Review of the Vivo NEX Dual Display Edition: Is It The Best Phone Yet?
It’s not the sharpest-looking phone in the world, and it might not be the most premium. You can get a better-looking phone with a tiny chin or with a fingerprint sensor that’s even more obvious. But if it doesn’t bother you, and if you like the way it looks, the NEX Dual Display Edition won’t disappoint. It’s thin and has a slim profile thanks to its glass-sandwich design. It feels good in the hand. The display on the front is curved at the edges, almost meeting the edges of the phone. It makes it feel a bit like a more slender-looking Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. There’s no bezel on the sides. That’s because the top bezel is part of the screen. There’s also a notch in the top bezel, which is where you’ll find the 24MP front-facing camera and the earpiece.
The NEX Dual Display Edition has a 6.4-inch OLED screen that’s 6.59-inches when held in landscape mode. The bezels above and below the screen are very thin, so Vivo has managed to squeeze a ton of screen into a relatively small body. But that also means the phone has to bend downward quite a bit to hug the display when in landscape mode. The “notch” above the screen is 3.15mm thick and consists of a 6.59-inch, 2,340 x 1,080 OLED panel. You can choose between a matte and a glossy black finish, though the glossy model isn’t any lighter or thinner than the matte. The NEX Dual Display Edition does have a version with a notch at the top, but it’s very small. The cutout is smaller than the iPhone XS’, but the Vivo NEX is thicker and heavier. A little delectable, right?
If you took a look at our camera review of the Vivo Nex, you’ll know we’re fans of the dual-lens rear camera array. You also know the Nex has been one of the top smartphones for taking crazy bokeh shots with its 12MP + 5MP cameras, but a triple lens setup seemed unnecessary, especially since the Nex didn’t cost much more than a dual camera. With the NEX Dual Display Edition, we get both single and triple lens cameras, plus a trio of front-facing camera sensors. In terms of hardware, the NEX Dual Display Edition sports a Snapdragon 845 SoC with 8GB of RAM. It ships with 128GB of internal storage, but you can expand it to 256GB. It has a large 4,400mAh battery and a quick charge 3.0 chip. Not bad. But it’s not the best dual camera setup ever. In fact, it’s barely a dual camera at all.
Even more than the hardware, the Vivo NEX Dual Display Edition’s standout feature is the second display, which allows you to respond to notifications on one display while the phone is still in your pocket, or keep the display on while you’re using the other. In all likelihood, the dual-screen setup was introduced to allow a single-screen device to compete with Apple’s (in)famous but stylistically inapt iPhone X. While Huawei and the Mi Mix 2S had introduced the technology a couple of years before, no other phone maker had fully embraced the idea. This could be said to be Vivo’s first step towards realizing its vision, but we won’t know for sure until it launches the second-screen phone next year.
This is where things get interesting. In addition to the fingerprint scanner on the back, the Nex also has four speakers that line the bottom edge of the phone. These are the same four that are on the front, but we rarely noticed any difference. There’s something to be said for a clean, back-to-back layout of front-facing speakers, but we can’t say the same about the bottom-mounted speakers on the Nex. On the bottom of the phone, the speaker grills extend beyond the frame and are tied together with a wire. The result is a speaker that isn’t isolated from the sound coming from the phone itself, which is generally a good thing, but this particular implementation didn’t feel so great.
The highlight of the Vivo NEX Dual Display Edition is the motorized motorized pop-up camera, and in the short time I’ve had the phone, the camera is incredibly quick and easy to use. It takes just a second or two to raise from the back, then you just need to use the slider to activate the front camera and take the perfect selfie. It’s also nice to have an extra camera here since the phone lacks a front-facing flash. The battery is solid too. Like the rest of the NEX lineup, the phone includes a large 4,000mAh battery with fast-charging support. During my short testing period, the phone managed to go nearly five full days without needing a charge. You also have a SuperVOOC charger that charges the phone to 50% in just 30 minutes.
There are a lot of phones out there. There’s plenty of room for innovation in the smartphone world. And, of course, there are niche products for a niche audience. But the fact that so many phones are pretty much the same isn’t ideal for enthusiasts, or even the average person who wants to see what’s out there. That’s why there’s a market for niche devices like the Vivo Nex Dual Display Edition: it doesn’t compete with the traditional flagship market, but can do some things that normal phones can’t. It might not be the most expensive phone in the world, but it might be the most innovative. If you’re looking for a high-end phone with a gimmicky twist, then you might want to give this one a look.