Monsters from Asia: the 1440x2560 resolution display-touting Vivo Xplay 3S

At its very core, PhoneArena has always been about covering relevant and interesting content that is at least somewhat related with the mobile industry. But these two don't always go hand-in-hand. More precisely, while our wholly new, fortnightly 'Monsters from China' column may not appear exactly relevant, in that the devices we'll be covering are not freely available throughout the US and Europe, it is every bit interesting and important for the industry as a whole. Whether we agree with the practices employed by some Chinese manufacturers seems almost irrelevant, as these have been steadily progressing throughout the last two years, and some of them have actually gotten awfully close to offering little- to no-compromise devices. One such devices will be taking a place under the spotlights today: the QHD display-equipped vivo Xplay 3S. And, truth be told, we're just suckers for fancy devices of this caliber. 

Now, before we get into specifics about what makes the Xplay 3S a device worth your attention, even though it's unlikely to ever reach the shores of the US, it's worth pointing out that Vivo is a subsidiary of the same company that stands behind Oppo -- BBK Electronics. As many of you probably know at this point, the latter's products have consistently been of very high quality, and the same goes for Vivo. 

A premium manufacturer, Vivo now has a wide range of devices covering a big degree of the price spectrum, yet it's its newest, highest-end Vivo Xplay 3S that really caught our attention. Introduced amid overwhelming fanfare in its home country of China, the Xplay 3S managed to capture the attention of even the western world -- a rare feat for a Chinese smartphone. 

The reason for that is actually quite simple: it's packed to the very brim with some super bleeding-edge internals, and is currently unrivaled in terms of its hardware arsenal. We're talking a 6-inch display, sporting a crystal-clear resolution of 1440x2560 pixels (QHD), or about 490 pixels per inch. This is the first display of its kind to be officially announced, though we're still waiting to see one of those touch the hands of consumers. 

But a ridiculously crisp display is far from all the Xplay 3S has in store. It's also packing one of the more potent bins of Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragon 800 -- the 8974AB, running at 2.3GHz. The mighty silicon is further complimented with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of on-board storage. Vivo could've stopped right here, and they'd still have a flagship worth its salt, yet there's so much more. The manufacturer has also included a fingerprint sensor on the back of the Xplay 3S -- one of still very few such -- and also a set of stereo DTS speakers and headphones. The Xplay 3S is actually actively marketed as a Hi-Fi audio device, and that's for a good reason, thanks to a dedicated DAC and amplifier chips from ESS Technology and Texas Instruments, respectively. Take a breath, for we're not nearly done. The ambitious Xplay 3S also offers a 13-megapixel rear shooter with a super-wide, f/1.8 aperture lens, and a 5-megapixel, wide-angle front snapper. The phablet also has a 3200mAh battery snugged inside, and dual-mode LTE antenna, meaning that it'll work with both China's 4G LTE network (TDD-LTE) and the rest of the world's (FDD-LTE), at least in theory. Before we wrap this up, it's also worth pointing that the Vivo Xplay 3S is, design-wise, a very polished device. Despite its screen, the phablet is actually fairly 'compact' and slender (158.2 x 82.6 x 8.7 mm, 174 grams), as bezels are super slim.

Surely, such a package must cost in the thousands of dollars, right? Not exactly -- it's currently listed for pre-order at 3498 Chinese yuan (~$580) for people in China, but you can probably guess that scalpers will bump pricing up if you're looking to get this phablet in the States or Europe. Moreover, we can't help but admit that Vivo kind of dropped the ball with the Xplay 3S in one particular regard -- availability was promised for mid-January, yet current plans put the actual release at the end of February. The reasons we can think for the delay are many -- Vivo, for example, could have rushed this in order to snatch a tentative 'first' with the QHD display, or this could be related to the particular model of Snapdragon 800 the company is gunning for. The same has been alleged as the culprit in production delays of neighboring Xiaomi with its 'international' version of its flagship Mi-3. Apparently, there just aren't enough of those chips around right now. Lastly, it's not at all unlikely to imagine that the display itself is keeping Vivo engineers awake at night. As with any new tech, there's always the risk of low and defective yields. 

The Vivo Xplay 3S sounds like a super-awesome piece of bleeding-edge goodness, and yet, for the time being, it's nothing more than talk and show. But, given a chance, and should it materialize in its promised form, would you snatch a unit for yourself? We sure would.

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Monsters from Asia (49 updates)

Related phones

Xplay 3S
  • Display 6.0" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2300 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 3200 mAh



1. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Not bad, just lets try to focus on improved battery life. We don't need screen resolutions that there is no content for. Overall not bad, design ques taken from iPhone and HTC one and terrible capacitive button arrangement from Samsung.

3. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Looks nothing like an iPhone.

9. Ashoaib

Posts: 3298; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Looks near to htc one but how come iphone? I am not feeling its design or any cues from iphone.. I will purchase it... finger scan is ridiculously close to the camera, I hope camera will be a good shooter... chinese companies are bad in camera department so far

2. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

What a beast! But where can I buy it? Is Vivo planning to release it internationally?

4. Duketytz

Posts: 534; Member since: Nov 28, 2013

I want it! It should be released internationally!

5. g2a5b0e unregistered

Is is just me or does that fingerprint scanner look worthless? It's not very wide...

7. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

The shape of the fingerprint scanner looks like the one in a old HP laptop, it's not wide as well.

8. Chris.P

Posts: 567; Member since: Jun 27, 2013

It's a swipe-type scanner, so its size looks sufficient. Question is how accurate (and ergonomic) it will be.

11. g2a5b0e unregistered

It's clear that it's a swipe type & not a touch, but it looks much smaller than the one on the One Max, for instance. Perhaps I'm not familiar with all the varieties.

16. Chris.P

Posts: 567; Member since: Jun 27, 2013

Fair enough. We'll hopefully know more once and if we get our hands on the 3S. Personally, I'm not as concerned with its dimensions, as much as with its accuracy and the ergonomics involved. That said, I do get how the two may be connected.

17. g2a5b0e unregistered

You're absolutely right. I just don't see how accurate it could be when it can only "see" a small sliver of your fingerprint at a time. That being said, if it works & works well, then the looks of it don't matter much.

6. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

What a beautiful phone it is!!!

10. kevkyle

Posts: 104; Member since: Oct 21, 2012

OOOOhh......Me Want!!!!!!

12. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

I'd rock that.

13. Aus_Roh

Posts: 2; Member since: Jan 24, 2014

There is one very annoying problem with this phone. It is listed as having no expandable memory, which is crazy for such a video & audio centric device (and of this quality). How hard & expensive is it to put in a memory slot?! If it wasn't for the great audio chips that would have been a deal breaker for sure. I've pre-ordered one. It's going to be such a nuisance to have to plug in an OTG flash for music and videos. But for driving, there will be no way of charging it with an OTG plugged in. I haven't found a solution yet. It would be good if it had a replaceable battery and infrared too, and a built in pen like the Note, even it was all a bit thicker. (And a perfect device would have DAB+ radio & TV, and inbuilt TV/FM antenna.)

15. MobileGuru

Posts: 82; Member since: Jan 18, 2014

Looks beautiful!!

18. techloverNYC

Posts: 601; Member since: Nov 20, 2012

This is what the Samsung S5 should have been! All the rumor specs for the S5 turned out to be true on VIVO.

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