Chinese smartphone maker Vivo uses its APEX line of concept phones to showcase the latest mobile technologies and has just presented its latest version, the 5G-enabled APEX 2020 which puts a lot of focus on the cameras and display.
The first highlight is a 16MP periscopic tele camera on the back which, according to Vivo, offers an optical zoom range of 5x to 7.5x, more than the currently longest smartphone teles.
It’s not quite clear at this point how the ‘optical’ zoom is achieved but it’s fair to assume computational imaging methods will be used to achieve the upper end of the reach. In any case, performance should at least be on at least a similar level as the Huawei P30 Pro or Oppo Reno 10x Zoom which both offer a 5x optical tele lens.
Despite the impressive zoom reach the camera module is only 6.2mm thick, allowing for a slim design and only minimal camera hump.
The main main camera comes with a 48MP Quad-Bayer sensor and a stabilization system that goes way beyond what we’re seeing on current phones. The entire camera appears to be hinged in a gimbal-like structure that is capable of counteracting much more severe device motion than conventional systems. Vivo claims the new system extends the stabilization angle by 200 percent and says the design was inspired by the eyeballs of a chameleon, which freely rotates in its socket, allowing the animal to observe its prey.
The 16MP camera at the front works in similar was as we’ve already seen from Oppo and Xiaomi, and is hidden under the display which turns transparent as soon as the shutter is triggered, allowing incoming light to hit the lens. The area right above the camera also features six times larger display pixels to allow for better light transmittance. Like on the main camera, 4-in-1 pixel-binning is used to decrease image noise and increase dynamic range.
The camera also has the ability to remove passers-by in the background in real time and a ‘Voice Tracking Auto-Focus’. The latter uses audio data from the microphones and visual data from the camera to ‘focus’ audio recording on a scene’s main subject, minimizing background sounds, similar to Samsung’s ‘Zoom-in Mic’.
Other features include a ‘120-degree FullView Edgeless Display’ which measures 6.45 inches and offers a 2,330 x 1,080 resolution in its AMOLED panel which wraps around both edges at 120 degrees. This means bezels are invisible when the device is viewed form the front. There’s also Vivo’s third-generation Screen SoundCasting technology, which casts sound through the screen, eliminating the need for speaker holes and allowing for better environmental protection.
As it is appropriate for a showscase device such as the APEX, the 2020 version is powered by Qualcomm’s top-tier chipset Snapdragon 865 and runs the latest Android version 10.
We won’t find out how the APEX 2020 performs given it is unlikely to ever hit the market in its current form, but we hope some of the features of the concept phone, especially the camera elements, will make it to one of Vivo’s production devices in the near future.