Vivo’s Apex in-display camera wants to kill the notch
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Vivo teases its Apex 2020 concept phone ahead of its official unveiling on Chinese social media.


Chinese phone maker Vivo announced its Apex 2020 concept phone on Friday via press release. The phone’s originally scheduled launch at Mobile World Congress was cancelled due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.

The latest iteration of the Apex has a 6.45-inch ultra-curved display that bends at an angle of up to 120 degrees on both sides, resulting in an ultra-narrow bezel and a futuristic aesthetic. Like the 2019 incarnation, ports and physical buttons are nonexistent, instead that latter is replaced with virtual pressure-sensing buttons. 

The Apex 2020 has a dual-lens camera setup like its predecessor, but this time around, Vivo has also crammed a 16-megapixel selfie camera inside the display. This marks the first time Vivo has unveiled a so-called under-screen camera, effectively killing any need for a notch. It appears to be identical to the “under-screen camera” technology debuted by Oppo, which is owned by the same parent company. But Oppo never released a phone using the camera technology that people could actually buy, and Apex phones aren’t made for production either. 


In a first for Vivo, the company says underneath its display lies a 16-megapixel selfie camera.


The main rear sensor is a massive 48-megapixel periscope camera that offers between 5x to 7.5x continuous optical zoom. In comparison, the iPhone 11Pro Max offers 2x optical zoom and the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra has 4x optical zoom. Huawei’s P30 Pro offers 5x zoom, though its upcoming P40 Pro is speculated to have an astonishing 10x optical zoom. 

Vivo says it’s embedded a gimbal-like structure into its main camera, which it claims has a 200% increase in performance over OIS systems. That should allow for means smoother video and better night time photography due to its slower shutter speed. However, it’s tough to tell whether the technology lives up to the press release, since we didn’t get a chance to even see the Apex 2020 first-hand, let alone use it, after organizers pulled the plug on MWC 2020.

Like Vivo’s previous Apex concept phones, the Apex 2020 won’t go into production, but it does offer a glimpse into how Vivo sees the future of phone design. It also shows how far Apex hopes it can push the limits of its hardware. For instance, the Apex 2018 that was unveiled at MWC two years ago introduced the pop-up selfie camera to the world, and it ultimately appeared in Vivo’s flagship Nex S a few months later. 

Quick specs

  • Display: 6.45 inch, 120-degree curved waterfall display
  • Rear camera: 48-megapixel periscope sensor, 5-7.5x continuous optical zoom
  • Front camera: 16-megapixel in display camera
  • Fast charging: 60-watt fast charge
  • Processor: Snapdragon 865 with X55 modem
  • Storage: 12+256 GB
  • Weight: 169g

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