Vivo Apex Hands-On: The Most Innovative Phone You Can't Buy

This phone of the future has a pop up selfie camera and half-screen fingerprint scanner

This phone's camera pops up to take your selfie -- for reals

Vivo showed off the Apex phone, which has nearly no bezel around the edge. So, until then, you are better off buying some other smartphones with bezel-less design. Companies have been trying to figure out a way to maximise screen space while still retaining the front facing camera. The camera retracts after use. The phone's screen spends the entire body, and one question comes to mind, "where are the earpiece and front camera?"

This means users can pick up their phone and easily unlock it, but for extra security, users can program the unlock setting to require two different fingerprints.

Another potentially game-changing feature on APEX is what Vivo describes as "Half-Screen In-Display Fingerprint Scanning Technology".

Unfortunately, anyone hoping to get their hands on this phone will need to wait. The two fingerprints don't even need to belong to the same person - Vivo's rep told me that spouses can store their prints together so both can unlock a phone together.

'What we showcase in this concept phone is only a fraction of our innovation pipeline. Vivo seeks to address with new Screen Sound Casting Technology available on APEX which allows the display to function like a speaker and an earpiece. If you thought the OPPO N1's swiveling camera was weird, it has nothing on the Vivo APEX.

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Basically, the selfie camera is housed behind the screen, coming into view in a measly 0.8 seconds when required and seamlessly disappearing after you use it.

Concept phones are pretty great, especially the ones directly from the manufacturers that focus on exciting new features for future devices.

Vivo calls its version SoundCasting, and the speakerphone demo we got on the prototype sounded loud and rich. Contrary to the bezel-less smartphones, this device design and technology helps conserves power and reduces sound leakage thereby optimizing the low to high pitch sound for a more balanced audio experience. The hidden proximity sensor and the ambient light sensor eliminates the space taken up by the conventional front cameras while offering an equally good selfie experience to the users.

It's always nice to see a company that's willing to try new things and the APEX certainly looks like a killer device.

At a time when the likes of Samsung and Nokia have launched their flagship devices at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018, Vivo has introduced a set of new technologies in a smartphone with its latest concept device, Apex. Here's to hoping the handset becomes a real commercial product sooner rather than later. This could very well be a demo just like that of the X20 Plus UD on the CES previous year.

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