MWC 2018 has paved the way for bezel-less future showcasing near bezel-less displays on every consumer products that come with a display attached. But the bezels are there for a reason as they hold a significant amount of hardware for functionalities. On a smartphone, going bezel-less means finding a different spot for the earpiece, proximity sensor, the ambient light sensor and more importantly the front-facing camera.
Vivo recently showcased a concept smartphone – the Vivo Apex, which has different tricks up its sleeve to handle the shortcoming of a truly bezel-less smartphone.
The Vivo Apex comes with a 6-inch Full HD+ display with 18:9 aspect ratio. It has one of the highest screen to body ratio of almost 96%. On three sides the bezels measure at 1.8mm while on the bottom it’s 4.3mm. Vivo claims the screen to body ratio of 98% can be achieved if it can bring down the bottom bezels to 1.8mm. Even so, the phone looks absolutely stunning with no ugly notch popularized by the iPhone X.
Also, the use of flexible OLED panel has enabled the manufacturers to fit in a flexible circuit board. So what does it result in? A proximity sensor inside the display that detects whether the phone is idle or picked up. And for the earpiece, Vivo has used Screen SoundCasting Technology which vibrates the display to produce sound. Compared to traditional loudspeakers, this audio solution for bezel-less smartphones conserves power, reduces sound leakage, and optimizes low to high pitch sound for a better and more balanced audio experience.
Since we are talking about Vivo here – the one that made a huge splash at CES 2018 with the first on-screen fingerprint sensor (Clear ID) in Vivo X20 Plus UD. This time, they have incorporated an even larger optic fingerprint sensor on the display. The sensor occupies almost ⅓ of the display meaning you have more freedom on where to place your finger when unlocking the device. With a large sensor, why do you have to be ordinary and use just one finger to unlock the phone right?
Well, that’s what Vivo thought and the Apex has been equipped with an option to use two fingers to unlock the device.
With the public’s concern for privacy, the future gadgets seem to be full of hidden cameras. The earlier launched MateBook X Pro kept a front facing camera hidden inside a key on the keyboard. Likewise, the new Vivo Apex has an elevating 8MP front facing camera which is hidden inside the phone. When you switch to the front shooter, the camera pops up and takes about 0.8secs to get ready and take a picture. The camera then goes right back in whenever you switch to rear camera or exit from the camera app. In similar fashion, a big LED flash hidden inside the phone can greatly enhance low light selfies as well. Is there a possibility that elevating camera gets stuck due to system lag or error?
On the side of the elevating camera is the ambient light sensor that usually sits along with the proximity sensor.
As you might have noticed from the pictures, the phone has no navigation bar. Well, that seems like another thing in the smartphone that we have to get used to. For navigation, gestures are used like in the iPhone X. To be more precise, it uses almost all the current gestures of the iPhone X for navigation. The debate of if the back button should be on the left or the right is finally coming to an end on Android!
Vivo Apex also offers headphone jack with dedicated DAC. For DAC it uses Vivo’s new System in Package technology. It eliminates the use of circuit board resulting in more space for battery!
On the rear, the phone sports a glass back and metal frame in between. It also has dual camera setup. Vivo didn’t bother to put an LED flash there since it’s a concept phone.
Vivo has brilliantly showcased unique measures to achieve maximum screen to body ratio without compromising on functionalities. Since it’s a concept phone the choice of internal hardware including CPU and GPU is arbitrary at this point. Then again, it’s a concept device which may or may not see the light of day in the future. But we can hope to see some of these technologies being implemented on future smartphones.