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vivo Apex 2019 Hands-on, Quick Review: Hands-on With The Phone Of The Future

This phone is from the future!

Chinese brand vivo has a penchant for experimenting with phones. They were the first brand to dabble with motorized cameras before it went mainstream, and now the brand is toying with another revolutionary idea: what if your phone didn’t have any ports or buttons?

That idea has manifested itself in the Apex 2019, a phone that doesn’t have ports or buttons. Has vivo managed to imagine the future ahead of everyone else yet again?

A weird idea that makes sense

We’ve heard of the Apex 2019 a few months ago when it was officially unveiled, but now it’s in front of our hands, the idea of a buttonless, portless phone makes a little more sense.

True to their word, the Apex 2019 doesn’t have any buttons in its body, and nary an external port. Without an obvious point of ingress for both dust and water, we imagine the Apex 2019 is pretty water and dust resistant, though vivo hasn’t given an IP rating for the phone.

Since there are no buttons, turning on the phone is a bit of a challenge. There’s a small capacitive power button on the right of the chassis which you activate by pressing on it for a few seconds. It’s a weird feeling for sure, but after a while, the phone turns on.

There are technical hurdles to this design, of course, chief of which is how exactly do you charge and transfer data to this thing? Well, that’s taken care of via a magnetic power connector on the back, near the base of the phone. This allows the device to charge quickly though you’re pretty much stuck to the charger that vivo provides with the device.

There’s also no selfie camera anywhere, which is a little weird considering vivo is one of the few companies that actually made their fortune on selling selfie-focused smartphones. In any case, you’re stuck with the rear cameras. vivo didn’t give us specifics for the rear snappers, which is understandable since the device is simply a concept smartphone as of now.

The front of the Apex 2019 is dominated by the all-screen display, and one thing that’s nice about this flagship is that the entire screen can read your fingerprint. That means you can simply unlock the phone by putting your finger on any part of the screen, unlike most in-display fingerprint solutions out on the market today that only reads your digits in one particular spot.

With all the design tradeoffs that vivo had to implement with the Apex 2019, the phone does look pretty. That all glass front and back along with the rear camera placement make the phone look like it time traveled from the future, and really shows off vivo’s manufacturing chops.

Inside the Apex 2019 is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chipset, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It’s also one of the few phones nowadays that has 5G capability.

vivo’s Apex 2019 is a look at the future, much like their previous NEX smartphone that had design elements that morphed into commercial products. While you won’t be able to buy the Apex 2019 since it’s just a concept device, you’ll probably be seeing many of its design elements implemented on vivo smartphones in the near future.

Jamie Inocian

A self-confessed geek. Jamie started out helping out on the Unbox Podcast and became the Digital Sales Manager when he joined the team full time. He has since then transitioned into one of our Senior Editors and Head Video Producer.

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