Vivo produced one of the most eye-catching handsets this year, the Nex. Most notable were its mechanical popup camera and bezel-less display, wowing critics and consumers alike.
Even so, it seemed nothing more than a nice, first attempt at eliminating the notch, but not a premium phone that can rub elbows with the likes of Apple's iPhone X and Google's Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
It is not yet clear whether Nex's successor, the just-unveiled Nex Dual Display Edition, can rise to the ranks of Apple, Samsung, or Google. Actually, chances are it's not going to.
Instead, Vivo has created a phone that proudly differentiates itself from the rest of the pack. It does this by having two OLED displays, a 3D camera, 10 GB of RAM, and a lot more luxurious extras.
Vivo Nex Dual Display Edition
To be sure, phones with dual displays are not a novelty. ZTE's Nubia X has the best execution of this design by far.
Until now, of course. While Nubia X retains the rear cameras and tacks on a display on the back, the Vivo Nex Dual Display Edition reinvents this all together and adds a "Lunar Ring" on the back that changes color to signify notifications or glow softly to create diffused lighting for taking selfies in low-light situations. The phone's rear display is much larger than that of the Nubia X, too, and it looks far more integrated because of its thinner bezels.
There is a Time Of Flight 3D f/1.3 lens on the back apart from the standard 12-megapixel primary camera backed with a 2-megapixel secondary module. The 3D camera, according to Vivo, adds point-to-point distance measuring and secure facial recognition to unlock the rear display. It's also apparently for "personalized beautification," although it is not clear what that entails.
Because the rear display is large enough, Vivo chose to omit a front-facing camera altogether. It's still possible to take selfies, of course by just turning the phone around and using the back display. Anyway, it is a 5.5-inch 16:9 1080p display, which should be more than enough.
Going to the front, there is a 6.4-inch screen with a resolution of 2,340 x 1,080, and yes, it got a functional in-display fingerprint sensor, a module Vivo popularized this year.
Vivo thinks two displays can be used in different scenarios. In one example, the company showed the second display being used as an extra touchpad for gaming, which is similar to how the PlayStation Vita works.
Vivo Nex Dual Display Edition Specs
As for the specs, the phone boasts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 10 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage, and a respectable 3,500 mAh of battery capacity. The phone supports 10 V fast-charging over its USB-C port. Also, it's got a headphone jack.
The Vivo Nex Dual Display Edition seems to be a promising phone, except a little risky. It's risky because it's still unclear what the broader smartphone market thinks of phones with two displays. It means Vivo is making a gamble here. It's promising because Vivo, unlike other manufacturers, is clearly trying its best to deviate from the trend of notches. That means innovation, which seems to be something that other companies need more of these days.