Header Ads

Realme banner

Vivo NEX 3 Review - Still the best under PHP 40K?

OPPO
Vivo NEX 3 shocked the Philippine flagship market with incredible specs for only PHP 40K! How does it perform after 3 months though? 
Vivo NEX 3 Review - Still the best under PHP 40K?
Vivo NEX 3 long term review

Aside from the near hardware buttonless design and the 3.5mm headphone jack, the NEX 3 offers a large 6.89-inch waterfall POLED display, Snapdragon 855+, 8GB LPDDR4X RAM, 128GB UFS 3.0 storage and a 4500mAh battery with 44W Dual Engine Fast Charging.

For cameras, it has a triple rear camera set-up of a 64MP f/1.8 main camera, 13MP f/2.2 120-degree ultra-wide-angle, and a 13MP f/2.48 2x optical zoom telephoto camera with LED flash. In front is a pop-up 16MP f/2.0 camera with LED flash.

For our review part 1: Vivo NEX 3 First Impressions


Let's dive into the review!

Multimedia Experience

Vivo NEX3's waterfall display
Vivo NEX3's waterfall display

Vivo is yet again pushing for innovation. Before, Vivo was the first to introduce an in-display fingerprint sensor and a pop-up camera. Now, Vivo is pushing for a hardware buttonless design. The Vivo NEX 3 has only one hardware button.



Stunning display!

The 6.89 POLED waterfall display is bright and vibrant with a decently sharp 1080p resolution. It supports 10 points of multi-touch that registers and responds to our taps and gestures accurately and quickly. 


Our biggest concern with the on-screen power/volume button is that it misses more than it hits. We've had so many instances wherein we though we turned of the display but ended up pocket dialing our friends. We also had a hard time to consistently toggle the volume up or down. We hope Vivo addresses our concerns with the on-screen button. 


Vivo NEX 3 is one of the few flagships left with a 3.5mm headphone jack. It has an earpiece on top of the display and a bottom-placed speaker. When playing audio, only the bottom-firing speaker works. It produces a sound that gets loud enough to fill a room but at the higher volumes, the sound is noticeably distorted and tinny. We recommend staying at the 70 percent volume to get good separation and clarity.


Inside the box is a 3.5mm stock earphones that offer decent soundstage and power. Sound separation and clarity are noticeably good too. Vivo continues to offer a good experience since the beginning.


For the microphone, we've never had callers who complained that they had a hard time hearing our voice during voice or video calls.


Cameras

Vivo NEX 3's rear cameras
Vivo NEX 3's rear cameras

As mentioned above, the rear-facing camera is made up of a 64MP f/1.8 main camera, 13MP f/2.2 120-degree ultra-wide-camera and a 13MP f/2.48 2x optical zoom telephoto camera with LED flash.

NEX 3's camera app has the following modes: Photo, Video, Portrait, Night, 64MP (high-resolution mode) Pano, Live Photo, SLO-MO, Time-lapse, Pro, AR stickers, Fun Video, Jovi and Doc.

The Pro Mode allows for manual controls for EV (+-3), ISO 50-3200, Shutter Speed (1/12000-30 seconds), White Balance, and Auto Focus. It even has a Histogram which is rare in smartphones!

The rear camera features Vivo's AI portrait Framing and AI scene identification feature.

Rear Camera Samples

Vivo NEX 3 1x daylight
Vivo NEX 3 1x daylight
Vivo NEX 3 2x daylight
Vivo NEX 3 ultra-wide daylight
Vivo NEX 3 ultra-wide daylight

In daylight, all three rear cameras produce clean images with good sharpness, wide dynamic range, and good contrast. Colors are vibrant that pop! The ultra-wide is noticeably less sharp than the 1x and 2x cameras.

But depending on the subject, exposure could vary between cameras with the same subject. A good example is the 1x image and the ultra-wide image having the same exposure but because the subject is bright in the 2x, the exposure is different. 
Vivo NEX 3 1x indoors
Vivo NEX 3 2x indoors
Vivo NEX 3 2x indoors
Vivo NEX 3 ultra-wide indoors
Vivo NEX 3 ultra-wide indoors

In indoors, the images maintain the sharpness, dynamic range and contrast from daylight. There is something about the colors that just pop. Side-by-side, you will again notice that the ultra-wide is noticeably less sharp than the 1x and 2x cameras.
Vivo NEX 3 1x low light
Vivo NEX 3 1x low light
Vivo NEX 3 2x low light
Vivo NEX 3 2x low light
Vivo NEX 3 ultra-wide low light
Vivo NEX 3 ultra-wide low light

In low light, there is a noticeable increase in grain that softens the image across all three cameras but it maintains the good contrast and dynamic range. The color isn't as accurate but it still has that vibrant pop. The ultra-wide camera had the most noise while the 1x and 2x are still somewhat controlled.
Vivo NEX 3 Night mode
Vivo NEX 3 Night mode

The Vivo NEX 3 only uses the main camera for the Night mode which is disappointing for a flagship. It is able to clean up the noise and increase the sharpness and is a good start but the implementation of night mode could still be improved. It took a 5-second exposure but in some cases, there was artifacting from a normal handshake while hand holding the phone for 5 seconds. It needs to be improved like the ones from Huawei, OPPO and Samsung. 
Close-up
Close-up

Using the macro feature, you can get really close to your subject. The sharpness and details are good as long as the subject is well lit and is in the plane of focus. The fall-off from the in-focus areas and the out of focus areas are okay too!

Hidden in a pop-up camera module is the 16MP f/2.0 front-facing camera with LED flash. It has several modes like portrait, photo, and video.
Selfie camera UI
Selfie camera UI

Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight selfie
Daylight selfie
Daylight selfie with Face Beauty
Daylight selfie with Face Beauty

In both daylight shots, the Vivo NEX 3's 16MP shooter is able to capture incredible detail with good contrast and vibrant colors. In the second image, Face Beauty's skin smoothening has improved over time and it is less noticeably artificial at level 3.

Depending on the material of the clothing, more can be present and as you can see from my shirt, it is somewhat apparent. This is not a cause for concern as this is common among cameras.
Vivo NEX 3 indoor selfie
Vivo NEX 3 indoor selfie

In indoors, some noise is introduced and the noise reduction has softened the image to an extent. The colors remain accurate while the contrast remains the same as in daylight.
Vivo NEX 3 low light selfie
Vivo NEX 3 low light selfie

In low light, the noise and the noise reduction is stronger and has noticeably softened certain parts of the image like the leaves on the plants and the details on the plate number. BUT it is still better than most front-facing cameras out there. We applaud the selfie camera for being able to control the overexposure of the light sources.

For video, the NEX 3 can shoot up to 4K 60fps with the main and telephoto cameras. While the front-facing camera can shoot up to 1080p at 30fps. There is no option that indicates whether you can toggle on/off image stabilization.

Video Samples


Performance

Vivo NEX 3's AnTuTu and GeekBench benchmark scores
Vivo NEX 3's AnTuTu and GeekBench benchmark scores

Inside the NEX 3 is the Snapdragon 855 Plus AIE octa-core processor, Adreno 640, 8GB LPDDR4X and 128GB UFS 3.0 SSD storage that is able to score a monstrous 484,701 in AnTuTu, 778 in GeekBench single-core tests, 2804 in GeekBench multi-core tests, 5969 in SlingShot Extreme OpenGL ES, and 9286 in PCMark's Work 2.0 tests.
PCMark and 3DMark scores
PCMark and 3DMark scores

This results in a quick, smooth and slick response when navigating through the OS, and launching apps. We were even to play modern titles like Call of Duty in high settings smoothly at high frame rates. The back does get warm after playing for an extended period.

Powerful performance!

NEX 3 connects via WiFi, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0 and connects wired through USB Type-C. The USB port supports OTG. WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0 connects quickly, consistently and are stable. My concern is with 4G LTE where it is 80 percent consistent and stable but we would encounter situations where the phone indicates I have a full bar of signal with 4G but no data was flowing in. To fix it, I would have to turn the phone off and turn it on again.

Both Face Unlock and In-display fingerprint scanner set-up process are fast and straight forward. The Face Unlock quickly detects my face and unlocks the phone as soon as the display is active.


It was also able to detect my face even if I take off my glasses. It does struggle when you are trying Face Unlock in a dim environment. The display brightens up to be able to compensate for this.
NEX 3 Battery
NEX 3 battery

Inside is a 4500mAH battery that was able to last more than 17 hours in our PCMark Battery Test. In real-world use with a constant connection to WiFi and LTE, NEX 3 was able to offer a 40 percent battery after a long workday of 8AM to 8PM. Most impressive. Included in the box is the 44W SuperFlash charge that charges the phone from 0 to 100 percent in under an hour.

FunTouchOS
FunTouchOS

Running the show is an Android 9.0 Pie-based FunTouchOS that have updated the visuals of the UI and improved some UI elements.

Navigating and launching apps is quick and smooth but my biggest concern with the FunTouchOS is that it is difficult to quickly find what you are looking for in the settings app. Using the search bar is an outright necessity and even then it is still not as fast as other Android Skins.

What I love about the FunTouchOS is the notifications bar is on top (swipe from the top) and the quick toggles are from the bottom (swipe from the bottom). You can quickly customize which toggles you want.

On-screen volume button feature
On-screen volume button feature

One of the unique features of the NEX 3 is the dedication to on-screen buttons and lessening of hardware buttons. This resulted in relocating the power and volume buttons to a specific spot on the right side of the waterfall display.


I love that Vivo is trying to innovate and I love the look of a clean look with just the display and the bezels but the implementation of a nearly on-screen button only is not the best experience.

The default setting is three on-screen buttons for power, volume up and volume down. I almost never get the right button the first time. I would always find myself having to pull my phone out just to get it right which in certain situations is not the best.

I did switch to the swipe from the right to pull up the volume control. It is more consistent than the other option but again, I have to pull out my phone. I couldn't lower the volume from my pocket because I couldn't just feel for the tactile feel of a hardware button.

Again, I like that Vivo is innovating but they have to improve this. It is the single most frustrating part of the phone because I've had so many instances wherein I pocket dialed because I thought I pressed the power button to turn off the display but it wasn't.

And because it wasn't locked, the screen registers touch inputs from when it is in my pocket and the screen touches my thighs. I would pocket dial people so many times.

Overall FunTouchOS has greatly improved but they still need to improve on a few things that competing for Android skins do well.


Pros - Beautiful and premium build materials, Innovative near buttonless design, great specs to price ratio, Super Fast Charging, long-lasting battery, 
Cons - 1080p display, FunTouch OS could be improved, on-screen button functionality could be improved, Inconsistent LTE connection, limited Night mode, V17 Pro's selfie camera is more robust

Vivo NEX 3 Specs

Display: 6.89-inch Waterfall POLED screen w/ FHD+ 2256 x 1080 resolution at 363 ppi 
CPU: 2.96GHz 64-bit Snapdragon 855 Plus AIE octa-core processor
GPU: Adreno 640
RAM: 8GB LPDDR4X
ROM: 128GB UFS 3.0
Back Camera: 64MP f/1.8 ISOCELL Bright GW1 + 13MP f/2.2 120-degree ultra-wide-angle + 13MP f/2.48 2x optical zoom w/ LED flash
Selfie Camera: 16MP f/2.0
Battery: 4,500mAh battery w/ 44W Super FlashCharge technology
OS: Android 9.1 Pie OS w/ Funtouch OS 9.1
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), 4G LTE, 5G, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM (nano)
Others: In-Display fingerprint sensor, face unlock, AK4377A HiFi DAC, Vapor Chamber cooling, USB-C, Colors: black, white
Dimensions: 167.44 x 76.18 x 9.4 mm
Weight: 218 g
Price: PHP 39,999

Verdict

Vivo NEX 3's stunning design
Vivo NEX 3's stunning design

Vivo NEX 3 offers outstanding value because of its specs to price ratio that is supplemented by its beautiful and premium design and a long-lasting and fast-charging battery. 

There are minor grievances like FunTouchOS and the inconsistent on-screen power and volume buttons, but these can be addressed via firmware update should Vivo decide to release one. Otherwise, the Vivo NEX 3 is a great choice for people who want flagship performance at relatively affordable pricing if you can live with the software bugs.


PS. The retail version comes with an incredibly solid and high-quality case for the NEX 3. 


Build/Design - 4.75
Multimedia Experience - 4.25
Cameras - 4
Performance - 4.5
Average - 4.375/5

What do you guys think? Do you agree with us?
Powered by Blogger.
close
gizguide