The Essential Phone introduced the concept of a notched a display, which Apple later popularized with its iPhone X. After that, several notable Android Phones from various manufacturers followed suit, and so a trend was born. Not everyone is crazy about the notch, though. In fact, many people downright despise it. Enter a company called Vivo, which introduced the Nex with an all-screen display that drops the notch. In place of a notch, the front-camera cleverly pops up from the top. A recent teardown of the Nex reveals exactly how this clever solution is implemented.
We'll get to that in a moment, but first here's a rundown of the specs. The Nex features a 6.59-inch 1080p+ Ultra FullView display. According to Vivo, the Nex has a impressive screen-to-body ratio of 91.24 percent. It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip (SoC) and 8GB of RAM, and has up to 256GB of internal storage. A large 4,000 mAh battery pack is tucked inside as well.
As with most newer phones, the Nex adopts a dual-camera arrangement in the rear of the device, this one consisting of a 12-megapixel shooter with an f/1.8 aperture paired with a 5-megapixel lens with an f/2.4 aperture. On the front, users have access to an 8-megapixel camera with an f/2.0 aperture, but rather than sit behind a notch, it pops up from the top of the phone similar to the webcam on Huawei's MateBook Pro X laptop.
The folks at MyFixGuide took the Nex apart to look at its guts, and the pop-up camera is arguably the most interesting bit. Vivo built the concept around a spring design that acts as a cushion to the bumps and bruises of everyday use (and accidental drops). There's also as "spiral stepper motor" that pushes the camera up and down a metal shaft. You can see it in action in the animated GIF above.
From our vantage point, it looks like a sturdy design, which instills confidence that it might last the life of the phone. Still, these are moving parts, so you never know. The other thing to keep in mind is that dropping the phone with the camera expose could be cause for disaster, depending on how the phone lands. That's the trade off for not having a notch, we suppose.
It's not clear how much the camera module and associated mechanism costs to implement, but it is apparently high, at least compared to more traditional camera systems in smartphones. For now, the Vivo Nex is only available in China for just under $800.