Vivo Nex full-screen handset kisses notches goodbye

A few folks like to have meat around their phone screen for gripping, but the the majority of the market for high-end phones has pronounced that display bezels are terrible and must be eliminated at all costs. So far, that has mostly meant re-positioning things like fingerprint sensors and sticking front-facing sensors into notches carved into the display. Chinese phone maker Vivo has gone a different route for its flagship Nex phone, relegating the self-portrait camera to a flip-out pod and equipping the device with a novel "Screen SoundCasting" ear speaker and a stuff-of-legends in-display fingerprint reader.

All of these technological hijinks allow the 6.6" Super AMOLED display to cover over 91% of the Nex's body. That screen's 2316x1080 resolution isn't setting any records in the segment, but its still good for just over 400 PPI. The 193:90 aspect ratio doesn't reduce well, so it's probably just easier to say 2.14:1. A fingerprint scanner is hidden beneath the bottom section of the screen, unlike some recent phones that have moved biometric authentication to the side or the back of the body.

The Screen SoundCasting tech uses the entire screen as a speaker in a fashion similar to a bone-conduction speaker. Vivo says this technology provides better bass response than regular speakers, along with allowing for more room on the phone's face for the display. Vivo didn't talk about battery life, though the 4000-mAh battery is rather capacious. However, it also has its work cut out for it powering such a large screen.

The insides of the Nex are typical 2018 Android flagship, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 calling the shots and peeking and poking at 8 GB of memory. The company didn't detail the storage options, but TechRadar says the Nex gets 256 GB of onboard storage and the less-expensive Nex S gets 128 GB. The outlet says the company will make a similar model called the Nex A that swaps out the top-shelf Snapdragon 845 in favor of the spanking-new midrange Snapdragon 710 SoC paired with 6 GB of RAM. None of the Nex handsets get a microSD card slot.

The front-facing camera is an eight-megapixel unit with an f/2.0 aperture that pops up when the user activates it, and slides back in automatically within a couple seconds of closing the camera app. The rear camera has a 12-MP main sensor with an f/2.0 lens working in conjunction with a 5-MP, f/2.4 unit. It's possible that the packaging of the user-facing camera could preclude face-recognition technology for user identification. The Nex has a headphone jack on the top and a USB Type-C connector on the bottom. The company didn't make any claims regarding dust and water intrusion resistance, though.

Vivo probably isn't a familiar brand name to most gerbils, but its parent company BBK Electronics counts OnePlus and Oppo among its marques. BBK is the second-largest manufacturer of smartphones in the world and also makes products sold under the Philco and Memorex names in the US.

We aren't so sure if the Vivo Nex can handle the dusty lunar environment

Ars Technica reports that Vivo will sell the Nex in China for ¥4,498, a figure that comes out to around $700. The Snapdragon 710-powered Nex A will reportedly cost the equivalent of about $600.

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