Vivo Nex review – Bezel-less and almost flawless

Vivo Nex was shown as a concept phone that was impressive, yet perceived as a phone for the future with no bezels and a pop-out selfie camera. Fast forward a few months and now the device is actually available for the users to buy in various markets. Vivo has proved that it is not just another Chinese company manufacturing iPhone clones and is here to innovate and try new things.

The year 2018 has seen almost every brand launch a smartphone with the “notch” because apparently, that is what sells in the market. This is where Nex stands out as one of the few flagship devices without a notch and even went a step further to have a bezel-less stunning display. There is a small chin and very thin borders but they are not noticeable around the 6.59-inch full-HD+Super AMOLED display.  The phone measure 162x77x7.98mm and weighs in about 200g with a solid build quality.

Vivo Nex

On the right, we have power and volume buttons whereas the left side houses a button to invoke Google assistant or Google Lens. We have the sim tray and loudspeaker at the bottom while on the top, there is the pop-out front camera. And, because the phone has a moving part in the form of the selfie camera, it is neither waterproof or dustproof. The display is the best part of the Vivo Nex. It is a gorgeous Super AMOLED panel that offers an immersive experience for media consumption. The 6.59-inch full-HD+ screen has an aspect ratio of 19.3:9 and a screen-to-body ratio of 93%. The ambient sensor is placed under the screen and works perfectly to adjust the screen brightness.

Under the hood, Vivo Nex sports the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset paired with 8GB of RAM which makes it a powerhouse. The device offers great performance and breezes past any tasks thrown at it whether it is a simple app or a very intensive game. The device is on par with every other flagship device in the market and performs consistently. There is 128GB of internal memory which is not expandable.

The phone runs on FuntouchOS 4.0 on top of Android 8.1 Oreo, which is very customizable compared to stock Android. The OS takes a lot of inspiration from iOS right from gestures for navigation to control center to toggle various options. There are a lot of options for accessing features on the Vivo Nex which might be overwhelming for a few users. The amount of bloatware also needs to reduce on these phones. But, overall the UI is snappy and we didn’t experience any lag in our daily usage.

When it comes to cameras on the Nex, it’s a mixed bag. On the back, there is a 12MP primary camera and a 5MP secondary sensor that helps in portrait mode. The details produced by the rear camera is very impressive with colors so rich and vibrant. There is no shutter lag and the autofocus is fast and precise. The images taken in the dark are also quite good, thanks to the 4 axis OIS on the Nex. The camera can also recognize some scenes and uses AI to auto adjust the settings as per the scene. The color does tend to be oversaturated sometimes which is not preferable. The portrait mode is good but not on par with devices like Pixel or OnePlus.

On the front, we have an 8MP selfie camera that comes popping out when switched to the front camera in the app. The selfie camera is slightly disappointing as it fails to capture enough details even in well-lit situations sometimes. It is a bit laggy and overexposes shots. The images taken at night or in low lights are on the softer side and have noise as well. The camera app offers modes like Professional, AR stickers, beauty mode etc to capture images with various options or animations.

Vivo has placed most of the sensors below the screen to make sure there is only screen on the front. As a result, even fingerprint scanner has been placed under the display. This was first seen in Vivo X21 and now on Vivo Nex, it has been made faster and more accurate. There is no earpiece, but Vivo is making use of a technology called Screen SoundCasting. There is a vibration motor that sends the waves through the display glass and the user will be able to listen to sound just like bone conduction technology. This needs to be improved a bit as sometimes we were not able to clearly hear the callers. Nex packs a 4,000mAh battery that supports Vivo’s proprietary fast charging technology. We were easily getting through a day and sometimes even more with the huge battery.

Overall, the Vivo Nex is a great smartphone and is priced at INR 44,990, similar to other flagship devices. The screen and the performance are top notch while the camera and sound can be improved a little. But, from a concept phone to actual device in a few months time is a great feat achieved by Vivo and hopefully the second generation Nex phone will be even better.