Vivo Nex Dual Display Edition hands-on: Who needs a selfie camera?

Just a couple of months ago we got our first glimpse at the Nubia X, the first smartphone with a display hidden on the back of the device. The secondary screen enabled Nubia to completely remove the front-facing camera, as users are able to use the secondary display as a viewfinder.

Today, Vivo announced the Nex Dual Display Edition, which takes the same concept as the Nubia X and beefs it up with powerful specs like a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and 10GB of RAM.

Editor’s Pick

The Vivo Nex Dual Display Edition is meant to give consumers more choice when deciding between a notch and a full-screen display. While the main display is already quite massive at 6.39-inches, the new Nex adds a 5.49-inch secondary display on the rear, removing the need for a selfie camera. This also means your selfies are taken with the more powerful rear-facing sensor, so they should come out quite a bit better than the selfie cameras on most smartphones.

The camera array on the back of the device houses three sensors: a 12MP dual-pixel primary sensor, a time-of-flight 3D sensor for depth sensing and 3D face unlock, and a specialized night sensor for better low-light capabilities. There are also multiple LEDs embedded in the ring going round the camera module, giving you a ring flashlight when you need it, or colorful lights that can be used to accent the appeal of the phone. This “Lunar Ring” light is great for when you want to take selfies at night, and I loved the look of the colored LEDs during our hands-on time with the Vivo Nex Dual Display.

Both screens get quite bright, but what is interesting about the Nex Dual Display Edition is you can clearly tell the rear display is a screen. With the Nubia X the screen was cleverly hidden into the casing of the phone, but that is definitely not the case here. I don’t really see it as a problem, but just thought it should be noted.

The rear display is actually much more useful than just for taking selfies. Vivo has enabled some special features, like the ability to tap on the back to shoot during gaming sessions. This effectively turns the back into a virtual trigger pad so you can shoot while running and aiming, which could help in games like Fortnite or PUBG.

The rear screen can act as a virtual trigger pad so you can shoot while running and aiming

The Nex Dual Display Edition also houses an in-display fingerprint reader like the original Nex, but buffs up the specs by shifting to 10GB of RAM. This makes it one of the few devices on the market with 10GB of RAM. (Incidentally, OnePlus announced the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition with 10GB of RAM just hours before the Nex.) Even though that much memory is effectively unusable in Android’s current state, it’s nice to see manufacturers getting ready for the future.

Vivo has also introduced a new feature called “Dual Turbo” that’s supposed to increase memory allocation by up to 10 percent. This means the device will make better use of its 10GB of memory, keeping more processes open and allocating more RAM to each application.

10GB is effectively unusable in Android’s current state, but it’s nice to see manufacturers getting ready for the future.

The Vivo Nex Dual Display Edition is available for pre-order in China starting today, and will become officially available December 29 for 4,998 yuan (roughly $725). Vivo has not revealed plans to make the Nex Dual Display Edition available internationally, but the company sold its predecessor abroad, so there’s a chance users outside of China will be able to give the new Nex a go.

We still have lots of questions about the Vivo Nex Dual Display.

We still have lots of questions about the Vivo Nex Dual Display. How’s the battery life? What is Vivo doing to get app developers to support the second display? Is a phone with a screen on the back durable enough for day-to day-use? Are the smaller bezels even worth the hassle? That said, the new Vivo Nex seems like a really exciting device. It’s nice to see manufacturers innovating in the space, and we’ll likely see more dual-display phones in the near future.

Now read: Honor View 20 detailed: in-display camera, 48MP rear camera and Link Turbo

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