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vivo Apex 2019 has a full-screen fingerprint reader, no ports or buttons

The vivo Apex 2019 is supposed to be the future of smartphones, but has it gone too far?

Published onJanuary 24, 2019

Render of the vivo Apex 2019 concept

vivo officially announced the Apex 2019 today at a press conference in Beijing. While the handset might look reasonably standard at first glance, the company is using this concept device to highlight the future of smartphone design. Supposedly, this future world won’t include ports or buttons.

The goal in creating the Apex 2019 was to build a unibody device with no seams, openings, or bezels. To do that, vivo had to get creative.

To replace physical buttons, the company followed in the HTC U12 Plus’ footsteps and is using a pressure-sensing frame. So instead of clicking a button, a user will squeeze different areas of the Apex 2019 and the phone will react accordingly.

For charging, vivo is replacing the USB-C port with a magnetic power connector. Users shouldn’t lose any functionality with this change, as the company claims that the accessory can be used for charging and data transfer.

Render of the bottom side of the vivo Apex 2019 concept

The lack of seams continues onto the phone’s display. Just like the Sharp Aquos Crystal and Xiaomi Mi Mix, vibration technology makes the screen the speaker. This eliminates the need for a speaker grille.

Despite being relatively new, in-display fingerprint sensors have come a long way over the last two years. vivo is moving the tech another step forward in the Apex 2019 by introducing full-display fingerprint scanning.

Sideview render of the vivo Apex 2019 concept

Traditionally, phones include a single sensor under the display that scans a person’s fingerprint when it’s set onto the glass. With vivo’s tech, there will be multiple sensors under the screen so that users can unlock the Apex 2019 by touching almost any area of the display. This will be supported by a new feature which will identify when a finger is near the glass and light up pixels around the closest touch point.

The vivo Apex 2019 will be the company’s first phone to work on 5G networks. According to the company, it was able to fit the required 5G modules into the phone by using a duplex PCB design that saved it 20 percent of additional space. You won’t need to attach a module to the handset to make it work on next-gen networks.

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Red 5G logo projected 2

Powering all of this will be the Snapdragon 855 CPU. Additionally, the Apex 2019 is set to ship with 12GB of RAM, 256GB of non-expandable storage, and various smart features such as the company’s Jovi AI Assistant.

Interestingly, vivo didn’t touch on the phone’s cameras. While it’s not much of a shock that the company isn’t releasing details about the dual rear cameras yet, there was also no word about the lack of a selfie cam. Maybe vivo plans to release the phone with a camera under the display? Maybe it’s skipping the front-facing shooter altogether? We’ll have to wait and see.

Render of the front side of vivo Apex 2019 concept under water.

vivo will be showing off the Apex 2019 concept at MWC 2019 at the end of February. We should hopefully learn more about when the company plans to release an official version of the concept device then.

The new vivo Apex comes less than a day after another port-less, button-less device launched in China. The Meizu Zero is just as seamless as the Apex, though vivo’s phone does seem to be more technically advance thanks to the all-screen fingerprint detection and 5G support.

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