Vivo's 5G Apex 2020 is what every smartphone wishes it could be

Vivo's 5G Apex 2020 is what every smartphone wishes it could be
Vivo first introduced the Apex concept smartphone at CES 2018, which was then followed up in early 2019 with a newer version. Today Vivo is back with a third-generation model – the Vivo Apex 2020 – that takes things to a whole other level.

Side bezels? What are those? 

The Apex 2020, which is unlikely to ever be released, is adorned by a never-before-seen 6.45-inch 120º FullView Edgeless Display that Vivo describes as “truly revolutionary” and “head-turning.” It represents an entirely new take on the waterfall display concept complete with 120º curved edges on either side that completely remove the side bezels from front view.

As a direct result of this design, the customary aluminum frame essentially runs along the Apex 2020's back panel. It then curves upwards towards the top and bottom of the phone to meet with the display's flat edges, which themselves are coupled with some bezel.

To maintain the stunning aesthetics and a minimum level of practicality, all physical buttons have been replaced with virtual pressure-sensing alternatives that sit along the aforementioned curved areas of the screen.

The selfie camera is hidden... Under the display!

As you may have noticed in the press renders above, there's zero sign of a notch on the display. Vivo has also skipped a punch-hole implementation and ignored the recent pop-up camera mechanism trend.

The reason for this being that it has selected something yet to be used on a production smartphone – an in-display camera. Through "innovation in screen pixel layout and circuit design," the Apex 2020 increases the light transmittance of the display that's directly above the selfie camera by 6 times compared to the rest of the panel.

This drastically reduces optical interference which, in turn, boosts the quality of photos. But to ensure the 16-megapixel shooter produces the best possible selfies, Vivo uses algorithm optimizations to further enhance photos.

Of course, Vivo isn't planning to offer the Apex 2020 to consumers, so do take these claims about quality with a pinch of salt until photos taken on the device are made available.

Continuous optical zoom and other cool features

Turning the concept product over reveals some equally impressive advancements in the camera department. Most smartphone zoom solutions these days depend on hybrid zoom technology, something that combines fixed magnifications with cropping and algorithmic enhancements.

However, with the Apex 2020 concept smartphone, Vivo has been able to implement a new structure that enables Continuous Optical Zoom, making it the world's first smartphone to achieve such a feat.

It can continuously zoom between 5x and 7.5x thanks to a “4-group lens combination” with two fixed lenses and two movable ones. It inherits the periscope-like design seen on recent 5x zoom cameras and maintains a thickness of only 6.2mm, ensuring it easily fits inside the smartphone, so it shouldn't be too long before the mechanism makes it to Vivo's production devices.

Of course, Vivo wants every possible detail to be preserved so it has combined its groundbreaking camera hardware with yet another algorithm. In this case, a “leading multi-frame algorithm so that scenery from afar can be easily captured.” 

Last on the list of photographic features is a gimble-like design that greatly improves optical image stabilization. When compared to traditional systems, Vivo’s new structure increases the stabilization angle by 200%, something that can boost the effects of night mode too by allowing the exposure time to be increased.

The fastest wireless charging ever on a smartphone

Vivo has packed the Apex 2020 concept smartphone with the latest specifications, despite having no plans to release it. These include the Snapdragon 865 chipset and Snapdragon X55 5G modem coupled with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage.

Additionally, Vivo announced the presence of a new Wireless Super FlashCharge 60W technology that can fully recharge a 2,000mAh battery in only 20 minutes.

This claim is especially interesting and exciting when you consider that most smartphone manufacturers don’t even offer 60W fast wired charging, let alone 60W wireless charging. The fastest wireless charging tech until now, for reference, supported 30W speeds, half that of Vivo’s implementation.

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