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Vivo NEX S Review – A valiant first attempt

Vivo NEX S Review – A valiant first attempt

This yr has seen a lot of unconventional smartphones however few can in all probability outdo the bezel-less, notch-less smartphones with elevating cameras. Vivo blazed the path with its Apex prototype that it stated wouldn’t be commercialized. A few months later, the Vivo NEX S launched with virtually precisely the identical options because the prototype. However is the NEX S all aptitude and no substance? Is it only a smartphone with a reasonably face and a gimmick however nothing extra? We take a tough good luck on the Vivo NEX S to convey you the solutions.


It’s arduous to disclaim that the most important attraction of the NEX S is its seems to be. No different telephone, save for the OPPO Discover X, can boast of that a lot display occupying the face. 91.24% display to be actual. And that’s with out giving method to a notch and having a really small chin. Sure, there’s nonetheless a chin, nevertheless it’s barely noticeable.

The again of the telephone would have been boring as compared if not for Vivo’s inventive aptitude. The again reveals quite a lot of colours that rely upon how mild is mirrored from the glass floor. The impact is dazzling and can make you hesitant to placed on a case.

You may need to, although, particularly for those who’re not used to holding up a heavy telephone. At 199 grams, the Vivo NEX is definitely one of many heaviest smartphones amongst flagships of its display measurement. That could be as a result of extra elements being crammed inside, particularly the motor that pushes and pulls the digital camera contraption. That added heft, nevertheless, additionally has the impact of creating it really feel extra strong whereas the marginally curved again lets the telephone relaxation comfortably and securely in your hand.

The most important design flaw of the Vivo NEX S, nevertheless, is technical. Because of shifting elements, it doesn’t have any mud and waterproof score. So whereas the telephone could also be sturdy to some extent, it might simply fall prey to the weather. Undoubtedly not one thing you’d need to get moist beneath the rain.


The NEX S is nearly typical on the subject of hardware specs. It runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, helped by eight GB of RAM, and boasting 128 or 512 GB of storage. It makes use of a USB-C port and nonetheless has a three.5 mm headphone jack. We’ll get to the cameras later however, suffice to say, the Vivo NEX S is true up there with this yr’s Android smartphone flagships.

Given how entrance and middle the display is, it deserves specific consideration. It makes use of a 6.59-inch Tremendous AMOLED show from Samsung with a pixel decision of 2316×1080. Not fairly QHD or 1440p however does meet the necessities for 2K. The weird decision does imply some letterboxing is unavoidable. Being an OLED display from Samsung, you’d presume the NEX S would exhibit efficiency like that of, say, the Galaxy S9 or the Galaxy Notice 9. It does get the distinction and blacks proper however doesn’t attain the utmost brightness that Samsung’s personal telephones boast of. The display additionally tends to favor reds and blues greater than the greens, giving it vibrant however lower than correct colours.

The most important offense that the NEX S makes in relation to specs, nevertheless, is what’s lacking. Having no wi-fi charging is probably forgivable and when you go for the very best 512 GB storage choice, having no microSD card enlargement is nearly negligible. However mix these two with the truth that the telephone has no NFC chip inside, you’ll start to see the place Vivo might have minimize corners to realize its design and trick. Meaning no cellular cost choices, be it Google Pay or no matter China has in its stead.

Digital camera

Subsequent to the display, that digital camera gimmick is the opposite largest spotlight of the Vivo NEX S. And, admittedly, it’s a gimmick that by no means will get previous. Open an app that should use the entrance digital camera and it slides out. Silently by default although you possibly can decide your selection of attention-grabbing sound impact. Change to a unique app or shut the app and the digital camera slides again in. The mechanism defies expectation in that it’s quick, slightly below two seconds, and durable. Whether or not it is going to stand the wear and tear and tear of on a regular basis use, nevertheless, is just not one thing we will reply instantly.

Sadly, it’s virtually only for present. As a result of whereas the elevating mechanism could also be spectacular, the precise digital camera isn’t. It’s not atrocious however the eight megapixel f/ digital camera leaves a lot to be desired. It’s largest perk is its Face Magnificence AI, besides that it’s very aggressive and tends to supply creamy outcomes. It is perhaps massively in style in China, however others may discover it disturbing.

The telephone just isn’t a misplaced trigger, fortunately. The primary digital camera, made up of a 12 megapixel f/1.eight sensor with four-axis OIS and dual-pixel PDAF paired with a 5 megapixel f/2.four depth sensor, is nice if not a minimum of respectable. It’s not probably the greatest, thoughts, however you’d be stunned at how good it truly is. Underneath vibrant and excellent circumstances, the NEX S produces spectacular outcomes with shiny colours and correct particulars. It does appear to err on the aspect of oversaturation which, just like the aggressive Magnificence Mode, appears to be designed to cater to social media greater than skilled images. Oddly, the digital camera data 2K and 1080p movies at a most of 30 fps solely.


The Vivo NEX S has one other hidden trick: it doesn’t have an earpiece speaker on prime. As an alternative, it makes use of vibrations to show the highest half of the show right into a sound conduit. Vivo calls this “Screen SoundCasting” and it makes use of the identical piezoelectric speaker, which makes use of a vibration motor, that the Xiaomi Mi Combine has, with one delicate however necessary distinction. The NEX S gained’t broadcast what you’re listening to to others, even when they’re inside listening to vary. That crisp and clear audio is in your ears solely.

However whereas the NEX S’ higher speaker is revolutionary, its most important bottom-facing speaker is completely abnormal, virtually unimpressive. It’s loud however does overemphasize bass to the purpose of sacrificing larger tones. Due to the Display SoundCasting function, Vivo couldn’t make the most of the “earpiece speaker” to create a stereo audio impact. Luckily, the NEX S does have a built-in DAC so you’ll be able to at the very least plug in respectable headphones to get extra satisfying audio.

Fingerprint Scanner

It virtually looks like the NEX S by no means runs out of get together tips, and right here’s yet one more. It has a fingerprint on show (FOD) or in-screen fingerprint scanner. No shock there, actually, since Vivo was the first on the scene after Samsung and Apple gave up on the know-how too quickly. Fortuitously, the know-how has had time to mature between the Vivo X21 UD and the NEX S, in any other case, this may have been a disappointing story.

The sensor is quick however not totally correct. It might take a while to get used to, particularly since it is advisable faucet on a selected spot, in contrast to the Vivo Apex prototype that proposed a sensor space that occupied half the display. Because it depends on mild, it can be thrown off by totally different lighting circumstances. FOD know-how, nevertheless, continues to be in its early days. Sadly, this isn’t one thing that may be fastened by a software program replace solely.

The Vivo NEX S doesn’t have any face recognition to talk of, which might be for one of the best contemplating you’d have to attend for the digital camera to pop up earlier than you’ll be able to unlock your telephone. That stated, sibling and rival OPPO does precisely that with the Discover X. Paradoxically, that one has no fingerprint scanner in any respect.

Software program

Whereas the NEX S to date appears to be a balanced combine of excellent options and compromises, software program is the place the smartphone falls flat on its face. That’s, relying on the place you’re coming from. Android customers who complain about how Samsung’s TouchWiz mutilated the platform has maybe by no means heard of the likes of Vivo’s Funtouch OS. Or OPPO’s ColorOS and Xiaomi’s MIUI, for that matter. If there’s a standard thread between these Chinese language Android customizations is that they’re, or a minimum of have been, unabashedly aiming for an iOS feel and appear.

That may undoubtedly be your first impression of the NEX S’ model of Android. Vivo’s Funtouch even tries to repeat the brand new iPhone X gestures, and even the now out of date management middle that slides up from the underside. And it isn’t all the time fairly or efficient. In case you’re coming from some other Android expertise, the adjustment interval can be lengthy and painful. Should you’re already a Vivo consumer, you then’ll haven’t any drawback in any respect.

That’s not the one software program drawback although. The NEX S options Vivo’s personal attempt at an AI assistant referred to as Jovi. And, unsurprisingly, it has its personal devoted button. Neither are helpful to anybody outdoors of China. Talking of which, when you do find yourself getting a Chinese language mannequin, you’ll have no Google Play Providers. Fashions bought in different markets, like India, luckily, haven’t any such drawback.

Efficiency and Battery

So how does the Vivo NEX S carry out within the real-world? Surprisingly properly, to be frank. In no small half because of the Snapdragon 845 and eight GB of RAM, the smartphone stays quick and responsive. Which is a shock given how heavy Funtouch’s customizations could be. Nevertheless, regardless of all of its gimmicks or maybe due to it, Vivo didn’t have sufficient room for some fancy water cooling system, so do watch out when taxing the factor.

Battery life is usually a hit and miss. The four,000 mAh pack can final you two days at most, a day plus a number of hours a minimum of. The discrepancy is partly as a consequence of Funtouch’s somewhat aggressive and unpredictable reminiscence administration. You gained’t be dashing for a plug earlier than the day is over however don’t financial institution on stretching it out. Luckily, the NEX S does function some very quick charging to make up for that.


So do you have to purchase the Vivo NEX S? When you reside outdoors of China or one of many markets the place it’s formally bought, the reply is straightforward: no. The software program complications that include Funtouch, notably the shortage of Google Play Retailer, is greater than sufficient to spoil the expertise of an in any other case fancy wanting however gimmicky smartphone. However in the event you do have quick access to the telephone, the scales nonetheless tip extra in the direction of the adverse.

The NEX S undoubtedly seems to be nice and is a superb dialog starter, however you aren’t precisely getting the perfect that the market has to supply. Whereas it undoubtedly looks like the smartphone of the longer term, judging by the current collection of flagships, even Vivo and OPPO themselves appear to have given up on that future already.