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A brand new Android phone you can’t buy is as close as we’ve seen to a perfect design

Published Sep 16th, 2019 9:15PM EDT
Vivo Nex 3 Release Date
Image: Vivo

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We’re getting awfully close to the all-screen phone with all want, thanks to several innovations that have allowed smartphone vendors to reduce bezels to a minimum and increase screen real estate without also increasing the overall footprint of the handset. Most phones still come with various design compromises as technology isn’t quite ready to deliver a perfect all-screen handset with a display that hides the selfie camera, 3D face recognition sensors, fingerprint sensors, and speaker. That’s why we have phones with notches, slide-out cameras, and hole-punch displays.

But a new device announced this week, which you can’t actually buy, gets us even closer to that design.

Called the Vivo Nex 3 and unveiled officially in China, the phone is the world’s first handset to feature a waterfall display. We saw the device appear in various rumors before, so we knew that Vivo was going to beat Huawei to launching phones with waterfall displays.

The handset looks a lot like the Galaxy S, which put curved displays on the map. However, the curvatures are more pronounced, hence the term “waterfall display.” That means the screen almost wraps around the phone’s edges, further reducing the size of side bezels. One other side-effect is that there’s no more room for physical buttons on the sides, so everything is built right into the edges of the phone. An in-display fingerprint sensor is also found on the Vivo Nex 3.

Huawei later this week will unveil the Mate 30 Pro, which will have a similar design, though the phone will have a notch at the top and a physical power button on the side.

The Vivo Nex 3 does make one design compromise, featuring a slide-up selfie camera, which isn’t ideal. But the Nex 3 has no notch or hole-punch camera. Meanwhile, on the back, there’s a triple cam shooter placed in a circular module, featuring 64-megapixel, 13-megapixel ultra-wide, and 13-megapixel telephoto lenses. Dual 16-megapixel selfie cameras are present on the front (after they slide up).

When it comes to specs, the Vivo Nex 3 has quite a few tricks under the hood, including a few features that aren’t available on many 2019 Android flagships. We’re looking at a 6.89-inch 1080p Full HD display, Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon 855+ processor, up to12GB of RAM, 128GB or 256GB UFS 3.0 storage, 4,500 mAh battery with 44W fast-charging, and 5G support.

The 5G version will retail for 5,698 yuan ($806) in China, featuring 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The 4G model, with just 128GB flash memory, will cost 4,998 yuan ($707). A version with 12GB of RAM will go on sale on Saturday, according to Vivo. However, it’s unclear when the device will ship outside of China.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.