Remember when every other smartphone had a notch and Vivo showed us a concept without one? That was exactly a year ago.
That device, the APEX 2018, did not become available in the market, but the all-display concept — with a pop-up camera and under-display fingerprint scanner — has since rolled out to Vivo smartphones you can buy today.
This year, they came up with a new concept phone — one without any buttons or holes. The APEX 2019 won’t be available for purchase as well, but as is the case with Vivo, we can expect some of these experimental features to trickle down to actual smartphones in the near future — first in the NEX line, and then to the V series.
The premise of Vivo’s concept phone this year is simple but also controversial: a singular piece of glass you can interact with; one without any buttons or ports.
They believe that the display should be the exclusive focal point of human interaction, eliminating other design obstructions by reimagining them using other technology.
Vivo calls this approach Super Unibody — a phone carved out of a single piece of glass.
Unlike any other smartphone, there is no metal frame to hold it together on the sides. There are no physical buttons either. Of course one could argue the display is a separate piece of glass altogether.
To further drive home the simplicity concept, there also aren’t any speaker grilles, USB-C port, headphone jack, SIM card tray, or a selfie camera.
Even the back cameras are flushed against the body. If you must take a selfie, the back is reflective enough to be used as a mirror.
We were shown this concept phone in three colors: Meteor Gray, Quartz White, and Titan Silver. The white one especially is a looker and is smudge-proof.
While the phone isn’t going on sale, the next-generation Vivo NEX will probably come in these three colors as well.
To say that it’s beautiful would be an understatement. It’s a pleasure to look at and hold.
The challenge for up and coming brands like Vivo to make their mark in this very saturated and fiercely competitive smartphone market is sometimes undervalued. We appreciate how they are doing their part to innovate, as well as paint a picture of what smartphones of the future could look like.
How will the phone work without buttons or ports?
Vivo believes good design respects user habits. So while they took away all the physical buttons, it doesn’t mean the functions aren’t there anymore.
Vivo moved a lot of said functions to the part you interact with the most: the screen.
Combining pressure-sensing technology and capacitive touch, Vivo was able to reimagine the power and volume buttons here on the side.
You can’t really press them anymore, but there is haptic feedback so it would still resemble the feeling of touching actual buttons.
Oh, and the speakers? Vivo is trying screen sound casting technology once again. When we tried it on last year’s APEX we found that it wasn’t really loud enough to replace real speakers.
This year, Vivo says the choice of materials and shape of the glass at the back of the APEX 2019 make all the difference. They weren’t kidding. The sound coming out of the display is actually loud and clear.
Full-display fingerprint scanning
It’s only been a year, but we can’t forget it was actually Vivo and its partner Synaptics that put under-display fingerprint scanners for smartphones on the map.
It’s still not as good nor as fast as physical fingerprint readers, but since most of its competitors have caught up, Vivo hopes to elevate the tech even further by making the entire display a fingerprint reader.
It employs what Vivo calls fingerprint light. As the name suggests, pixels light up as an additional light source to help scan your fingerprint. We tried it and it works as advertised.
How does one charge or transfer files without a single port?
While it’s technically not a port, Vivo put inductive charging pins called Magport on the back of the phone as a charging and data transfer solution.
The Magport-to-USB cable magnetically latches on and the phone starts charging immediately. It should work the same way when transfering files.
One thing we would have wanted to finally see Vivo implement, and it would have made a lot of sense for this concept device, is wireless charging.
A wireless charging solution is an easy thing to do for Vivo, but the company says it’s wireless data transfer that’s still not very reliable right now.
Coming up NEX
The APEX 2019 is also Vivo’s first 5G device powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855. It has 12GB of RAM, 512GB of internal storage, and runs on Android Pie — all of which are specs and features we can expect to see on an upcoming Vivo NEX smartphone.
Oh, and one last thing, because there’s no SIM card tray on the APEX, we’ll likely see a combination of a regular SIM card and eSIM once this concept trickles down to a retail product.
Are you excited about Vivo’s vision of the future? If you could imagine the smartphone of the future, how would it look and what would it do?
PH3 wireless headphones is a wearable Filipino pride
A limited-edition offering that gives back
Electronics manufacturer H-Audio has been providing quality products to its market when it comes to audio solutions. While they have a select lineup of offerings, it caters to different types of users.
What we have here is the PH3 that screams Filipino pride as soon as you put it on. Read on and find out if it performs as good as it looks.
It has a straightforward design
Three stars and a sun on each earcup
Solid build quality
Clasps comfortably on the head
Comfortable ear cups
What I personally like about the PH3 when it comes to design is how it has a minimalistic kind of approach with just the three stars, sun, and stripes of red and blue. Apart from these Philippine flag-inspired colors, everything else is white. Sure, it might require extra effort to keep it clean, but it’s just something that works aesthetically.
Build quality feels durable and not flimsy which is what I look for next to sound quality. This is made possible by using stainless steel for the headband support and hard plastic for the rest — making it light, but tough.
It has a nice fit around the ears and wearing it for extended periods of time was still comfortable thanks to its memory foam earmuffs. I’ve used it a couple of times while running on the treadmill and the earcups remained snug and in place.
When it comes to sound quality, let’s get to the point — the PH3 delivers. It’s got warm and distinct mids, decent highs, and impressive lows. The overall sound is what you’d expect of closed-back headphones and leans on the muffled side of the sound spectrum.
One thing I noticed, though, is that sound leaks a little to the outside world so you might want to keep that in mind when you’re in an elevator with other people or something.
Connection via Bluetooth was easy and automatically pairs to the phone each time the headphones is turned on. That alone is a big check for me.
The company says it has up to 20 hours of battery life. While I was not able to continuously use it, the headphones lasted me about five days with ANC off and mainly using it for music at the gym, walking around the neighborhood, or even just at home.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
H-Audio’s PH3 is a reliable pair of cans with minimal drawbacks. It might require extra care to keep it clean and sound leak at full volume might be an issue for a select few. Looking past those, however, you have a good set of headphones that not only performs well but also looks attractive with its touch of a local theme.
Additionally, its features like wireless connectivity and Active Noise Cancellation make operations easier and add to the overall music-listening experience.
Priced at PhP 7,480, proceeds will go to platforms to raise funds and help the underprivileged Filipino youth. The PH3 is available in select The Loop by Power Mac Center branches, Urban Gadgets, and The Listening Room. For more list of stores carrying their products, visit their Facebook page.
Professional home: Panasonic’s ES-LV6Q premium men’s shaver
‘Powerful, reliable, and easy to travel with’
Are you a fan of a fresh, clean shave? For most, professional gentlemen, an electric shaver is one of their most important grooming tools. Maintaining a look that’s both clean and professional is quick and easy with a good, electronic shaver. Panasonic’s new premium tool — the ES-LV6Q — promises a job done well enough as if a professional did it by hand. So, we put it to the test.
We asked for the help of Sergio, 32, who works in sales here in Germany. He goes to a good number of meetings every week, representing their company. So it’s no wonder that he spends a lot of his mornings, shaving to keep a clean appearance.
“I’ve been using an electric shaver for years but the one I’ve had never really got the job done quickly. I have to keep going over the same spot a couple of times before I get a smooth shave,” he shared with GadgetMatch.
The shaver’s head is flexible and moves up to six directions, making movement along the curves of the face practically seamless. The five blades can also get as close as possible to the skin, without hurting the person using it. One of the blades is shaped like a comb, making it easier to catch each strand. Each area of the face is also clean after going through it just once — no more razor burns. Even during a dry shaving session.
Great for travel
The ES-LV6Q also travels well. An hour’s worth of charging will give you up to 45 minutes of use, making it perfect for business trips. It also comes with a travel pouch and has a blade protection clip that can help keep it safe in your suitcase while traveling.
“With the powerful motor and the blades that get every hair, it takes me a minimum of four minutes to shave. If my hair has gotten a bit longer and it needs a bit of trimming first, I go no longer than six minutes,” Sergio added. “At the speed that I can go with the ES-LV6Q, a full charge can last me up to two weeks,” Sergio added.
The shaver is also completely waterproof making it perfect for wet or dry use. Despite shaving as close as possible with the power of the 14,000 CPM Linear Motor, Sergio reported no irritation on his skin.
Another feature that Sergio liked a lot was the clipper that can be used for sideburns. It’s also great for people who just want to trim their facial hair. “It’s great for weekends or when you want to keep a little stubble,” he added.
Cleaning is also a breeze. It’s easy to do after every shave under the tap. All Sergio has to do is add some hand soap and activate the sonic vibration cleaning mode. This, by pressing the power button for more than two seconds. Removing the gadget’s outer foil section is also an easy task and putting it under running water makes for a thorough rinse. A gentle shake plus a quick wipe down and you’re done for the day.
Sergio’s always ready for a client presentation using Panasonic’s ES-LV6Q shaver. “This Panasonic 5-Blade Men’s shaver has all the features I require in a grooming gadget and more. It’s powerful, reliable, and easy to travel with. I’m really satisfied with the results! ” Sergio concluded.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite Hands-on
For those who want a Note 10 on a budget
In this year’s CES, a Lite variant of the Galaxy Note 10 has been announced — but it’s not lite on features at all.
You can watch the video above to know more. If you’re having a hard time viewing it, click this link to watch our hands-on.
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