For the last few years, there's been one key goal that smartphone designers across the world have been chasing after – being the first to release a handset that completely does away with bezels for a seamless all-screen experience.
This desire to maximise the amount of screen real estate on the front of each smartphone has resulted in all sorts of major steps forward in mobile design, with the “notch” principle – whereby the front-facing camera and earpiece speaker is accommodated by a small black strip at the top of the screen – proving the most common solution. It's fair to say that the notch isn't a universally popular concept, but most accept that it's been the best solution available… but all that may be about to change.
That's because a new phone from Chinese manufacturer Vivo has just been unveiled that could represent the first truly all-screen smartphone. The Vivo Nex has only been confirmed for a Chinese release thus far, but the revolutionary nature of its design means that its unveiling will be seen as big news by tech enthusiasts all over the world.
No bezels, no notch, all screen
The Vivo Nex is based on a previous concept phone called Apex, and sports a 6.59-inch AMOLED display with no notch and the thinnest possible bezels. Vivo is boasting a screen-to-body ratio of 91.24 per cent, a considerable improvement over the previous high watermark of 84.9 per cent, seen on the Essential Phone.
This all-screen experience has been achieved through a combination of technological innovations. Instead of using a notch, the Vivo Nex houses its front-facing camera internally, with the lens popping out of the top of the phone when needed. The earpiece speaker, meanwhile, has been replaced with an advance called Screen SoundCasting, which vibrates the glass display itself to transmit audio to the user.
Additionally, the cutting-edge handset also incorporates an in-display fingerprint scanner, allowing users to authenticate their identity and unlock the phone by placing their finger on a specific area near the bottom half of the screen. This is not a brand new innovation, but Vivo is claiming the Nex's scanner will be faster and more accurate than any previous iteration.
A smartphone for the future
The futuristic nature of the Vivo Nex is only reinforced when looking over its other headline specifications. The top-end version of the Nex incorporates a Snapdragon 845 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 4,000mAh battery and 256GB of storage, although a cheaper model with a Snapdragon 710 chipset, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage is also launching.
Meanwhile, the primary camera offers 12 MP resolution with an f/1.8 lens, backed by a 5 MP f/2.4 module, while the pop-up selfie camera provides a resolution of 8 MP and a f/2.0 lens, showing that the all-screen design hasn't come at the expense of the phone's capabilities elsewhere.
It means the Vivo Nex really does live up to its billing as a truly groundbreaking smartphone – and whether it comes to territories beyond China or not, it is sure to be hugely influential on the next generation of mobile designs.