Vivo NEX 3: The Phone That’s More Than Just a Phone
There’s a 6.39-inch, 2340 x 1080 pixel OLED screen on the Nex 3, which is edge-to-edge. The screen is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 6, so the phone should survive a few drops. The phone itself has a weight of 162g and comes in an all-black color scheme, while the mirrored-silver back is limited to the black model. The front of the Nex 3 looks just like the Nex 2, only without the “cheeky” speaker cutout. Nubia The Nubia X has an Apex-like screen that pops up Powering the Nex 3 is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 710, which is now as powerful as the Snapdragon 845 and most of today’s premium phones. There are three models of the Nex 3, with 6GB or 8GB of RAM, and storage configurations ranging from 64GB to 256GB.
The Nex 3 is certainly a conversation piece, but it’s also a surprisingly functional phone. Its stainless steel body feels solid but lacks the polish of premium devices. The Nex 3 has a 5.99-inch AMOLED display with a 18:9 aspect ratio. It’s a big phone — 19.3 millimeters thick and 3.1 pounds — but the curve adds some nice texture and visual interest. The device supports “squeeze” technology, though you’ll need a dedicated hardware button to access it. In addition to squeezing, you can double-tap the screen to launch Google Assistant or use a traditional trigger such as an onscreen button or knuckle. Like the Nex 2, the Nex 3 has dual rear cameras.
The NEX 3’s 6.39-inch Super AMOLED display will measure 18.7:9 in height. That’s quite a bit taller than the phone’s size suggests, but the screen’s taller bezel helps compensate somewhat. Where the NEX 3’s screen-to-body ratio is particularly impressive is at the top. It’s not just taller than other phones. The top edge is also curved in a way that creates an uninterrupted, seamless band across the top and bottom of the display. Unlike other curved edge phones we’ve seen, this one doesn’t create a visible bulge in the side of the phone. It’s a combination that’s easy to envy and difficult to achieve, and it’s good enough that I want it for my next phone.
Let’s start with the camera. You get the same front-facing camera array as you do on the Nex 2. It consists of two 12-megapixel cameras (one wide-angle, one telephoto) with a built-in 48-megapixel main camera with an aperture of f/1.8. (I’ll dig into the lens specs later.) But it gets better. You can shoot selfies with the front cameras at 4K resolution, and the rear cameras can also shoot 4K video at 60 frames per second. (An 18-megapixel front-facing camera lets you take crisp selfies with an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera on the back. I had a chance to check out this feature at a press event in Beijing.) All the Nex 3 cameras use the Sony IMX363 sensor, which is smaller and also supports recording in “super slow-mo” at 960 frames per second.
We don’t know yet, but I’d expect the Nex 3 to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 710. Qualcomm’s mobile chief promised last year that the chip is competitive with Intel’s upcoming 7th-gen processor, which makes its debut in the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop. The Nex 3 might also use an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, which could be a step up from the Snapdragon 660 that’s in the Nex 2 and Nex A. Display The Nex 3’s dual front cameras are no longer part of the phone’s front fascia, so you’ll likely have to stare at its middle. The Nex 3 is equipped with an 8-megapixel camera and an f/2.0 lens. There’s also a 13-megapixel camera on the back with a wide-angle lens.
It’s a handsome phone that feels expensive. It’s large by most standards, but the Nex 3 is more comfortable to hold than a vast majority of other large-screen phones. In particular, the curved front gives the phone an elegant, ergonomic feel. The power button on the right side is almost perfectly flush with the metal body and easily disabled by my finger when it gets in the way. The phone’s face looks dated, but I’m OK with that. The “Vivo” branding is no longer bleeding into the side of the screen, and the front-facing camera’s LED flash is located beneath the glass, not above it. A slightly strange, but ultimately better, change to the Nex 3 is its lack of a headphone jack, which means you need to use the included adapter or Bluetooth headphones.