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 time, two “officially” visited Ukraine officiallyvery impressive players vivo and Oppo, which at one time started from under the wing of the BBK corporation (like OnePlus and Realme). Actually, vivo was founded by a native of BBK. According to the 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 a fairly 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 on-screen fingerprint scanner and for the first time used a traveling front-facing camera. Previously, I remember that it was Vivo who 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 soil and released a number of budget and mid-priced smartphones in Ukraine (in particular, the vivo V15 Pro, which we already visited), and now it has decided to roll out its flagship solution. He became the hero of today's review, Vivo NEX 3, the main feature of which is the use of a curved POLED Waterfall FullView display that smoothly flows into the side faces 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 - the flagship smartphone with a curved6.89-inch POLED display, top-end Snapdragon processor, 8 GB of RAM, 64 MP triple main camera, front-facing camera and 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 - the same screen, “waterfall”. Screens around the edges have been used for many years by different manufacturers, but in this case the display wraps and smoothly flows into the side faces in such a way that the side frames are not visible at all. A 6.89-inch POLED matrix is ​​used with a resolution of 2256x1080 and HDR support, without cutouts. Another unusual solution is to abandon the usual physical buttons on the side. Instead, they use the Touch Sense system with an X-axis tactile 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, it is complemented by 8 GB of RAM and a 128 GB drive. The rear camera consists of three modules: the main one is 64-megapixel with f / 1.8 optics. He is assisted by a 13-megapixel telephoto f / 2.48 aperture and a 13-megapixel ultra-wide f / 2.2. Retractable front camera, 16 megapixels, f / 2.09 with flash. Unlike most modern flagship smartphones, the vivo NEX 3 has a headphone jack. Moreover, the DAC with the Asahi Kasei AK4377A amplifier is responsible for the sound quality. This did not stop installing a large 4500 mAh battery in the smartphone, fast charging up to 22.5 W is supported. All the necessary wireless interfaces are present, including NFC, which works with Google Pay. Fingerprint scanner in the screen.

What is included?


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


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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 catches your eye right away isreally huge Waterfall FullView display, which occupies almost the entire front panel and "wraps" on the side ends. Visually, it seems that the smartphone does not have a frame on the sides and it looks very cool. There are indentations below and above the screen, but they are very thin and absolutely identical, so the smartphone is as symmetrical as possible. The internal perfectionist rejoices. In addition to the screen in front, there is only a thin through slot for the conversational speaker.


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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 structural element -these are control buttons. Or rather, their absence. Instead, touch-sensitive Touch Sense sensors with an X-axis tactile response mechanism are used. For convenience, the power button is highlighted with a small strip with ribbed notches. Increase and decrease the volume - below and above it, on them are the “+” and “-“ icons. At first it may seem unusual, but in fact, everything is quite convenient. I had no problems using and getting where I needed to. Optionally, you can turn on visual clues on the screen so that you don’t miss.


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In addition to the front camera module, on the topthere is a microphone at the end, 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 “backup” power button. It does not interfere, does not protrude above the body and has never been useful 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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Triple main camera made as a commonround module, which vivo calls the Lunar Ring. The cameras themselves are located in a triangle. It looks stylish and practically does not protrude above the body of the smartphone. Under the module is an LED flash.


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The vivo NEX 3 looks great and feels expensive. No questions arose regarding materials and assembly. As for the quite logical fears about turning to the sides of the screen and unusual “buttons”. I don’t know how (software features or something else), but vivo managed to make it so that there are no accidental, false taps on the screen from the word at all, no matter how you hold the smartphone. Regarding the replacement of buttons on the Touch Sense with a tactile response, it is more likely a question in the plane of personal tastes and sensations. I got used literally over the evening 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 big and weighty. Although now it is very few people are embarrassed.

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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 2256 × 1080 (FullHD +), the 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 setting display modes and color temperature:


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Of course, Always on Display also has:


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I liked the screen very much in quality. Both in terms of a decent margin of brightness and in the quality of the picture itself. The colors are very saturated, in the sun the picture does not fade too much. But still, with such a diagonal and using the POLED matrix (I half suspect that with the Piamond PenTile arrangement of subpixels), I would like a higher resolution. I do not observe image friability and stairs, but 363 ppi might be not enough for people without vision problems. In the “bright” mode, the maximum brightness was 415.824 cd / m². In this mode, the screen shows a typical OLED color gamut, which is much 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 the “normal” mode, the color gamut is close to sRGB, and the overabundance 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
Black field brightness,
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 availableQualcomm processors currently. Anyway, one of the most powerful processors on the market, Snapdragon 855+. He was once presented as a gaming solution. If I don’t confuse anything, vivo NEX 3 is the only smartphone on Snapdragon 855+ that is officially sold in Ukraine. Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ is an overclocked version of the 855th dragon. This is a 7-nanometer processor with 1 × 2.96 GHz Kryo 485 core (in the standard version its frequency is 2.84 GHz), 3 × 2.42 GHz Kryo 485 and 4 × 1.8 GHz Kryo 485. The Adreno 640 accelerator, which is overclocked to 700, is responsible for the graphics. MHz It is claimed that the increase in graphics performance is 15%. A powerful processor complements 8 GB of RAM and a fast 128 GB UFS3.0 drive. Unfortunately, a slot for MicroSD is not provided. Of course, there can be no questions about performance. The power reserve will be enough for a couple of years for sure. In synthetic tests, the smartphone shows 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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As with any other modern smartphone, there isadditional game utility. In the case of vivo NEX 3, it “optimizes” the system at startup (in other words, it cleans the RAM and that’s all) and allows you to block all kinds of notifications during the game. Of the unusual features, there is an “auto play” mode (the game continues to work 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 high loads. The smartphone uses a cooling system with an evaporation chamber, in the stress test it is clear that there is practically no overheating and throttling even with 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 give stereo sound from the speakers, but the external speaker is quite good, both in volume and quality. The company decided not to give up the headphone jack, moreover, it installed a DAC with an Asahi Kasei AK4377A amplifier in the smartphone. Yes, by the standards of “audiophile” players, this is a very modest decision, but as for a smartphone, it’s very good. The sound in the headphones is really very good, according to this indicator, the smartphone is one of the most interesting current flagships. Of the cool chips that the company realized due to the curved sides of the screen - the ability to turn on a kind of visualizer that works while playing music.


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The “native” player as a whole is no different from the decisions of other manufacturers. There is filtering by track, album, artist, equalizer and various effects.


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The battery capacity is an impressive 4,500mAh Although if you recall the size of the screen, there are some concerns about autonomy. Fortunately, they did not materialize: vivo NEX 3 was very tenacious. A day after the first full charge, the smartphone showed about 20%. At the same time, in addition to the usual use of a smartphone, performance tests, games and a camera were actively “chasing”. So with the autonomy of the smartphone, everything 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 with proprietaryFuntouch OS 9.1 shell. It has some of its features, but in general it is quite intuitive and understandable to use. There is no separate application menu, only desktops with shortcuts and widgets. Of course there are various themes, Jovi's own virtual assistant (although the Google Assistant also works without problems). Of the unusual and controversial chips, it is worth noting that only notifications are displayed in the upper curtain. For all the switches, the company decided to make another, lower curtain, which I could not get used to. The company calls it the “label center”. In addition to the standard switches, volume control, a row with the last four applications, and above - shortcuts for various actions that can be configured independently, were brought here.


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The smartphone has different optionscontrols, navigation and a bunch of additional chips for more comfortable use. What is important with such a diagonal screen. Navigation is in the form of classic three buttons or a gesture option. Plus, it is possible to turn on the “floating” Easy Touch button, use gestures to wake up the smartphone and launch applications, and a smaller window mode for controlling with one hand.


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For virtual buttons, Touch Sense also hasa number of settings. You can enable (or disable) visual cues on the screen, adjust their transparency and enable the call of volume settings 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 bundle of preinstalled 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 “transferring” 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 64 megapixels (1 / 1.7 ″ 0.8µm) with aperture f / 1.8. The basic idea is similar to Quad Bayer: combining four pixels of the same color into one, resulting in photos of 16 megapixels. Although, if desired, you can turn on the 64 megapixel mode. Additionally, a 13-megapixel telephoto module with an 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 autofocus (including “shirik”). But, apparently, without optical stabilization. The camera application is generally understandable, although there are some minor issues. Modes are switched by familiar horizontal movements. On the main screen there are settings for flash, filters, aspect ratio of pictures, transition to settings and HDR. 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 it is sometimes not very convenient, especially in landscape orientation. Also on the main screen there is a small round assistant button. By clicking on it, you can see and switch to the modes offered by the smartphone for a particular 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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Special project

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In the dry residue

Vivo NEX 3 - an unusual and effective smartphone witha bunch of original chips and all the attributes necessary for the flagship. It is equipped with an unusual “waterfall” screen with curved sides, a large diagonal, decent brightness and color reproduction. Inside, a powerful processor is installed, the performance of which with a margin will be a couple more years for sure. The main camera shoots at the flagship level, and fans of using a smartphone as a player will definitely appreciate the sound quality in the headphones thanks to the AK4377A DAC / amplifier. At the same time, it looks cool, well-assembled and long lives on from one battery charge. But at the same time, the vivo NEX 3 still has some compromise nuances: there is no dust and moisture protection, although this is technically unlikely given the sliding front-end. There is no slot for memory cards and I'm not sure that the 256 GB version will appear with us. Well, the most big-eyed may not be satisfied with the resolution of FullHD + with such a diagonal of the display. Smartphone rated in 20 000 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 screen - "waterfall",which occupies 99.6% of the surface area. The front camera is retractable, the main one with three modules. Inside, the Snapdragon 855 Plus processor and 4,500 mAh battery.

Buy in 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 × 76.1 × 9.4 mm, weight: 217 g

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

RAM
8 GB

Flash memory
128 GB UFS 3.0

Camera
64 MP (1 / 1.7 ″ 0.8µm) with aperture f / 1.8, 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 charge 22.5 W

operating system
Android 9 Pie + Funtouch OS 9.1

Sim card
2xNanoSIM

Additionally
optical 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