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vivo NEX S Review – Raising Expectations

vivo NEX S Review - Raising Expectations

Bezelless, in-glass fingerprint scanning, and a couple of-day battery life in a single package deal

Smartphones have been converging to a selected look and set of options for a while now, however a couple of of those fascinating traits have been successfully inconceivable till now. Vivo is the primary OEM to not solely efficiently create a telephone with no actual bezels to say, but in addition the primary to have a working in-glass fingerprint scanner on a manufacturing telephone as nicely. Pair this with the mechanical entrance-dealing with digital camera, which raises or lowers routinely when wanted, and also you’ve certainly obtained one of the crucial fascinating telephones of 2018, hitting all of the theoretical attainable specs in a single package deal.

Video Review

Specs and Unboxing

Vivo’s higher-echelon NEX S (mannequin Vivo 1805) is promoting for an extremely affordable £535, €589, or $679 right now of writing, and whereas it’s not formally obtainable in each market, importing the telephone is pretty easy. The system ships in two colours, black or purple, however it’s not a single shade on the again, slightly a holographic-like sample that’s relatively eye-catching. On the entrance is an primarily bezel-much less 6.59-inch OLED display with a decision of 1080 x 2316 pixels (388 PPI) and a 19.5:9 facet ratio. Beneath this glass is the world’s first manufacturing-class in-glass fingerprint scanner. The NEX S is full of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, together with 8GB of RAM and a selection of both 128GB or 256GB of inner storage.

The telephone encompasses a twin nano-SIM card tray, however doesn’t have help for microSD playing cards. The entrance-dealing with digital camera is located in a pop-up mechanism on the prime of the telephone, and sports activities an eight-megapixel sensor with f/ lens. On the again is a pair of cameras; the primary a 12-megapixel 1/2.5-inch sensor with 1.four-micron sized pixels, twin-pixel part detection autofocus (PDAF) and four-axis OIS sits behind an f/1.eight lens, with an accompanying twin-tone twin-LED flash alongside. The secondary digital camera is just used as a depth sensor, and solely sports activities a 5-megapixel sensor with f/2.four lens.

Beneath the sealed glass again is a non-detachable four,000mAh battery, supporting 22W quick charging by way of its USB Sort-C port on the underside, which additionally sports activities USB speeds and compatibility for USB OTG. A single backside-firing speaker sits on the backside, whereas a three.5mm audio jack with 32-bit DAC is up prime. Bluetooth is supported for wi-fi audio and different wi-fi peripheral help. Vivo’s personal Funtouch OS four ships with the telephone, operating atop Android eight.1 Oreo. The NEX S measures in at 162mm excessive, 77mm broad, and 8mm skinny, with a heavy weight of 199g.

Regardless of delivering a completely chopping-edge telephone with a price ticket that’s nonetheless decrease than many different model new premium-degree smartphones, Vivo packs in a superb little bit of worth with the NEX S contained in the field. Inside are in fact the standard; the telephone, a 22W quick charger, a USB Sort-A to Sort-C cable and a set of manuals, in addition to a SIM tray eject software. Above and past that you simply’ll additionally discover a pair of earbuds with a three.5mm jack on the finish, and a rubberized TPU case with an additional-grippy delicate-contact end. This case is great feeling and actually provides vital ranges of grip to an all-glass telephone, with a properly positioned NEX moniker on the again. The highest and backside parts are utterly open, permitting for every port entry, whereas nonetheless overlaying the edges and all 4 corners utterly. It’s received a slight raised lip across the edges; sufficient to assist maintain the display from being broken if the telephone have been to fall, however not sufficient to get in the best way of touches. Vivo additionally consists of movie-sort glass protectors each on the entrance display and the again glass for additional safety out of the field; a real worth because the telephone is 100% protected while not having to purchase something additional.


Whereas a show of 6.59-inches on a telephone sounds completely large, Vivo’s bezel-much less design makes this really feel nearer to the dimensions of telephones with a 5.eight-inch display as an alternative. The Samsung-made Tremendous AMOLED panel is of very top quality, with on the spot response occasions, no trailing, and no visible colour shift at any angle. There’s a little bit of rainbowing at sure angles, one thing that’s seen on any show with a polarizer, however that is sometimes solely noticeable when the display is displaying principally white and in addition held at an excessive angle. Vivo doesn’t supply a lot in the best way of tweaking right here, so except for a basic slider for hotter or cooler temperatures, you gained’t discover any superior colour profiles or decrease-degree tweaks. As an entire, the show sports activities an ever-so-barely cool tone, though this isn’t terribly apparent till you examine it to a different show that’s extra colour correct.

Colour saturation is at a wholesome degree, with colours that look good and punchy with out feeling cartoony or unrealistic. 388 pixels-per-inch density is a strong quantity that appears clear and clear in most respects, however because it’s solely 1080 pixels large, finally ends up proscribing the standard of video content material to 1080p. HDR is supported via YouTube solely presently, not Netflix or Amazon Prime video on the time of this writing. The show will get very vibrant and could be very straightforward to see in direct daylight, and can also be capable of decrease this right down to an excellent dim degree that’s snug to view even in a pitch black room. Sometimes this vary of brightness is simply discovered on flagship telephones, and even then not all of them supply this broad of a brightness vary. Regardless of having an in-glass fingerprint reader, there’s no apparent visible distortion or brightness variations on this space. In truth, there’s no actual option to inform something in any respect is working beneath the show, which is an excellent factor certainly.

Hardware and Construct

Vivo’s hardware design right here is unmatched in some ways, and it, in fact, all begins with these extremely-tiny bezels. three out of 4 sides of the telephone, the highest, left and proper sides, sport nearly the smallest bezels you’ll discover on any telephone besides the OPPO Discover X. Whereas it’s attainable some OEMs might have bezels which are fractions of a millimeter smaller, there’s no actual distinguishable distinction between what’s on show right here, and what many would merely contemplate really bezel-much less. A particularly small chin rests on the underside of the telephone, and regardless of having extremely-tiny bezels on the opposite three sides, is among the many smallest chins you’ll discover on any telephone. Even most telephones with notches have bigger chins than the NEX S, which is one thing really spectacular when you think about what Vivo has carried out right here. So as to primarily take away bezels of their entirety, Vivo has chosen some various designs for the important thing elements that sometimes take up the notch part on different “bezel-less” telephones.

The half you see most prominently is, in fact, the motorized pop-up entrance-dealing with digital camera, which seems when referred to as for and disappears when not wanted. The pop-up motor makes a really quiet whirring noise by itself however can also be enhanced by way of a set of three selectable sounds. The default sound known as Futuristic, and for good cause; this sci-fi-esque sound brings to mild a element that already feels futuristic, and solely furthers this really feel with such a sound. It’s a quiet sound, not one which’s overly obnoxious or loud, however could be modified or disabled relying in your style. Mechanically this digital camera is extra strong than preliminary expectations may make it out to be. Pushing the digital camera in will start the pull-again mechanism, a lot in the best way that pushing the disc tray of a DVD or Blu-Ray participant would, and certain won’t trigger any lengthy-time period mechanical injury. There’s primarily no wobble to this digital camera both; the mechanism is extraordinarily tight, and even after hitting it pretty exhausting towards a wooden desk, doesn’t present any indicators of high quality degradation. There’s no strategy to pull up the digital camera by pressure, so no fear about stressing the mechanism inside.

Vivo has not solely redesigned the entrance-dealing with digital camera expertise for the NEX S, it has additionally chosen a really totally different earpiece for the telephone as nicely. Using a “screen soundcasting technology,” which vibrates towards the glass relatively than projecting an audible sound, the thought of an earpiece has been changed with one thing that works equally nicely. You possibly can even hear the sound as nicely from the again of the telephone as might be heard from the entrance, and in contrast to the preliminary generations of this sort of know-how, this earpiece is loud, clear and clear. It’s doubtless most individuals gained’t discover any actual distinction between this and a normal earpiece whereas making a telephone name, and it’s on this regard the place Vivo is the actual winner. There’s no compromise with this element although it’s of a totally totally different nature, delivering the identical output high quality with out the necessity for a bodily outward element.

The actual engineering marvel is in Vivo’s capability to make a telephone that feels glossy and slim, coming in at solely 8mm thick, but it packs an enormous four,000mAh battery, a motorized digital camera, sonic earpiece and a myriad different elements inside. Whereas it’s heavier than the typical “phablet” sized telephone, it’s nowhere close to the heaviest on this class both, nonetheless coming in at underneath 200g in weight. A regular pair of buttons is on the fitting aspect; an influence button simply above the mid-level, and a quantity rocker above that. On the left aspect of the telephone you’ll discover one thing new that’s shortly turn into a development in 2018: an AI button. By default, urgent this button will launch’s Vivo’s digital assistant, Jovi, however this button might be mapped simply to your digital assistant of selection. What’s extra is that this button can be utilized to carry out a number of duties too, relying on the digital assistant mapped; as an example, setting Google Assistant to the default assistant within the OS means a brief press of this key launches Google Lens, whereas an extended press launches Google Assistant.

Fingerprint Scanner, Pop-Up Digital camera, and Safety

It’s been quite a few years because the fingerprint scanner turned the de facto commonplace for safety on smartphones, however we’ve seen little change within the fingerprint reader’s design over that point. Whereas they’ve manifest the type of a button or a devoted scanner on the entrance, again or aspect of many telephones through the years, they’ve by no means been positioned beneath the glass and utterly hidden from sight. That’s the place Vivo has crushed each different OEM on the market to the punch, and is among the defining options of the NEX S certainly. Regardless of some superb engineering that it took to put a fingerprint reader within the show with out affecting show high quality in any respect, the precise accuracy and velocity of the fingerprint reader leaves lots to be desired. Typically occasions I discovered the scanner simply wouldn’t learn my finger in any respect, and even when it did there was a transparent half a second delay or so earlier than it decided a constructive or destructive studying outcome.

Because of this hit-or-miss nature, I discovered myself oftentimes simply placing in my PIN code, and I can see loads of customers giving up on the thought of utilizing the fingerprint reader in its entirety; the truth is I too would have finished the identical if I weren’t particularly testing the telephone out for evaluation. It’s clearly a primary-era product on this regard, and it’s going to be irritating. I discovered that the scanner labored greatest with clear, dry arms, frivolously pressed towards the display somewhat than forcefully smushed towards the glass. Since that is an optical reader, any discrepancies, comparable to inflation from humidity, oils and even dust on the pores and skin will considerably scale back the fingerprint scanner’s accuracy. There’s no facial recognition scanning both, so that you’ll probably be getting into a PIN to unlock the telephone extra typically than with most telephones in 2018.

Whereas the fingerprint scanner leaves so much to be desired, the idea of a motorized entrance-dealing with digital camera brings about some unimaginable consumer-dealing with insights into the world of smartphone permissions, particularly in terms of private privateness. Whereas it’s uncommon to seek out an app that violates consumer privateness for one cause or one other, there’s no actual strategy to detect such occasions once they occur. Vivo’s idea of elevating or decreasing the entrance-dealing with digital camera when the digital camera permission is requested provides a very visible indication of when an app is making an attempt to take a look at you, and it’s one thing I didn’t anticipate to like a lot. Most frequently you’ll discover the digital camera solely raises itself when making an attempt to take a selfie in any app, however there have been a couple of occasions the place I assumed the digital camera’s presence was unusual.

Allo, for example, seems to request entrance-dealing with digital camera permission always, no matter whether or not you’re truly making an attempt to take an image. The primary time I launched the app and noticed the digital camera pop-up, I used to be a bit alarmed, however as soon as I noticed what was happening I used to be somewhat shocked by the actual risk of privateness intrusion on different telephones with out figuring out it was even occurring. With the NEX S I do know one thing is requesting this permission, and you may confirm the app in query is requesting the permission by forcefully pushing the digital camera down. This, in flip, closes the app that’s requesting the digital camera permission, and whereas it’s in all probability not good in the long run to always do that to the motor, supplies an actual and easy strategy to decide what the offending app may be.

Efficiency and Battery Life

It’s uncommon to discover a telephone that doesn’t carry out properly sufficient these days, particularly when speaking a few flagship-class telephone just like the Vivo NEX S. Sporting Qualcomm’s newest processor, the Snapdragon 845, the Vivo NEX S is as quick as any flagship on the market. Placing it by way of the paces confirmed no indicators of slowing down in any respect, each aided by the quick processing package deal and greater than loads of RAM. There are solely a handful of flagships that ship 8GB of RAM, and lots of of those value greater than the Vivo NEX S too. A part of the trick right here is that the display is actually 1080p+, which helps maintain efficiency in examine over telephones that provide QHD and even 4K decision panels. When you doubtless gained’t discover a lot distinction in picture high quality with these greater decision telephones in most conditions, you’ll definitely discover the efficiency benefit this barely decrease decision provides when extra intense video games and purposes are operating.

Vivo is using a brand new multi-tasking Overview interface design for its Funtouch OS four replace, sticking with a horizontally scrolling carousel of full vertical tiles, however including some a lot-wanted “fun” to the expertise. There are numerous totally different designs on the planet of multi-tasking, and whereas no single design does the whole lot proper, Vivo’s design right here is just wonderful at what it does. Three app tiles are seen always, with the foreground app all the time nearer to the display because of a 3D grid that strikes the tiles towards or away from the display as you scroll. Along with having full view of every operating app, the names and icons of every app are prominently displayed on the prime of every card always, making identification of apps a easy and fast affair whereas scrolling via the carousel. Apps might be locked into reminiscence with a swipe down, and a swipe up dismisses them. The one casualty right here is the lack to shortly launch cut up display from this interface; as an alternative, you’ll have to pick the “multiple tasks” choice from the command middle, accessed by swiping up from the underside proper of the display.

Regardless of having blazing quick efficiency and wonderful multi-tasking administration, the battery lifetime of the Vivo NEX S is past stellar. The four,000mAh battery is bigger than the typical telephone by a minimum of 30%, and Vivo’s wonderful software and background process administration means you’ll simply get 2 full days of battery life out of this telephone, even should you’re an influence consumer. Most days I ended with draining solely 30-40% of the entire battery, leaving loads of room for the subsequent day’s use. On common I hovered round 7 to eight hours of display on time over 2 full days, which means this telephone noticed very actual use over that two day interval with none further charging or topping up. By default, most apps aren’t allowed to run within the background for lengthy durations of time, however this may be simply modified within the battery settings. It’s irritating to even see this as a default conduct when not in energy saving mode, particularly with such a big battery, however no less than the toggle switches work correctly and maintain notifications and different essential info from being delivered late. The NEX S is among the solely 2018 flagships with true 2-day battery life, and that is really an enormous deal in the long run.

Wi-fi Connectivity, Sound

We frequently see very specialised units come out of China, and the Vivo NEX S completely matches that invoice, virtually thought-about an “experimental phone” by many. Regardless of becoming into this moniker in some methods, the Vivo NEX S is completely prepared for Worldwide use, and I discovered no issues getting a 4G LTE sign on T-Cellular US the place I stay. Because it’s not a T-Cellular licensed system, there’s no chance of ever getting WiFi Calling engaged on that community, however different networks around the globe might function this functionality with the telephone. There’s additionally no VoLTE on T-Cellular US for a similar cause, however once more, you might not have this concern relying in your service of selection. The software program help is there, you’ll simply want to ensure your favourite service helps the tech forward of time earlier than hoping to make use of it.

Regardless of the claims of some OEMS that enormous batteries and small bezels imply it’s worthwhile to take away different key elements, Vivo has “magically” discovered a method to each scale back the bezels and embrace an additional giant battery, all whereas nonetheless providing a three.5mm audio jack and a motorized digital camera. It’s corporations like Vivo assist unearth a number of the PR nonsense we hear from different corporations relating to the three.5mm jack. As such, Vivo gives every thing and the kitchen sink to consumers of the NEX S, which provides three.5mm audio, USB Sort-C audio, and naturally wi-fi audio by way of Bluetooth Sound high quality from the three.5mm jack is common, delivering strong tunes with an honest vary of sound, however nothing extraordinary. I additionally had a problem utilizing some USB Sort-C headphones with the NEX S, however that is pretty typical on the earth of USB Sort-C the place the usual just isn’t all the time adhered to correctly. The only backside-dealing with speaker is fairly unimaginable for each being a single speaker, in addition to only a backside dealing with one. It’s tremendous loud, very clear, and sometimes produces sound that’s above and past the standard, readability, and quantity of most single backside-dealing with audio system.

Software program

Vivo’s FunTouch OS pores and skin for Android is definitely iOS-themed definitely, which brings about some constructive and damaging elements with it. Navigation feels extra like iOS than something by default, and when you can change out the launcher to make it really feel extra like different Android-powered units, the system-vast navigation stays vivo’s personal creation. An amalgam of Android and iOS, you’ll discover the pull-down notification shade’s primary perform is all that is still, appearing as a notification middle however nothing else. Fast toggles have been moved to an iOS-fashion Management Middle, accessed by swiping up from the underside, which is a constructive in some ways. This devoted management middle shows 10 fast toggles directly, whereas the default pull-down Android fast toggles solely show 5. Swiping over to the subsequent web page reveals one other 10 shortcuts which embrace some surprises, like calculator and digital camera, along with typical ones like WiFi and Bluetooth.

The draw back to this design is the lack to shortly choose from totally different WiFi or Bluetooth networks with out having to open these particular person settings, slightly you’ll be able to solely toggle them on and off from this panel. Devoted brightness and sound sliders could be discovered above these fast toggles, and a sliding four-icon row of lately opened apps is discovered on the prime of the panel. The lockscreen is a bit irritating, because it’s utterly locked down and doesn’t permit for notification viewing or management middle entry till the telephone is unlocked. Many telephones have the choice to lock this down, if desired, however it’s pressured right here.

Notifications are additionally locked down fairly a bit by default, notably on the lockscreen, the place most apps don’t have permission to show their notifications on the lockscreen till modified in any other case. Provided that you need to dig fairly a bit simply to get to this setting, it’s doubtless many individuals will miss out on the comfort of notifications for his or her favourite apps on the lockscreen, particularly because the fingerprint reader is a bit annoying to make use of, because of its basic sluggish nature and inaccuracy in figuring out fingerprints very often. There are many constructive factors to the pores and skin general although, together with the power to simply change defaults for apps, and help for a lot of additional OS-degree options like Google ARCore. These are two massive ache factors in a lot of telephones nonetheless, as many closely-skinned telephones from China nonetheless prohibit default apps in some ways, and loads of telephones ship with out compatibility with Google’s ARCore as properly.

Hardware Assistant buttons have begun to be commonplace on flagship telephones, appearing like a Walkie-Talkie for the constructed-in AI assistant. By default this button calls up Jovi, vivo’s personal digital assistant, however could be remapped to any assistant put in on the telephone. This consists of Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, and so forth. Google Assistant works brilliantly with this button, as a press and maintain features like a Walkie-Talkie, as said earlier than, letting you’re taking your time inputting a command by urgent and holding the button till you’re completed speaking. A single press will launch Google Lens, permitting for fast visible identification of something round your individual, and Google Lens may also be immediately launched from the digital camera software program as nicely.

Digital camera Software program

The digital camera software program design is fairly typical of a contemporary smartphone, together with a big white shutter button, swipeable modes from the primary display, and rows of fast toggles alongside the highest of the display. The software program is lightning quick to launch, regardless of the place you begin it from. There’s no fast button to launch the digital camera (the default double-faucet energy button shortcut is gone), however the digital camera could be launched from the management middle on the backside if configured. It additionally focuses lightning quick because of the twin-pixel part detection autofocus on the sensor; the identical tech utilized in sensors on Samsung, HTC or Google’s newest telephones. As is typical of this kind of software program design, switching modes takes means too lengthy. That is already the worst sort of digital camera software program design due to this kind of factor, and it takes a full second to modify between any mode, particularly if making an attempt to swipe by way of.

You possibly can click on on the phrases to modify the mode, however that’s solely good if it’s displayed on display in the intervening time, and there’s too many modes to have the ability to use this for all of them. Guide mode is primary however gives some lengthy shutter occasions and a comparatively excessive ISO most of 3200, however there’s no focus peaking for guide focus or a lot else in the best way of superior choices right here. On the opposite aspect of the carousel you’ll discover AR Sticker mode, which is fairly commonplace in its execution. The AR sticker choice could be very small, primarily simply easy masks like we’ve seen prior to now, and nothing loopy just like the ARCore stickers Google or different OEMs have begun including into their cameras. This telephone does function ARCore help although, so there’s nothing stopping anybody from simply downloading a type of apps and using higher Augmented Actuality (AR) stuff that method.

In commonplace photograph mode you’ll discover a row of choices up prime, none of which function any sort of descriptors initially, however fortunately offer you a small trace of what they do after clicking them. HDR toggles, stay photograph and portrait modes are a single click on away, and the choices menu is pretty properly labeled as an entire, though that 24-megapixel mode might use a bit extra explaining. The one description within the record is “24M,” which is sort of obscure, and there’s no approach of actually telling what this bizarrely labeled setting does until you flip it on and take a number of photographs with it. Even nonetheless, evaluating the 24-megapixel mode aspect by aspect with the usual 12-megapixel mode reveals little to no distinction in most conditions, and typically this mode truly produced barely fuzzier footage, each in vibrant and low mild. It’s a mode that harkens again to these 50-megapixel interpolated modes we noticed on smartphones for a while, however it feels much less efficient than these.

AI Scene identification is a development that’s been utilized in many telephones, however Vivo’s implementation of it actually simply isn’t excellent, until in fact you take pleasure in your telephones wanting like they’ve been put via Instagram filters on a regular basis. More often than not I discovered this mode simply jacks up the saturation to unnatural ranges, and actually it simply appears greatest to show it off.

Digital camera Efficiency and Outcomes

Probably the most distinctive options of the vivo NEX S needs to be the pop-up entrance-dealing with digital camera. This digital camera’s high quality is sort of good, sporting an eight-megapixel sensor and an f/ lens, together with a normal angle of view. Dynamic vary is certainly higher than the typical entrance-dealing with digital camera on the market, and particulars are marginally higher too. When pitting it towards the Huawei P20 Professional or HTC U12+, telephones with devoted area on the entrance for the entrance-dealing with digital camera, the outcomes usually favor vivo’s digital camera when the whole lot is added up, together with extra pure colours and higher dynamic vary, and sometimes higher general element as properly. Evaluating it to the one different telephone with a mechanized entrance-dealing with digital camera on the market, the Oppo Discover X, it’s fairly clear the Discover X produces a lot sharper photographs with considerably extra element in virtually each state of affairs. Low mild help on the vivo NEX S is fairly strong, out-performing many different telephones available on the market, however nonetheless coming in beneath what the Oppo Discover X can ship. This digital camera doesn’t supply portrait mode on the entrance-dealing with digital camera, however it provides some fascinating lighting results that try and mimic totally different lighting circumstances.

Photograph high quality from the auto mode on the primary rear digital camera reveals some completely unimaginable dynamic vary. The truth is, footage from this telephone, entrance or again, show a few of the absolute widest dynamic vary out of any smartphone available on the market. Colours actually pop and look pure when AI scene identification is off, and general stability is extraordinarily good. As an entire, footage from this telephone are reliably good and top quality the overwhelming majority of the time, and ship a way of confidence that many different telephones don’t present. Photographs from this telephone are persistently brighter, holding higher shadow element all whereas suppressing the blown-out look that may happen on brighter objects. It’s additionally acquired extra pure colour than most of the different telephones we’ve examined, a direct results of higher dynamic vary in addition to higher scene detection for varieties of mild.

The one actual weak spot tends to be zoom element, the place the processing could be overly heavy at occasions and muddy up the small print. It’s not horrible, as we’ve undoubtedly seen worse from different telephones, however with solely a 12-megapixel sensor it’s essential to have tight processing that doesn’t go overboard on noise discount. In these conditions it’s troublesome to inform what the precise wrongdoer of the element loss may be, nevertheless it tends to be on sure telephones when HDR kicks in, because it combines a number of totally different photographs collectively, every with their very own publicity worth, and at occasions that mixture might end in lack of high quality element relying on the algorithm. Whereas this may be fastened on some telephones by zooming in by way of the viewfinder once you want distance element, there’s no optical zoom on the Vivo NEX S, so no assist from that secondary digital camera when zooming in with the viewfinder. It’s not all the time the loser each single time in zoom comparisons, nevertheless it’s definitely the case more often than not.

Average mild efficiency is usually wonderful general. Average mild refers to occasions of the day like daybreak or nightfall, and in addition together with many several types of indoor lighting as properly. In these conditions you’ll discover the Vivo NEX S ranks among the many greatest performers available on the market, as soon as once more delivering excellent dynamic vary and colour accuracy, whereas many telephones are likely to lose shade element or over brighten photographs. Pictures come away wanting vibrant, clear and pure wanting, and usually are merely excellent pictures. The massive 1.four micron pixels on this 12-megapixel sensor do an excellent job of sucking in numerous mild, and the f/1.eight lens additionally helps fairly a bit right here.

These aren’t the most important pixels available on the market, nor the bottom f-cease lens, so whereas it gained’t be competing toe-to-toe with low mild champs just like the Huawei P20 Professional in most low mild conditions, it’s undoubtedly higher than the typical smartphone in these conditions, and can doubtless make anybody completely happy who’s in search of a usually good low mild performer. The identical qualities that make different lighting circumstances look nice on this telephone are current right here; good dynamic vary, acceptable ranges of element, and doubtless most significantly in darkish conditions, wonderful, pure colour accuracy. Actually, I discovered the hotter tones from the Vivo to be extra engaging in these decrease mild circumstances than the P20 Professional’s photographs, even when the P20 Professional ended up producing photographs that have been higher in additional areas of measurement.

Portrait mode is fairly good as properly, nevertheless it additionally depends upon what you’re in search of. Software program clever, it’s capable of regulate the digital aperture on the fly with a fast swipe up or down anyplace on the viewfinder after touching to focus. Aperture defaults at f/four, however ranges from f/16 for a principally in-focus background, right down to f/zero.95 for an excellent blurred background with tight foreground focus. This may be adjusted after the very fact too, so should you’d just like the background to be kind of blurry after taking the shot, it’s as straightforward as going into the gallery and clicking the ‘Portrait Bokeh’ button on backside. It’s not tremendous apparent that this can be a button, however given the design I’d be stunned if it weren’t clicked sooner or later when simply scrolling by means of, even when accidentally. As an entire this mode does an honest job, because it makes use of that 5-megapixel digital camera on the again as a depth sensor particularly for this mode anyway.

The truth is, as a result of Vivo solely makes use of this second digital camera as a depth sensor, it’s capable of catch the portrait mode at a surprisingly fast velocity, even with shifting objects. Whereas it’s not the highest quality portrait mode you’ll discover on a telephone, with the ability to use it in darker conditions or whereas topics are shifting makes it fairly beneficial as an entire, particularly in case you’re not blowing up these photographs to wallpaper ranges of zooming in. They undoubtedly disintegrate when viewing on something bigger than a smartphone display although, even a display as massive as this one, as there are many factors within the shot the place the calculation for what’s purported to be within the foreground is simply utterly mistaken. It’s additionally not excellent at detecting elements of the photograph the place gaps happen at occasions, just like the area between the bike and an arm, for instance. Fortunately it’s quick at taking these kind of photographs, so take a couple of at a time and also you’re sure to finish up with one thing respectable. Evaluating it to a telephone that does a a lot better job at foreground recognition, just like the Huawei P20 Professional for example, reveals how a lot better recognition might be for extra staged photographs that don’t contain motion.

Video is one other place the place the Vivo NEX S really shines, and it does so in virtually each single space. Overlaying the weak factors first, you’ll discover that sluggish movement is fairly commonplace, providing 240 frames per second recording at 1080p decision. That is nonetheless beautiful sluggish movement with wonderful high quality, nevertheless it’s anticipated to be at the least this good at this level in 2018, if not higher in additional respects. Different telephones supply greater body charges, slowing down the movement even additional, however so far as commonplace sluggish movement goes, this actually is a wonderful digital camera for such a factor. Extremely quick focusing helps too, ensuring extra of the video is in focus than watching the digital camera slowly attempt to focus as an alternative.

There’s no help for 60FPS recording at 4K decision, solely 60FPS at 1080p. The vivo NEX S produces a number of the nicest, cleanest and sharpest 4K outputs available on the market although, regardless of the shortage of additional choices. Simply as in photograph mode, Vivo’s HDR methodology is just unimaginable, and presents not solely a brighter image through the day than the typical smartphone, however wider dynamic vary as nicely. With higher shadow element and fewer blown out highlights, colours seem deeper, richer and extra correct to life relatively than tainted by the negative effects of a small sensor making an attempt to maintain up with an enormous process. When evaluating it to the HTC U12+ you’ll discover they’re pretty neck and neck, which is a large praise to Vivo, and on this specific scene the NEX S even edges out the U12+ a bit because of wider dynamic vary and a few extra engaging colours.

The identical goes for when evaluating subsequent to the opposite main bezelless telephone with a pop-up digital camera, the OPPO Discover X, the place the Vivo NEX S pulls out some considerably higher dynamic vary and sharper general particulars, in addition to providing extra secure video when strolling round. Colours are a bit heat in movies, a development that follows all through the expertise, though hotter colours are typically pleasing to the attention. Placing it subsequent to the Huawei P20 Professional exhibits simply how a lot work Vivo has put into the actual time processing of video. Considerably sharper element at occasions, extra engaging colours, and lots of occasions extra correct colours, particularly when greater ISO is used, and higher stabilization as properly. One thing considerably higher than most telephones is its capacity to not solely immediately give attention to an object in an extremely clean method, however focus that’s unbelievably correct as properly. It completely outdoes the P20 PRO in our exams, and faculties the OPPO Discover X in the identical approach as nicely.

Zooming in won’t be nearly as good on this telephone as it’s with the P20 Professional or OPPO Discover X, as each of these telephones function a second digital camera with optical zoom. Watching these telephones leap to the secondary digital camera exhibits simply how essential an optical zoom lens could be in sure conditions, however the NEX S continues to be higher stabilized than both of these telephones regardless the truth that they could supply enhanced element, so chances are you’ll discover one to be extra preferable over the opposite if it’s a must to select. Low mild efficiency is sweet, however nothing overly particular. It produces a brighter image than the OPPO Discover X, and in addition pulls in a tiny bit extra element than that telephone as properly, not simply because it’s a brighter image and may see extra objects in a darkish scene, however as a result of the whole lot is only a tad sharper as nicely. It’s right here the place the bigger sensor of the Huawei P20 Professional pulls forward although, because it’s each capable of suck in additional mild and extra element, and even zooming right into a distant object with harsh lighting can look considerably higher on the P20 Professional over the opposite two telephones.

The Good

Killer design

Big display, small footprint

three.5mm audio jack with 32-bit DAC

In-glass earpiece sounds wonderful

2-day battery life

Tons of RAM and storage

Lightning-quick and correct digital camera focusing

Wonderful general photograph high quality

Prime-notch video high quality

Good worth pack-ins like a top quality case

Assistant button is useful

Pop-up digital camera highlights apps with suspect digital camera permission

Wonderful gesture navigation choices

High quality vibration motors

The Dangerous

Fingerprint scanner is sluggish and inaccurate

Multi-window is bizarrely restrictive with app compatibility

No help for top body price video (60FPS, tremendous-sluggish movement, and so on)


Vivo has crafted an unimaginable telephone that’s not simply slicing-edge in its design but in addition feels properly-rounded and properly-thought-out. It’s acquired a great deal of customization choices, together with gesture-based mostly navigation and loads of different UI customizations as properly, together with a big set of further settings and options too. The design of the telephone is a factor of magnificence, with an enormous display, not-so-big footprint, tiny bezels, and a singular pop-up entrance-dealing with digital camera too. It’s additionally acquired true 2-day battery life, one thing most flagships might solely dream of, all whereas not sacrificing efficiency or high quality of expertise. Match this with a superb all-round digital camera and even a pleasant packed-in case, and vivo’s acquired themselves an actual winner with the NEX S. The worth is hard to beat proper now too, coming in across the similar worth because the OnePlus 6, with the in-glass fingerprint reader’s sluggish and inaccurate nature being the one actual massive ache-level of the telephone. It’s a strong suggestion, even when that you must import the telephone to get it.

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