Vivo’s detachable camera concept smartphone is the craziest thing we’ve seen

(Image credit: Vivo)

When it comes to smartphones, one can rightfully argue that we have peaked in terms of design. Except for foldables, most devices look the same and function in the same way. Challenging these norms, Vivo has showcased a phone whose camera module can be detached and used for shooting as an on-the-go shooter. Crazy? Yes. Cool? Definitely!

Vivo is no stranger to extreme ideas with its smartphone designs. Its concept Apex lineup gives us a glimpse at the future of design with no ports or bezels, maximizing the display and minimizing everything else. These eventually trickle down to the NEX series of flagships which are a lot less polarizing but still stand apart from the crowd. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Vivo was the first to pioneer pop-up cameras to be able to stretch the display to the very edges.

Vivo’s new concept phone takes the crown for the wackiest pop-up camera idea ever (we suggest out check out the above video to really understand it). For starters, the phone has no cameras on the body—just the display on the entire front and glass on the back. The dual-cameras for selfies pop-up from the top edge, consisting of a primary and an ultra-wide shooter. Everything normal till here. 

So what about the rear-facing cameras? The same tiny camera module can be yanked apart from the body and flipped to act as the primary cameras. It seems to be using some sort of proprietary connection pins. However, it can also transmit the feed wirelessly. This means you can literally place it anywhere to shoot. The best use cases include where it’s not safe or easy to use the phone.

And before you wonder, the module will also send an alert to your phone in case you happen to forget it somewhere.

Vivo suggests a few unique shooting modes made possible with this implementation. It can be placed on any surface to get a different selfie angle or for video calls. Owing to its tiny size, it can also be attached to people or animals as a POV action camera. A couple of these modules can also be linked to shoot from multiple angles at once.

Some accessories were also shown such as a magnetic attachment, clips for wrists and a collar mount for dogs, to make better use of the removable camera. Apart from the usual durability issues that are inherent to moving parts, it is currently also limited by its battery life and lens quality. Regardless, the concept is definitely smart and could just be a better way to pull off modularity on smartphones. Theoretically, the cameras can also be swapped out for better sensors.

The Vivo ‘IFEA’ camera might be a concept, but a post on Weibo suggests that it will be mass-produced in some way. The Vivo Apex 2021 seems like the most likely candidate to be the platform for something this unique.  

Aakash Jhaveri

Aakash is the engine that keeps TechRadar India running, using his experience and ideas to help consumers get to the right products via reviews, buying guides and explainers. Apart from phones, computers and cameras, he is obsessed with electric vehicles.