Bezels on smartphones keep getting thinner and thinner, and eventually, we’ll get to the point where most smartphones have basically no bezels. This week at MWC, Vivo is showing off what that might look like with its concept phone, the Apex.
For now, this device is just a concept, but the ideas here are almost definitely what we’ll be seeing sold on the market in the coming years. First and foremost with the Vivo Apex, we’ve got to talk about that display (header image credit: CNET)
The Apex packs an OLED display of unspecified size that is surrounded by essentially no bezels. Looking back to the Essential Phone – our previous “standard” for bezel-less design – had an 84.9% screen-to-body ratio. The Apex, however, takes that to a new extreme at 98%. This is thanks to top and side bezels that are just 1.8mm thick, with a bottom bezel at 4.3mm.
The APEX™ features unprecedented top and side bezels of 1.8mm–the thinnest in the industry, with a 4.3mm bottom bezel. The screen-to-body ratio will exceed 98% if the bottom bezel reaches 1.8mm, ultimately creating truly bezel-less experience. Thanks to the flexible OLED platform, microchips mounted directly to the flexible circuit board enables the APEX™’s staggering screen-to-body ratio.
Vivo hasn’t stopped with the crazy design choices there, however. Like the Vivo phone shown off back at CES, the Apex has a fingerprint sensor under the display. This time, however, the fingerprint sensor is not just in one spot, rather taking up the entire bottom half of the display. Simply put your finger down in that region, and the phone unlocks. On a phone with bezels this small, this is a great addition.
Another clever change Vivo made was with the front-facing camera. Instead of building in a notch or taking it out completely, the company built a retractable camera that only pops out when it’s needed. It’s a really cool idea that honestly, I hope to see more of.
To get around other limitations of this design, Vivo has also created a new “Screen SoundCasting” technology. This vibrates the display itself to act as an earpiece, and the company says it has tuned the functionality to limit sound leakage, conserve power, and increase audio quality.
Shockingly, this phone also packs a headphone jack, even including a DAC for improved quality on high-end headphones. This is just a concept, so that’s an interesting move to say the least.
Obviously, we don’t have any details on pricing or availability for this phone, and we probably won’t anytime soon. Tech like this is probably at least a year from being available for mass production, but at this point, I think it’s safe to say Vivo will be sticking to the bleeding edge of that…
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