Earlier this year, Vivo wowed the world by unveiling the very first functioning in-display fingerprint scanner on a smartphone. This week, the Chinese brand made news once again with a concept phone like no other. Introducing, the Vivo APEX.
In between events here at Barcelona, we met with the team from Vivo to spend some time with the prototype everyone’s been talking about. Immediately you’ll notice the phone is all display. There are hardly any bezels, and there sure isn’t any notch.
And, it’s gorgeous.
This device is almost all screen — the most screen we’ve ever seen on a smartphone!
The bezels on this thing are almost nonexistent. The bottom bezel is 4.3mm, while the top and side bezels are 1.8mm.
Vivo says that if they reduced the bottom bezel to 1.8mm also, the phone would have a whopping 98 percent screen-to-body ratio.
Improving on their under-display fingerprint sensor, they’re now making a larger area on the bottom half of the screen. This whole space is now an area for you to unlock the phone, not just one spot like on the X20.
You can also set two fingers to unlock the device. What you see here is just a demo to show off what the phone can do, not actual software.
It can require two different fingerprints, instead of just one. It works with fingerprints from two different people also — it’s like needing two signatures to withdraw money from a joint bank account.
The APEX also boasts Screen SoundCasting technology which turns the display into a speaker. It uses vibrations on the screen to create sound.
To make space for all that display, Vivo had to find other places to put things like sensors, the earpiece, and selfie camera…
… yep, let’s see that again from another angle…
The highlight of this borderless smartphone is this unique camera placement. The front-facing shooter comes out from the top of the phone when the selfie mode is activated.
As to how all this technology will be applied to actual retail phones, we have yet to see. One thing’s for sure, though: Vivo is definitely pushing the bounds of smartphone technology and that is leading to innovations that we want to see more of in the future.
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Huawei Nova 2 lite Hands-on
A serious contender in the midrange scene
The success of the Huawei Nova 2i in the Philippines prompted the company that a follow-up is in order. Enter the Huawei Nova 2 lite. It’s pegged as the Nova 2i’s sibling with a more affordable price tag.
As we’ve mentioned during its announcement, the smartphone carries a large 5.99-inch display encased in a 6.5-inch body so the face isn’t bothered much by bezels. Resolution maxes out at HD 720p, but has a FullView panel also seen on the Nova 2i. This comes as a part of the company’s plan to include features usually offered on higher-tier handsets.
Additionally, it carries an 18:9 aspect ratio which fits most videos on its entire screen — making video consumption more enjoyable as the display is almost covered up by the content.
Up top, there’s a single 8-megapixel shooter with its own Toning Flash that promises to take pleasing skin tones. After a few shots in low-light places, we couldn’t help but notice that the skin tone comes out a bit pale. We’d have to do a full review to be certain. Additionally, it also has the Perfect Selfie feature seen on the Huawei P10 that creates a user profile based on the edits you want.
Meanwhile, at the back, is where the dual cameras are located. It’s a combination of 13- and 2-megapixel sensors which are used for producing bokeh shots. We’ve tried using it and the depth of field wasn’t that creamy enough for us — at least for the first few shots.
There’s an aperture level slider that should increase or decrease the depth of field but it’s hard to see the difference. Check out the samples with aperture level one (left) and aperture level seven (right) and be the judge.
To top it off, the smartphone comes with built-in phase detection autofocus (PDAF) to ensure sharp images even with moving subjects. We’ve shot some moving subjects and it does a decent job of minimizing motion blurs.
Inside, it runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 430 chipset with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and Android 8.0 Oreo layered with EMUI 8.0 out of the box. Everyday tasks are easily handled by the phone and even proved itself capable of handling a few games here and there whenever you have the extra time.
The battery is rated at 3000mAh and the phone is equipped with a fingerprint scanner, in addition to face unlock for added security. We’re actually satisfied with how fast the phone recognizes a face. It takes less than a second to unlock the screen in bright conditions and about one full second when used in dimly lit areas.
Even with little light, it could still detect the person’s face which is, of course, a good thing.
It will initially be available in black and gold with this striking blue color coming later on. It is available for PhP 9,990 and comes with freebies when you pre-order. Stay tuned for our full review as we put this affordable midranger to the test.
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Testament to Nokia’s craftsmanship
Two years after making its big comeback, Nokia is slowly filling in the pieces of its Android smartphone lineup. The star of course has to be the new Nokia 8 Sirocco, the most premium from the announcements at Mobile World Congress.
But our favorite is the Nokia 7 Plus, a near-borderless Android One phone with Zeiss optics and a beautiful build.
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