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Vivo’s APEX concept phone goes where no phone has before

The vivo X20 UD is the first smartphone to put the fingerprint sensor under the screen. It's this kind of forward thinking that shows that vivo understands the future of smartphone tech and security.

Published onFebruary 25, 2018

In January vivo unveiled the world’s first phone with an in-display fingerprint scanner. While this was already impressive, vivo’s ambitions don’t stop here. As Mobile World Congress starts, vivo unveiled the APEX, a brand new concept device that takes fingerprint scanning and full-screen smartphone design to a whole new level.

The latest handset from vivo is almost completely bezel-less and offers several revolutionary new technologies that improve everything from the fingerprint scanner to sound quality and selfies. In short, the vivo APEX is a true gamechanger.

So what exactly makes the vivo APEX so special? Let’s take a closer look at some of the best features of this unique concept phone.

A nearly bezel-free display

The vivo APEX concept smartphone continues the company’s bold push to create true FullView designs that make the bezel nearly extinct, as seen on phones like the V7, V7+, X20, and X20 Plus. The APEX just happens to take this goal to new heights.

This new APEX concept will have bezels on the top and sides of the display that will be just 1.8mm, which will be the thinnest ever for such a phone. The bottom bezel will be very thin at just 4.3mm. If vivo further develops this concept and gets the bottom bezel down to just 1.8mm, that means such a phone would have a 98 percent screen-to-body ratio. This is beyond impressive.

The secret to this screen design is vivo’s flexible OLED platform, which enables microchips to be mounted directly to the flexible circuit board. As you can imagine, this saves crucial space that can be used to make the phone’s profile as small as possible.

Half the screen can be a fingerprint scanner

The display itself is certainly one of the APEX’s star features, but don’t forget about what’s under the display — a fingerprint scanner. The vivo APEX concept device uses an improved in-display fingerprint scanning technology that differs from what we saw at CES.

vivo decided to up its game with the APEX by increasing the scanner size so the bottom half of the display can recognize fingerprints anywhere you touch. vivo calls the new technology a Half-Screen In-Display Fingerprint Scanning Technology.

What makes the half-screen sensor really stand out is that you don’t have to carefully tap in a specific spot, making the phone more flexible and intuitive. It’s also potentially more secure thanks to support for a new dual-fingerprint scanning setup, where it will take two fingers to unlock the phone.

Turning the display into a speaker

The vivo APEX concept is also trying to help make listening to songs, podcasts and other audio files better on a phone.

vivo has created what it calls Screen SoundCasting Technology. Basically, it will turn the entire APEX display into a speaker, sending vibrations through the screen, and ditching the normal, and usually sub-par, phone speakers. This new technology also uses less power than traditional audio methods, which is always welcome.

Screen SoundCasting Technology turns the entire APEX display into a speaker, sending vibrations through the screen, and ditching the normal, and usually sub-par, phone speakers.

vivo says Screen SoundCasting Technology cuts down on sound leakage and optimizes low to high pitch sound, so owners will get a better overall experience while listening to audio.

Speaking of audio, the vivo APEX concept also uses a new System in Package (SIP) technology to offer users a better quality Hi-Fi audio experience. The company has managed to integrate the DAC and the three amplifiers together inside the body of the phone.

The final result is that the space for the circuit board has been cut down by almost 60 percent, compared to the older vivo Xplay6. This should allow the APEX to have more space for a larger battery, along with better cooling so there’s less danger of the phone overheating.

Elevate your selfies with the new front camera

Even selfie cameras are getting a makeover with the vivo APEX concept. It includes an 8MP front-facing camera that actually elevates out of the phone’s body when it is in use. It takes just 0.8 seconds for the Elevating Front Camera to rise out of the APEX’s body, and goes back down when it is not being used.

If you are worried that such a phone might be prone to breaking down, vivo says that the APEX concept phone, if it is indeed launched into full production, will be as vigorously tested and optimized to work well as with all of the company’s products.

Each of vivo’s phones goes through hundreds of tests, including ones that check the device’s mechanical and environmental adaptability. Yes, vivo’s phones also go through a lot of destructive tests as well before they are approved to go on sale.

The design of the APEX also puts the phone’s proximity sensor below the display, and also hides the ambient light sensor. All of these design decisions will give users an excellent selfie camera experience, while also cutting down even more on the phone’s screen-to-body ratio.

The APEX is breaking new ground in smartphone design

The vivo APEX concept shows how the company is pushing the envelope on smartphone design, and it also confirms that vivo itself is a company that is willing to take risks and stand away from the crowd by setting its own trends.

From breakthroughs in audio, photography to In-Display Fingerprint Scanning Technology, vivo has remained committed to realizing our vision for future smartphones. Alex Feng, Senior V.P. of vivo

According to Alex Feng, the Senior Vice President of vivo, “From breakthroughs in audio, photography to In-Display Fingerprint Scanning Technology, vivo has remained committed to realizing our vision for future smartphones. What we showcase in this concept phone is only a fraction of our innovation pipeline. We will continue to explore all possibilities to bring the best possible experiences to our consumers.”

It’s always nice to see a company that’s willing to try new things and the APEX certainly looks like a killer device. Here’s to hoping the handset becomes a real commercial product sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, be sure to keep up to date on news of the APEX by checking out vivo’s official website, along with its Facebook and Instagram accounts.

What do you think of the company’s latest concept phone? Shout off in the comments below.

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