It probably won't perform half as well as a normal phone but it definitely will perform several times better than one.
  • Camera has some very difficult physics to manage. ****** focal distance ect.
    In screen FPS had a way to go before it's as efficient as standard.
    Screen will have to be good to beat the best from Samsung.
    Haven't a clue about the UI but I doubt it will suit me.
    What "will" make it better?
  • This is a cool design, but I'd rather have a thin bezel than a retractable camera.
  • MIX 2S then.
  • This is quite an Innovative looking device, I wish I could get my hands on one.
  • It's funny how much high end hardware and storage they can cram into a sub 800 dollar phone, yet we get mediocre compromises with 1000 dollar overpriced hardware missing features.... *Cough cough Apple cough*
  • Well , i'm excited for it..Really looking forward to get one, surely swap that funtouchOS for an Android pure version or LineageOS !
  • Are you guys sure the proximity sensor isn't that flashing light within the bezel at the top of the phone, and not behind the screen? I'm referring to the video in this article.
  • The pricing is something from another planet and the fact that what was just a concept a few months ago is a reality now! good work done.