Let’s get straight down to business. The highlight and the innovative bit about this smartphone is its front pop-up camera. You’d pause for a moment and imagine it to be a marketing gimmick, a fancy feature many might not want to use, however, this one is legit innovation. For more reasons than one.
For starters and obvious reasons, the exclusion of a front-facing camera on the screen means that you get more screen. Which means, your device is now actually a notch-less charmer, stunning to behold. The camera pops out from the top of the frame when required and is hidden as wickedly as a camouflaged marine in a war zone, when not. The front cam rises to the occasion, only (obviously), when you invoke the selfie camera. The visual drama is well complemented by the sonic note, reminiscent of a certain Star Wars weapon that needs no introduction. You’ll figure it out. Psst. It rhymes with ‘flightfaber’.
The inclusion of a pop-up camera means that the Nex gets rid of the notch. Hence if you are from the ‘I hate notches’ team, this is good news. All screen, no notch.
Soccer field of a screen
The 6.59in screen is not meant for tiny palms. This is a truly massive smartphone, but it is well designed. It is almost bezel-less, not as much as the iPhone X but close enough. There is a bit of a chin at the bottom but it does not hurt that much. Especially once you set your eyes on the stunning OLED screen. Feed a Full HD video and you will be fixated on the visual performance. Colors pop and the levels of black levels are stunning, to put in mildly. A gorgeous screen means that apart from watching HD video content, gaming is a highly involving experience too. As you get your fix of action, simulation or trying just about any well-made game that offers bleeding-edge graphics, the Nex will continually impress your senses.
Where’s the sound?
If you try to hunt for stereo speakers on the Nex, you won’t find any. Here, the screen acts as the speaker for the phone. It does a fairly decent job of it, but don’t expect a truly high-def sense-drowning experience.
Finger licking not good?
In-display fingerprint scanners are the buzzword at the moment and Vivo is leading the game when it comes to this technology. We saw it earlier on the Vivo X21 and were fairly impressed. However, when it came to the NEX, we were simply not able to register our finger, in spite of endless scrubbing. We tried different fingers, requested different members of our team, yet failed. This could be an issue with this particular unit and we’ve asked Vivo to send us a replacement. Once that happens we will pick this issue up and update you.
Cameras: Click Click Pop
One of the highlights of this smartphone is that it features a pop-up front camera, due to which, there is no notch required on the screen. However, we weren’t completely convinced with the image quality it offered. Pictures shot on the 8-megapixel snapper were just about average. We hoped it would handle exposure better, improved bokeh and offer better color capture, however that wasn’t the case.
We also felt the camera could be a bit more snappier. Things get better as you focus on the rear cameras, which offer large 1.4-micrometer pixel sensors, a f/1.8 aperture and optical and electronic image stabilisation. Image performance from the rear camera is impressive when you shoot in daylight and good when you shoot in low-light.
All of the top features of a smartphone won’t mean much if the battery doesn’t live up to your expectations. In this case, however, Vivo has plonked in a massive 4,000 mAh battery, which chugs along nicely through the day. Bear in mind that there’s a top-grade Snapdragon 845 processor inside, well supported by 8GB of RAM, and a massive 6.59in screen. Yet you will have some juice left on the battery even when you retire to bed.
Conclusion – Game for NEX-gen?
The Vivo NEX smartphone is a step in the right direction. We want cameras to be neatly hidden and not hinder screen real estate. However, we hope there will be improvements in its selfie camera image quality and overall sound quality from the on-screen speaker. We absolutely love the gorgeous display and the good battery life. Vivo has taken a bold step here and we are keen to know if this will spawn a series of pop-up camera smartphones.