After delaying the launch that would have happened during the cancelled MWC 2020, Vivo has finally revealed the Apex 2020. It's a concept phone, and it's packing a lot of exciting features that could (and should, in the future) make it into the mainstream.
Some are still a bit radical – like a zero-port uni-body design. That means there's no headphone jack, no SIM tray (the Apex 2020 likely utilizes the embedded eSIM technology), no expandable storage, no charging port and no physical buttons for a completely seamless, and uninterrupted design.
It even drops the traditional speakers in favor of the firms screen-casting technology, which using the screen itself as a speaker surface.
The lack of a charging port means the Apex 2020 has to rely on wireless charging, and while that's currently slower than a wired connection, Vivo claims this wire-free activity on the Apex 2020 is capable of an astonishing 60W - far surpassing the 10W wireless charge maximum found in some flagships.
At that speed, Vivo reckons the Apex 2020 concept could go from 0% to 100% in just 20 minutes - an impressive feat. However, it's worth noting it only has a 2,000mAh battery, which is much smaller than what's in most modern smartphones.
That size battery is definitely not large enough to keep the phone running all day without having to head for a wireless charging pad, but this is only a concept device to prove the technology exists, and works.
- The Vivo Apex 2020 concept's top features could make our best phones list in the future
- Contrast that with the exciting perks of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
- Or whatever advanced zoom is coming in the Huawei P40 Pro
A truly invisible selfie camera
Other advances are more universally appealing, like a 16MP front-facing camera situated in the main display – no notch, no punch-hole, no motorized pop-up mechanism.
This gives you a design which is almost entirely made up of the 6.45-inch screen on the front, with no senors or cameras in sight. Vivo says this is possible thanks to innovations in screen pixel layout and circuit design.
The screen also features a 120 degree curve along its edges, which sees it wrap around the side of the handset. This allows Vivo to add on-screen replacements to the physical power and volume keys the seamless design has dropped.
The rear camera setup has been beefed up too, with a 5x-7.5x continuous optical zoom on the main lens, which sounds like it could push past the 5x optical telephoto lenses on the Huawei P30 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.
That’s exciting enough, but this lens also features "a micro gimbal-like structure" for optical stabilization that's supposedly superior to an OIS (optical image stabilization) setup.
Not that we’ll get a chance to test any of this out in the real world. Like the OnePlus Concept One, we doubt the Vivo Apex 2020 will ever hit the market as a consumer device.
However, we do expect to see its innovations appear down the road in some capacity – if not in Vivo handsets, then in devices produced by other brands looking toward the future.
- If the Vivo Apex 2020 was sold commercially, it might make our best Android phones list
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John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.