Vivo NEX 3 review: the first truly frameless smartphone


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Large Chinese smartphone manufacturers have recently become very interested in the Ukrainian market and

in a short period of time they officially “entered” Ukrainetwo very impressive players are Vivo and Oppo, which at one time started under the wing of the BBK corporation (like OnePlus and Realme). Actually, vivo was founded by a native of BBK. According to data for the first quarter of 2019, vivo is in fifth place in the world in smartphone sales with a share of 7.4%. The brand has quite an extensive experience and track record. The company was born in 2011 and during this time managed to release the world's first smartphone with an under-screen fingerprint scanner and used a pop-up front camera for the first time. Earlier, I remember, it was Vivo that released the first smartphone with 6 GB of RAM, and there were also models with high-quality DACs. The company first decided to test the waters and released a number of budget and mid-price smartphones in Ukraine (in particular, Vivo V15 Pro, which we have already reviewed), and now it has decided to roll out a flagship solution. It was the hero of today's review, Vivo NEX 3, the main feature of which is the use of a curved POLED display Waterfall FullView that smoothly flows into the side edges of the device.

  1. What is it?
  2. What is interesting in vivo NEX 3?
  3. What is included?
  4. What does the vivo NEX 3 look like?
  5. How good is the screen?
  6. What are the unlock methods?
  7. What about performance, memory, sound and autonomy?
  8. What about the interface?
  9. How good are the cameras?
  10. In the dry residue

What is it?

Vivo NEX 3 is a flagship smartphone with a curvedPOLED display with a diagonal of 6.89 inches, a top-end Snapdragon processor, 8 GB of RAM, a triple main camera of 64 MP, a pop-up front camera and a large battery.

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What is interesting in vivo NEX 3?


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Vivo NEX 3 received a lot of interesting and unusualdecisions. For starters, that same waterfall screen. Screens curved at the edges have been used for several years by various manufacturers, but in this case the display is wrapped and smoothly flows into the side edges in such a way that the side frames are not visible at all. It uses a 6.89-inch POLED matrix with a resolution of 2256x1080 and HDR support, without cutouts. Another unusual solution is the abandonment of the usual physical buttons on the side. Instead, it uses a Touch Sense system with an X-axis haptic response mechanism. The internals are also impressive: the top-end and probably the most powerful processor among Android smartphones, Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+, is responsible for the performance, complemented by 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB storage. The rear camera consists of three modules: the main one is 64-megapixel with f/1.8 optics. It is assisted by a 13-megapixel telephoto lens with f/2.48 aperture and a 13-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens with f/2.2 aperture. The front camera is retractable, 16 megapixels, f/2.09 with flash. Unlike most modern flagship smartphones, vivo NEX 3 has a headphone jack. Moreover, the sound quality is ensured by a DAC with an Asahi Kasei AK4377A amplifier. This did not stop us from installing a large 4500 mAh battery in the smartphone, which supports fast charging up to 22.5 W. All the necessary wireless interfaces are present, including NFC, which works with Google Pay. In-screen fingerprint scanner.

What is included?


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Vivo NEX 3 comes in a beautiful black boxsquare in shape, but on the front there is only the name of the line and a stylized image of the main camera module. The kit includes the smartphone itself, a Type-C cable, a 22.5 W charger, a wired in-ear headset XE710, a protective bumper, a protective film (immediately on the screen), a tool for removing the tray and documentation. Ukrainian buyers will also receive vouchers for PUBG equipment and 24 months of warranty service.


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The bumper is very decent: black, with a nice embossed texture.


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What does the vivo NEX 3 look like?


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The first thing that immediately catches your eye isa truly huge Waterfall FullView display, which occupies almost the entire front panel and &#8220;rolls&#8221; on the side ends. Visually, it seems that the smartphone does not have a frame on the sides at all and it looks very cool. There are indents below and above the screen, but they are very thin and absolutely identical, making the smartphone as symmetrical as possible. The inner perfectionist rejoices. In addition to the screen on the front, there is only a thin pass-through slot for the earpiece.


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The front camera of the smartphone is retractable. But, unlike the smartphones that we saw earlier, the module is located not in the side, but in the middle. On it is the camera itself, the flash and the same conversational speaker.


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Another extremely unusual design element isThese are control buttons. Or rather, their absence. Instead, it uses pressure-sensitive Touch Sense sensors with an X-axis haptic response mechanism. For convenience, the power button is highlighted with a small strip with ribbed notches. Volume up and down are located below and above it, with &#8220;+&#8221; icons on them. and &#8220;-&#8220;. It may seem unusual at first, but in reality everything is quite convenient. I had no problems using it and getting it where I needed it. If you wish, you can turn on visual hints on the screen to make sure you don’t miss.


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In addition to the front camera module, on the topAt the end there is a microphone, a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack and a very small mechanical power button. At first I thought it was an IR transmitter. In fact, the engineers decided to leave a kind of &#8220;backup&#8221; power button. It doesn’t get in the way, doesn’t protrude above the body, and has never come in handy during use.


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The left end is empty:


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Below is the USB Type-C, speaker, microphone and tray:


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Unfortunately, there is nowhere to insert a memory card. The tray is double-sided and you can install only 2 SIM cards in it. Not fatal with 128 GB inside, but the solution is not very. Interestingly, moisture protection is not declared, but the tray itself with a rubber seal:


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The back is glass, there is only one color option (inUkraine, anyway), called the Shining Night. It looks interesting: it goes black on the sides, toward the center - it brightens a little and shimmers at different angles. Not boring, but not too clumsy, like all sorts of gradient options:


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The triple main camera is made in the form of a commona round module that vivo calls the Lunar Ring. The cameras themselves are arranged in a triangle. It looks stylish and practically does not protrude above the body of the smartphone. An LED flash is located under the module.


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The vivo NEX 3 looks great and feels expensive.There were no questions regarding materials or assembly. As for the completely logical concerns about the screen wrapping on its sides and unusual “buttons”. I don’t know how (software features or something else), but vivo managed to make sure that there are no accidental, false clicks on the screen at all, regardless of how you hold the smartphone. Regarding the replacement of buttons with Touch Sense with tactile response, this is more a matter of personal tastes and feelings. I got used to it literally overnight and I like this solution. There were no problems. But I can assume that this is individual. Well, it’s worth remembering that the smartphone is large and weighty. Although now this doesn’t bother anyone anymore.

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How good is the screen?


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The smartphone has a huge 6.89-inch POLED screen with curved sides. The resolution is 2256x1080 (FullHD+), pixel density is 363 ppi, HDR10 is supported. In terms of capabilities, functions and settings, there is everything that should be in a modern smartphone with an OLED screen. Standard settings for font size, brightness and eye protection are present. Plus there is a dark interface theme, a flicker reduction function (aka DC Dimming) and customization of display modes and color temperature:


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Of course, Always on Display also has:


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I really liked the quality of the screen.Both in terms of a decent amount of brightness and in the quality of the picture itself. The colors are very saturated, the picture does not fade too much in the sun. But still, with such a diagonal and the use of a POLED matrix (I half suspect that with a Piamond PenTile arrangement of subpixels), I would like a higher resolution. I don’t notice any looseness or staircases in the image, but for people without vision problems, 363 ppi may not be enough. In &#8220;bright&#8221; mode, the maximum brightness was 415.824 cd/m². In this mode, the screen displays a typical OLED color gamut, which is significantly wider than sRGB. The blue and red components are close to the reference values, but there is a noticeable excess of blue, the picture goes into cool shades:


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In &#8220;normal&#8221; mode, the color gamut is close to sRGB, and the excess of blue is much less. The picture is much more natural. At the same time, the maximum brightness was 419.643 cd/m²:


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Comparison with other models:

Device name
White field brightness,
cd / m2
The brightness of the black field,
cd / m2
Contrast

Vivo NEX 3
419.643
0

Samsung Galaxy Note10+
387.745
0

Sony Xperia 1
394.97
0

Huawei P30 Pro
447.247
0

Samsung Galaxy S10
378.72
0

Samsung Galaxy Note9
340.32
0

What are the unlock methods?


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To unlock the smartphone, you can useFingerprint scanner in the display and face recognition. Interestingly, in the settings, the face recognition function is indicated as auxiliary. But it is there and it works, although not too smartly: the camera needs to leave, and the scanning itself is performed only with the front camera. There are no auxiliary sensors. The fingerprint scanner in the smartphone is optical (the finger is highlighted during scanning). It works quickly and accurately, no problems were observed during use with it.


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What about performance, memory, sound and autonomy?

The smartphone has the most powerful availablecurrently Qualcomm processors. And in general, one of the most powerful processors on the market, Snapdragon 855+. It was presented at one time as a gaming solution. If I'm not confusing anything, vivo NEX 3 is so far the only smartphone on Snapdragon 855+ that is officially sold in Ukraine. Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ is an overclocked version of the 855 dragon. This is a 7-nanometer processor with a 1&#215;2.96 GHz Kryo 485 core (in the standard version its frequency is 2.84 GHz), 3&#215;2.42 GHz Kryo 485 and 4&#215;1.8 GHz Kryo 485. The Adreno accelerator is responsible for graphics. 640, which is overclocked to 700 MHz. The graphics performance boost is claimed to be 15%. The powerful processor is complemented by 8 GB of RAM and a fast 128 GB UFS3.0 storage. Unfortunately, a slot for MicroSD was not provided. Of course, there can be no questions about performance. The power reserve will be sufficient for another couple of years for sure. In synthetic tests, the smartphone demonstrates very high results and is among the leaders in the ratings:


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All games are going well, you can safely set the maximum graphics settings, where possible. Call of Duty Mobile at maximum settings produces stable 60 FPS.


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Like any other modern smartphone, there isadditional gaming utility. In the case of vivo NEX 3, it &#8220;optimizes&#8221; system at startup (to put it simply, it cleans the RAM and that’s all) and allows you to block all kinds of notifications during the game. Among the unusual functions there is an &#8220;autoplay&#8221; (the game continues to run when the screen is off):


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Separately, it is worth noting that the system worksstable and the smartphone does not heat up at all under high loads. The smartphone uses a cooling system with an evaporation chamber; the stress test shows that there is practically no overheating and throttling even under prolonged loads.


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Interfaces: dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, Bluetooth 5.0 LE, global positioning systems GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo. Unfortunately, the smartphone does not produce stereo sound from the speakers, but the external speaker is quite good, both in volume and quality. The company decided not to abandon the headphone jack; moreover, it installed a DAC with an Asahi Kasei AK4377A amplifier in the smartphone. Yes, by &#8220;audiophile&#8221; players this is a very modest solution, but for a smartphone it’s quite good. The sound in the headphones is really very good; according to this indicator, the smartphone is one of the most interesting current flagships. One of the cool features that the company has implemented due to the curved sides of the screen is the ability to turn on a kind of visualizer that works while playing music.


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&#8220;Native&#8221; The player as a whole is no radically different from the solutions of other manufacturers. There is filtering by tracks, albums, artists, equalizer and various effects.


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The battery capacity is impressive4500 mAh. Although if you remember the screen size, there are some concerns about autonomy. Fortunately, they were not justified: vivo NEX 3 turned out to be very durable. A day after the first full charge, the smartphone showed about 20%. At the same time, in addition to the usual use of the smartphone, we actively &#8220;chased&#8221; Performance tests, games and camera. So the autonomy of the smartphone is very good.


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The smartphone supports proprietary fast chargingvivo FlashCharge at 22.5 W, included is the corresponding memory. Wireless charging is not supported. From a branded charger, the smartphone charges 50% in half an hour, in an hour - 90%, and it takes about 1.15 hours to fully charge, which is very good with such a capacity.

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What about the interface?


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Vivo NEX 3 runs on Android 9 OS with proprietaryshell Funtouch OS 9.1. It has some of its own characteristics, but overall it is quite intuitive and easy to use. There is no separate application menu, only desktops with shortcuts and widgets. Of course, there are various design themes, Jovi’s own virtual assistant (although Google Assistant also works without problems). Among the unusual and controversial features, it is worth noting that only notifications are displayed in the top curtain. For all the switches, the company decided to make another, lower curtain, which I could not get used to. The company calls it &#8220;Label Center&#8221;. In addition to the standard switches, there is a volume control, a row with the four latest applications, and above there are shortcuts for various actions that you can configure yourself.


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The smartphone has different optionscontrols, navigation and a bunch of additional features for more comfortable use. What is important with such a screen diagonal. Navigation is available in the form of classic three buttons or a gesture option. Plus, it is possible to enable &#8220;floating&#8221; Easy Touch button, use gestures to wake up the smartphone and launch applications, and small window mode for one-handed operation.


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There is also Touch Sense for virtual buttonsa whole range of settings. You can turn on (or turn off) visual cues on the screen, adjust their transparency, and enable volume settings to be called up using the virtual button on the screen. Plus there is a button sensitivity setting.


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Application Manager is made as usual, in the formhorizontal cards. It is possible to pin applications or enable split-screen mode from the controller. Although for this, the smartphone has a couple more options:


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There is also an interesting thing called “Ambient Light Effects”. In simple terms, various effects for notifications and calls are displayed on the curved edges of the screen:


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There is also a pack of pre-installed software.In addition to the usual file manager, compass, calculator, voice recorder and notes, there is a children's mode and the EasyShare application for quickly &#8220;transfer&#8221; content between smartphones:


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How good are the cameras?


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The main camera consists of three modules.The main one is 64 megapixels (1/1.7&#8243; 0.8µm) with f/1.8 aperture. The basic idea is similar to Quad Bayer: combining four pixels of the same color into one, resulting in 16 megapixel photos. Although, if you wish, you can enable 64 megapixel mode. Additionally, a 13-megapixel telephoto module with f/2.5 aperture is installed to provide 2x zoom and a 13-megapixel ultra-wide-angle f/2.2. All three modules with phase detection autofocus (including &#8220;wide&#8221;). But, apparently, without optical stabilization. The camera app is generally easy to use, although there are some minor issues. Modes are switched with the usual horizontal movements. The main screen has settings for flash, filters, aspect ratio of pictures, going to settings and HDR. There is no automatic HDR: only on or off. The camera switch is three-position, it is located on the right or bottom of the screen. That is, in any case, it is far from the shutter button and this is sometimes not very convenient, especially in landscape orientation. There is also a small round assistant button on the main screen. By pressing, you can see and switch to the modes offered by the smartphone for a specific scene.


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The camera was very good. In the afternoon, photos are detailed, with natural colors and a good dynamic range. At night, the camera also fulfills the level: the detail is good and there is not much noise. The quality of the camera at night is quite at the flagship level. The only thing worth mentioning (I suspect that they will be corrected with the following firmware): in night mode, the camera periodically overstates the exposure, while in automatic mode it turns out more naturally.


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Wide angle camera:


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Zoom:


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Blur background:


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The smartphone can shoot video up to 4K 60 frames per second. But stabilization only works in FullHD. 4K video:

FullHD:

Slow motion:

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In the dry residue

Vivo NEX 3 is an unusual and spectacular smartphone withwith a bunch of original features and all the attributes necessary for a flagship. It is equipped with an unusual waterfall screen. with curved sides, large diagonal, decent brightness and color rendition. There is a powerful processor installed inside, the performance of which will definitely last for another couple of years. The main camera shoots at a flagship level, and those who like to use a smartphone as a player will definitely be pleased with the sound quality in headphones thanks to the AK4377A DAC/amplifier. At the same time, it looks cool, is well assembled and lasts a long time on a single battery charge. But at the same time, vivo NEX 3 still has some compromise nuances: there is no dust and moisture protection, although this is technically unlikely given the retractable front camera. There is no slot for memory cards and I'm not sure that we will have a 256 GB version. Well, the most open-eyed may not be satisfied with the FullHD+ resolution with such a display diagonal. The smartphone was rated at20 000 UAH, which is quite reasonable given the capabilities and filling. But the smartphone competition in this range is serious, more recognizable brands also have something to show.

6 reasons to buy vivo NEX 3:

  • excellent POLED Waterfall display without cutouts;
  • maximum performance;
  • unusual, interesting design and quality materials;
  • flagship main camera;
  • long battery life;
  • cool sound in the headphones.

3 reasons not to buy vivo NEX 3:

  • I would like a higher resolution display;
  • no microSD slot
  • There is no dust and moisture protection.

Vivo Nex 3

Unlimited display

The flagship received a 6.89-inch“waterfall” screen, which occupies 99.6% of the surface area. The front camera is retractable, the main one &#8211; with three modules. Inside there is a Snapdragon 855 Plus processor and a 4500 mAh battery.

Buy at Allo

Buy in Citrus

Technical specifications Vivo NEX 3

Display
side curved POLED, 6.89 inches, 2256×1080, 363 ppi, HDR10

Housing
dimensions: 167.4&#215;76.1&#215;9.4 mm, weight: 217 g

CPU
64-bit 7nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus: 1&#215;2.96 GHz Kryo 485, 3&#215;2.42 GHz Kryo 485? 4&#215;1.8 GHz Kryo 485, Adreno 640 700 MHz graphics accelerator

RAM
8 GB

Flash memory
128GB UFS 3.0

Camera
64 MP (1/1.7&#8243; 0.8µm) with f/1.8 aperture, PDAF + 13 MP telephoto, f/2.5, 2x zoom, PDAF +13 MP ultra-wide angle f/2.2, PDAF, video 2160p@60fps, 1080p@ 240fps; front camera: 16 MP f/2.1

Wireless technology
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac (dual band, 2.4 and 5 GHz), Bluetooth 5.0 LE, NFC

GPS
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO

Battery
4500 mAh, non-removable, fast charging 22.5 W

operating system
Android 9 Pie + Funtouch OS 9.1

Sim card
2xNanoSIM

Additionally
optical in-screen fingerprint scanner

For those that want to know more:

  • Vivo V15 Pro review: who is new?
  • How vivo will conquer Ukraine: an interview with Max Low, CEO of a company in Ukraine
  • OPPO Reno2 review: sees what you don't see
  • Samsung Galaxy Note10 review: the same flagship, but smaller
  • Honor 20 Pro smartphone review: a great camera for sane money