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The concept phone that nearly melted our eyes when we first saw it is close to being an Actual Thing.
Come June 12, Vivo will officially launch the Nex phone in Shanghai, a truly all-screen design with no notch. So, where does it put the camera? No joke, the concept phone we saw (which was called Apex back in February) has a motorized front-facing camera that rises above the phone body when you go to mug for your selfie.
The Vivo Apex concept also had an in-screen fingerprint reader that can accept two fingerprints simultaneously. We're not entirely sure what's changed from the Vivo Apex prototype to the Vivo Nex reality, but if Vivo keeps all the goodies, here's what you might expect.
1. Pop-up selfie camera
The Vivo Apex concept phone we saw starts with a massive 6-inch screen that has whittled the bezels to an impossible 1.8 millimeters on three sides and 4.3 mm on the bottom. The frame around the face is so slim, there's not even room for the front-facing camera.
This is where the first cool concept part comes in. Flip over the front-facing camera and in 0.8 second, an 8-megapixel lens will rise up from the phone's top edge. Boom -- that's your selfie camera. (There's still a regular dual-camera setup on the back, though.)
The practicality of a pop-up camera is iffy. The lens rises fairly slowly in the prototype, so you wouldn't be able to take pics on the fly. A mechanical camera also introduces one more part that can get stuck, wear out or break. I'd worry about that if this were a production device, but concept phones are all about creativity and the learning process.
Watch this: Vivo's Apex concept phone rises to the challenge
2. In-screen fingerprint scanner for two prints
The second unusual feature appears on the screen itself. Vivo has expanded the in-screen fingerprint reader. On the Apex, the target takes up almost half the bottom of the phone, instead of just a small circle. That opens all sorts of doors, such as simultaneously scanning two fingerprints for added security, or placing your finger down at any odd angle, instead of hitting it perfectly dead center.
It does scooch up higher on the screen than the first in-screen scanner, but lifting my thumb to use it one-handed wasn't much trouble.
In theory, you could even have two people lay down prints, say to authorize an app overriding parental controls, but that's just me speculating.
You've never seen a phone camera like Vivo's Apex concept
The third unusual ingredient has to do with audio. Vivo gave the Apex OLED panels that vibrate to create the sound for your videos, calls and gaming.
have tried similar sound-conduction techniques, including the Xiaomi Mi Mix, which used a fancy-sounding "cantilever ceramic piezoelectric actuator" to deliver sound. In other words, the phone's body vibrates.
Vivo calls its version SoundCasting, and the speakerphone demo we got on the prototype sounded loud and rich.
Vivo Apex concept phone specs
6-inch edge-to-edge OLED display with 1.8 mm bezel on top and sides and 4.3 mm on the bottom.