“It has a pop-up selfie camera.” That was the only thing I heard when the Vivo NEX was announced, and all other features faded into the background. Seriously, my main excitement over this phone stems from the fact that it has a mechanical camera that comes out when you take photos with the front-facing camera.
How would it work? Why the technical maneuvering to make this camera happen? Would it break after the gajillion selfies I take in a day? These were all questions I needed answers to. So, it’s time for a quick review — and by quick, I mean I’m only tackling the key features. (You can read the full hands-on review here.)
What’s the deal with this phone anyway?
The Vivo NEX, to us mere mortals (your average non-techie consumer), looks like a typical smartphone. Until you have to scan your fingerprint and take a selfie, that is. Of course, a number of people have given praise to this handset for being the future of smartphones — and I can’t blame them. In a sea of identical notched devices, a camera with moving parts sounds oh so exciting.
You’ll realize that the hype is real when you finally get this baby in your hands. Anything that feels less than premium in my hands is a big no-no for me, and the NEX doesn’t disappoint in this regard. Unlike the previous midrange Vivo releases that didn’t quite do it for me, this handset has a good weight to it and you can definitely feel the glass build.
Sure, it comes in drab black, but if the light hits right, you can see colors of the rainbow. No, really:
It’s a nice lighting touch, though to be honest, it just looks more black in most lighting scenarios. I’m pretty disappointed I’m not the dazzling unicorn I thought I’d be by using this phone, but that’s just me.
Do we really need all that screen?
A 91+ percent screen ratio is a big deal in terms of measurement and smartphone hype, but it’s just a bunch of numbers to me. Admittedly, however, the wider screen experience is good — the obsession with a wider screen in a smaller phone body is understandable for people with smaller hands like mine.
Speaking as someone who hides the notch when I have the option to, the lack of screen obtrusion is refreshing. More screen means a literal bigger picture, which is great when being viewed on a massive 6.59-inch Super AMOLED screen. As much as I’d love to say that’s a problem for the small-screened population, it’s the lack of standard in screen ratios that’s the real culprit, so I’ll leave it at that.
How does the fingerprint sensor feel?
Hidden in plain sight is the fingerprint sensor. Yes, it’s in the display! You know where to scan your fingerprint because when the phone’s locked, the area of the screen where you’re supposed to put your finger lights up.
How does this new technology fare? Well, it’s decent. Compared to other fingerprint scanners which take less than a second to unlock with a slight touch from your finger, the in-display sensor on this thing is less sensitive and it takes longer. You’d have to hold your finger precisely on the correct area of the screen for a second or two.
Call me spoiled, but in a time of talking refrigerators, that two-second delay feels so long. Impressive as an under-display fingerprint sensor may be, anything longer than a second just feels so laggy to impatient old me, especially since the only two options to unlock this phone is via the sensor or entering a code (which is so 2010). The phone isn’t equipped with face unlock technology since, to get to the front-facing camera, you’d need the phone unlocked.
Vivo offers an alternative to all this in the form of the lower-priced Vivo NEX A, though, so problem solved. That version of the NEX has an actual fingerprint scanner — the usual fast one — on the back of the phone.
What’s taking selfies with a pop-up camera like?
First of all, I’d like to admit: Taking selfies with a pop-up camera is pretty cool. The reaction I get when other people see this moving part on my phone is priceless.
How it works is the camera pops up every time you flip the camera to selfie mode. The whole thing barely makes a sound, though there are options to add a sound effect every time the cam came out, but I refused to turn that on because who wants an alert every time a selfie is attempted? It’s a pretty smooth movement so once the novelty faded out, there were times I even forgot it was happening.
Forgetting that tiny protruding camera was actually what scared me. One too many times, I’d accidentally tap the selfie camera option and, without me noticing, the camera would come out. This happened in my bag, in my hands, or even on my cluttered desk, and every time I was scared I’d break this tiny moving part.
Sure, Vivo said they did drop tests and that the camera can pop up to 50,000 times (Chay did the math: That’s 137 years if you only take one selfie per day), but does that mean it’s Isa-proof? It did survive more than a week in my hands, but I don’t think that thing would’ve survived a solid drop if it so happened with the camera out. (Because let’s be honest, everyone drops their phones.)
The selfie camera on the NEX is pretty good and I love how its AI beauty mode is so subtle but effective. Of course, the beauty mode can still be too much at optimum settings, but who told you to amp up the filter that high, Brenda?
Additionally, the rear cameras are pretty good, too. Honestly, it’s a pretty capable IG camera. See for yourself:
For more photo samples, check out our 24 Hours at the World Cup with the Vivo NEX.
Do I likey?
Me likey what I’ve seen so far.
If you’re in the business of reviewing phones and gadgets, it’s easy to get bored with all the identical phones being churned out nowadays. That being said, it’s also easy to get carried away by something just by virtue of it being different.
Truth be told, this is one solid phone from Vivo. Honestly, it’s a flagship that I would totally use, even for just the selfie camera. But, on top of it being novel, I’m happy to report that it performs well, all things considered. Despite caveats, it’s a phone that pushes boundaries and dares to stray from what conventional smartphones are making.
And, don’t we all love that exciting wildcard? C’mon, live a little and take poppin’ (pun intended) selfies along the way.
These new Ikea curtains fight indoor pollution by filtering air
Talk about being functional!
Ikea has just announced groundbreaking technology that will not only add to your home decorating or homemaking ventures, as the brand has been apt to do; it will also help keep your living space cleaner by purifying indoor air.
This is Ikea’s Gunrid curtain and it works just like a plant: It breaks down harmful pollutants when it gets in contact with light. The fabric itself has undergone “mineral-based surface treatment” which enables it to destroy common indoor air pollutants like formaldehyde and odor. And since the tech is in the fabric, future products aren’t, in theory, limited to just curtains.
Unknown to most, indoor air pollution is a big deal with some living spaces found to have conditions five times worse than other parts of the world and a higher death toll than outdoor pollution. Mauricio Affonso, Product Developer at Ikea Range & Supply says, “We are creating an affordable and space-saving air purifying solution that also makes the home more beautiful.”
Ikea hopes to put these Gunrid curtains on shelves by 2020.
Samsung announces new generation of wearables
These include a tracker, watch, and wireless buds
Aside from the numerous Samsung flagships announced at Unpacked in San Francisco, there were also a number of wearables announced: The Galaxy Watch Active, Galaxy Fit, Galaxy Fit e, and the Galaxy Buds.
The Galaxy Watch Active is the sporty version of Samsung’s Galaxy Watch but without the iconic spinning bezel. It’s equipped with stress, fitness, and sleep tracking, plus GPS, NFC, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth capabilities. Of course, it also has Bixby built in.
The watch also has wireless charging capabilities which will work well with the PowerShare-capable Galaxy S10. It runs on an Exynos 9110 processor and a 230mAh battery. It’ll come in four pretty colors: rose gold, sea green, black, and silver. It’ll be available on March 8 in the US for US$ 200.
The Galaxy Fit and Fit e are slim fitness wearables that will automatically track your activities. Equipped with a heart rate monitor and a 0.95-inch AMOLED display, this water-resistant baby is perfect for those who want something less obtrusive. They’ll be available in the second quarter of 2019.
Last but not least: The Galaxy Buds. Powered by AKG, you’re ensured a great listening experience. It boasts six hours of battery life for streaming and five hours on calls, with an additional seven hours with its charging case. That same case gives 1.7 hours of power on a 15-minute charge. Of course, it also has wireless charging.
These Buds are available starting March 8 and they’ll retail for US$ 129. It comes in three colors: black, white, and a fun yellow.
Instagram photo challenge with the Samsung Galaxy S10
Hands-on with all three versions!
Samsung’s newest Galaxy S devices have just been announced and we’re blessed with three versions: The Samsung Galaxy S10e (small), the Galaxy S10 (big), and the Galaxy S10+ (big big!).
Each phone is equipped with a number of cameras so you know what that means: IG photo test!
In our Her GadgetMatch video, we check out what’s so cool about the new Samsung phones and test what the cameras can do. Spoiler: They do a lot!
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