It may seem that innovation in smartphone design has plateaued over the past few years. It’s true that the pace of improvement in smartphone design has been decreasing, but that doesn’t mean that smartphone vendors have stopped researching on improving smartphone design. In 2017, we saw the advent of 18:9 displays with small bezels, which have since gone popular even in the budget price segment. In 2018, we are starting to see the adoption of the controversial notch (display cutout) in many smartphones.
Vivo, however, has been developing a different solution for full-screen displays. The Vivo Apex was first shown off at Mobile World Congress 2018 with a breakthrough in design — as it offers an alternative to the display cutouts that are now supported in Android P. At that point, no details were shared regarding its specifications, pricing and availability. Now, Vivo has officially launched the Apex in China, and shared some specifications of the device.
The first notable feature of the Vivo Apex is that it comes with a 91 percent screen-to-body ratio, which is one of the highest screen-to-body ratios. The phone’s display does not have a notch, which means that there is no space for the front camera and a earpiece. To solve the former issue, the company has gone for a elevating front camera. For the latter, there is no earpiece. Instead, the phone uses its Screen SoundCasting technology that delivers vibrations through the display to deliver sound and act as the earpiece as well as the loudspeaker.
At the event in China, Vivo highlighted the fact that the Apex will have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip. Details about RAM and storage configurations aren’t known yet. The phone is said to have a 5.99-inch OLED display with COF technology. The ambient and proximity sensors are embedded under the display in order to maximize the full-screen user experience.
The Apex has a Half Screen fingerprint sensing technology, which is different from the under-glass in-display fingerprint sensor of the Vivo X20 Plus UD. The fingerprint unlocking functionality on the X20 Plus UD is limited to one spot on the bottom of the display, whereas the Apex’s fingerprint sensor is hidden under half of the display.
The Vivo Apex’s left and right bezels will be only 1.8mm thick, while the bottom side of the handset has a bezel of 4.3mm. The 8MP front camera of the phone is hidden at the top, and it’s said to elevate from the body in 0.8 seconds. Also, the phone has a System-in-Package (SiP) to deliver a Hi-Fi audio experience. There are also three amplifiers included with the built-in DAC.
The primary camera of the Apex is said to support Super HDR with a limited dynamic range of up 14 EV. It’s also said to include an AI algorithm and features such as smart optimization, ultra-dynamic, multi-frame preferences, character optimizations, and natural tones. Details about any of its features haven’t been shared yet.
As of now, Vivo hasn’t detailed the Apex’s pricing and full list of specifications. However, mass production of the phone is said to begin in mid-2018.
The Vivo Apex clearly distinguishes itself in terms of design and engineering breakthroughs. For now, it’s unknown how the phone will actually perform in practice, but we expect to learn more about it in the time leading up to availability.