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Opinion | The vivo NEX 3 shows where Android OEMs are headed, and it is one that few will want

Are you a fan of an above 99% screen-to-body ratio? (Image source: vivo)
Are you a fan of an above 99% screen-to-body ratio? (Image source: vivo)
vivo has been ahead of the curve with many innovations in recent years, but has it taken it too far with the NEX 3? A 90° curved waterfall display may look eye-catching, but it comes with compromises. While the tech world clamours over the next innovation, is a screen so curved that there is no space for physical buttons one for which any asked?
Alex Alderson,

The vivo NEX 3 is a stunning looking smartphone and do not get us wrong, it has plenty going for it. Firstly, it is the first device to feature the Samsung ISOCELL Bright GW1, the 64 MP sensor that got people excited when Samsung announced it earlier this year. Additionally, it will feature a 4,500 mAh battery and 44 W wired-fast charging, the combination of which we see in few smartphones. It also includes the increasingly rare 3.5 mm headphone jack, as pointed out by @Sudhanshu1414, which almost all major OEMs bar LG have omitted from their recent flagships.

However, the 99.6% screen-to-body ratio, while technically impressive, is a gimmick. The waterfall display only serves aesthetics and does not improve functionality. On the contrary, curved displays will almost always be the first point of impact, unless you drop your device square on its back, making it more likely to break the display from a relatively innocuous drop. Moreover, the almost 90° curve that vivo used to achieve such a high ratio left practically no space for physical power and volume buttons. vivo has replaced these with, according to @UniverseIce, the same technology that Google uses for its Active Edge functionality.

Having owned a Pixel, Active Edge is no replacement for physical hardware buttons. The latter are much harder to accidentally trigger than the former, but they are also easier to find when scrambling in your pocket to change the volume or turning off the display as you put your device away.

vivo has been something of a tastemaker with its NEX series since the inaugural NEX and its in-screen fingerprint scanner. While the dual display of the NEX Dual Display is yet to take off in the same way as in-screen fingerprint scanners have, "waterfall" displays look set to become popular if recent Mate 30 series leaks are anything to go by. In short, the vivo NEX 3 looks like another beautiful smartphone hampered by the quest to achieve things for which no one asked.


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Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - Senior Tech Writer - 5743 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.
contact me via: @aldersonaj
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 09 > The vivo NEX 3 shows where Android OEMs are headed, and it is one that few will want
Alex Alderson, 2019-09-17 (Update: 2019-09-17)