vivo NEX Dual Display review

GSMArena team, 14 January 2019.

More display than glass

While technically the display area is covered by glass too, the NEX Dual Display is definitely more display than anything else. Vivo really went all out in this department. Well, to be fair, compared to the original NEX S, the main display did get a bit smaller at 6.39 inches, compared to 6.59, but even so, it is still a huge panel. Plus, if we count the second 5.49-inch panel in, the admittedly subjective screen real estate math puts the NEX Dual Display in a league of its own.

vivo NEX Dual Display review

Better still, both panels are of the Super AMOLED variety. So, not only did vivo do some proper panel shopping, going for OLED over LCD, said panels were also sourced from Samsung, potentially speaking to their quality. Naturally, we tested both panels, starting with the exuberantly tall, even by current standards, 19.5:9 main unit.

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Samsung Galaxy Note9 (Max Auto) 0 658
Huawei Mate 20 Pro (Max Auto) 0.003 657 219000
LG V40 ThinQ (Max Auto) 0.008 638 79750
Samsung Galaxy S9+ (Max Auto) 0 631
Sony Xperia XZ3 (Max Auto) 0 620
Asus ROG Phone (Max Auto) 0 542
Huawei Mate 20 Pro 0.002 508 254000
Xiaomi Pocophone F1 0.314 461 1468
vivo NEX S 0 458
Xiaomi Mi 8 0 458
Asus ROG Phone 0 458
OnePlus 6T (Max Auto) 0 455
OnePlus 6T 0 453
Sony Xperia XZ3 0 442
vivo NEX Dual Display (sec. display) 0 436
Google Pixel 3 0 426
Oppo Find X 0 426
Razer Phone 2 (Max Auto) 0.403 426 1057
vivo NEX Dual Display 0 413
Razer Phone 2 0.401 380 948
Samsung Galaxy S9+ 0 376
Samsung Galaxy Note9 0 367
LG V40 ThinQ 0.002 323 161500

It's a decent AMOLED unit, but not really on the same level as the ones Samsung puts in its current flagships. The main beef we have with it is that it is a bit on the dim side. It is still very much okay, but a max auto mode would have been a neat addition to the mix.

Actually, looking at the rear 5.49-inch panel, we see pretty much the same results brightness-wise. The smaller, or more specifically, less tall and slightly wider 16:9 rear display does put out a few extra nits, which can definitely be attributed to having the same number of OLED pixels across a smaller surface area.

vivo NEX Dual Display review

Other than that, the two are really comparable in terms of performance. Their brightness could potentially be capped as well to save on some battery. THat's just a guess, of course. Plus, the duo rarely turns on at the same time, so potential extra battery strain is hardly a consideration.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Apple iPhone XS
    5.171
  • Apple iPhone X
    5.013
  • Huawei Mate 20 Pro
    4.965
  • OnePlus 5T
    4.789
  • Samsung Galaxy S8
    4.768
  • Asus ROG Phone
    4.765
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    4.658
  • Samsung Galaxy S9
    4.63
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    4.615
  • Samsung Galaxy S9+
    4.537
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9
    4.531
  • Apple iPhone XS Max
    4.516
  • Sony Xperia XZ3
    4.502
  • Motorola Moto Z2 Play
    4.459
  • Oppo R11
    4.454
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
    4.439
  • Oppo RX17 Pro
    4.434
  • OnePlus 3
    4.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    4.376
  • Google Pixel 3
    4.35
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018)
    4.324
  • OnePlus 6
    4.321
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 3
    4.291
  • vivo NEX Dual Display (sec. display)
    4.289
  • HTC One A9
    4.274
  • LG V40 ThinQ
    4.256
  • Oppo R15 Pro
    4.251
  • Samsung Galaxy Note7
    4.247
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • Nokia 8
    4.239
  • Google Pixel 2 XL (pre-update)
    4.234
  • OnePlus 3T
    4.232
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018)
    4.22
  • Google Pixel XL
    4.164
  • ZTE Axon 7
    4.154
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
    4.148
  • Meizu Pro 7 Plus
    4.147
  • OnePlus 6T
    4.138
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)
    4.124
  • vivo V11
    4.113
  • vivo NEX Dual Display
    4.108
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro (normal)
    4.096
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    4.09
  • Huawei P20 Pro
    4.087
  • Xiaomi Mi 8
    4.086
  • Meizu 15
    4.082
  • Nokia 6 (2018)
    4.052
  • Google Pixel 2 (pre-update)
    4.023
  • LG V30
    4.022
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    4.019
  • vivo NEX S
    4.012
  • Honor Magic 2
    4.01
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro
    3.998
  • OnePlus X
    3.983
  • Vivo Xplay5 Elite
    3.983
  • LG G7 ThinQ (outdoor)
    3.978
  • Oppo R7s
    3.964
  • Apple iPhone 7
    3.964
  • Apple iPhone 8 (True Tone)
    3.957
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    3.956
  • Oppo Find X
    3.954
  • Meizu Pro 6 Plus
    3.935
  • Lenovo Moto Z
    3.931
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
    3.918
  • OnePlus 5
    3.914
  • Samsung Galaxy C5
    3.911
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
    3.901
  • Samsung Galaxy C7
    3.896
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 outdoor
    3.879
  • Samsung Galaxy J2 outdoor
    3.873
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    3.865
  • Samsung Galaxy A8
    3.859
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    3.842
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3.838
  • Microsoft Lumia 950XL
    3.837
  • Samsung Galaxy A6+ (2018)
    3.834
  • Sony Xperia XZs
    3.818
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)
    3.817
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)
    3.812
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
    3.804
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.802
  • Xiaomi Redmi Pro
    3.798
  • LG V20 Max auto
    3.798
  • Sony Xperia XZ
    3.795
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    3.789
  • Apple iPhone 6s
    3.783
  • Meizu Pro 5
    3.781
  • Microsoft Lumia 650
    3.772
  • Xiaomi Mi 6
    3.767
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
    3.765
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    3.756
  • Nokia 8 Sirocco
    3.745
  • Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact
    3.729
  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus (True Tone)
    3.725
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    3.709
  • Vivo X5Pro
    3.706
  • Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017)
    3.688
  • Huawei P20
    3.683
  • Apple iPhone SE
    3.681
  • Huawei Mate 9
    3.68
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact
    3.675
  • Meizu PRO 6
    3.659
  • BlackBerry Priv
    3.645
  • Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra
    3.597
  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus
    3.588
  • Sony Xperia XZ2
    3.58
  • LG G6
    3.556
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
    3.53
  • Motorola Moto Z Play
    3.526
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
    3.523
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.523
  • Acer Jade Primo
    3.521
  • Microsoft Lumia 950
    3.512
  • Oppo R7 Plus
    3.499
  • Nokia 7 plus
    3.479
  • nubia Z11
    3.466
  • Sony Xperia M5
    2.69
  • Xiaomi Mi A1
    2.689
  • Huawei P9 Lite
    2.679
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime
    2.679
  • vivo V7+
    2.671
  • Vivo V3Max
    2.659
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix
    2.658
  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite
    2.654
  • Oppo F5
    2.653
  • Doogee Mix
    2.642
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
    2.641
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4a
    2.635
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    2.618
  • Xiaomi Mi 5X (Standard)
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia XA
    2.609
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus
    2.582
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus (max auto)
    2.582
  • Meizu M5s
    2.58
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    2.574
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    2.567
  • Microsoft Lumia 640
    2.563
  • Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
    2.563
  • Huawei P Smart
    2.563
  • Xiaomi Mi Max 2
    2.561
  • HTC U11+
    2.556
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A (Y1)
    2.556
  • Lenovo Moto G4
    2.544
  • Lenovo K6 Note
    2.544
  • Oppo F1
    2.528
  • Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
    2.525
  • Huawei Honor 7 Lite / Honor 5c
    2.506
  • Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
    2.503
  • Huawei Honor 10 Lite
    2.497
  • BlackBerry Motion
    2.494
  • Oppo F1s
    2.481
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus
    2.473
  • Huawei G8
    2.471
  • Huawei nova
    2.467
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Lenovo Vibe K5
    2.459
  • Meizu m3 max
    2.447
  • Xiaomi Mi 5X (Auto)
    2.417
  • HTC 10 evo
    2.407
  • Huawei Honor 7
    2.406
  • Vivo V7
    2.404
  • Sony Xperia E5
    2.386
  • ZUK Z1 by Lenovo
    2.382
  • HTC 10
    2.378
  • Oppo F3
    2.376
  • vivo V5 Plus
    2.371
  • Meizu m1 note
    2.362
  • Huawei nova plus
    2.329
  • Razer Phone
    2.328
  • HTC One E9+
    2.305
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Meizu m3 note
    1.923
  • BlackBerry Leap
    1.892
  • Meizu m2 note
    1.892
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • ZTE Nubia Z9 mini
    1.759
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Asus Zenfone Selfie
    1.68
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    1.675
  • ZTE Nubia Z9
    1.659
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    1.311
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Nokia X
    1.291
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215

Sunlight legibility is also quite close on the pair of screens. Something we were actually wondering about since the rear panel originally looked like it might not be fully laminated. Or at least that's what we thought, considering the round camera module that is also molded out of the same glass finish. A phone disassembly online, however, revealed that the panel and glass are, indeed, part of a single module, proving our original theory wrong and frankly leaving us a bit impressed from an engineering standpoint.

Just like the other aspects of the panels, color accuracy turned out to be very similar. Out of the box, neither came close to what we would consider "color accurate'. The main one scored an average deltaE of 6.3 and a maximum of 11.8. The vivo display settings menu isn't particularly full of color adjustment options either, just a simple temperature slider, which we did utilize to warm up the otherwise cold color output a bit. That brought down the average deltaE to 5.1 and the maximum to 9.7 - still far from color accurate.

The back panel scored a very similar average deltaE of 6.7 and a surprisingly consistent maximum of a whopping 27.9 in one of our test patterns. Frankly, we would have noticed such a major mismatch in regular use and since this was not the case the only logical conclusion was that the OS wasn't playing nice with our color pattern generating software on the rear panel.

To be perfectly frank, we expected much more severe issues when we noticed that the two panels share their display settings. We get it, both are FullHD in resolution and for most use cases, the phone simply switches from one to the other, only having to deal with scaling issues for certain apps. Rarely are the two panels enabled simultaneously. Still, it would have been nice to separate brightness and color adjustments for the secondary display.

Rear full screen app settings are broken - vivo NEX Dual Display review
Rear full screen app settings are broken

This is actually part of a bigger criticism we have towards vivo for not really ironing out some of the kinks of using two full-featured displays. For example, the app scaling, or rather a re-scaling issue, depending on which display is in use is a real thing. There is a settings menu available that appears to be designed to handle that very same issue on a per-app basis, but it was clearly unfinished and not properly implemented on our review unit. This meant that most third-party apps that scaled, manually or otherwise, to 19.5:9 for the front display were left severely pillar-boxed on the rear one. Far from ideal, but also far from the only complaint we have about vivo's implementation and feature set for the second display. But, more on that in the software section.

Battery Life

The vivo NEX Dual Display edition is definitely a beefy phone. With a body measuring 157.2 x 75.3 x 8.1 mm and weighing in at just shy of 200 grams, it is clearly in the same weight category as other massive phablet devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note9. We have become rather accustomed to seeing large 4,000-ish mAh batteries on said devices. After all, they are at least roomy if not anything else.

That, however, isn't exactly applicable to the NEX Dual Display. Naturally, that second screen and all its components take up valuable internal space. This is likely one of the reasons why the NEX Dual Display is only packing a 3,500 mAh battery. Again, we say "only" pretty relative to the general phablet market. In practical terms, 3,500 mAh is still plenty of juice to go around.

vivo NEX Dual Display review

Now, that being said, there are a few things to consider here. Two panels definitely draw more power than one. Then again, there are very few circumstances in which the two panels can even be active at the same time, especially for prolonged periods of time. Using the always on display feature on both panels might suggest otherwise, but the phone is actually smart enough to use the proximity sensor and has AOD active only on the upward facing panel. Still, at the end of the day having the always on display feature on will still eat through around 10% of extra battery on a charge.

On the flip side of the display count argument, it is noteworthy that vivo opted for efficient OLED panels on both sides. That definitely brings the overall power consumption down. The native FullHD resolution of the panels helps to some extent, as well.

vivo NEX Dual Display review

The vivo NEX Dual Display performed pretty admirably in our proprietary battery test, scoring a total endurance rating of 81 hours. 3G call test numbers fall in line with Snapdragon 845 expectations and so does video playback. The web browsing score is a little bit on the lower end of the scale, but well within acceptable limits. There are some improvements left to be desired in the cell standby area as well. Again, the NEX Dual Display falls within acceptable margins, but we have seen the X20 LTE do better on a similarly sized battery.

Our battery tests were automated thanks to SmartViser, using its viSer App. The endurance rating above denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the vivo NEX Dual Display for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We've established this usage pattern so that our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritty. You can check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.

As far as charging goes, the vivo NEX Dual Display has a pretty decent setup going. It can charge at a rate of 22.5W, which is actually carried over from the original vivo NEX S and a few other recent vivo phones.

In terms of charging speed, using the included 22.5W charger fills the battery at a rate of around 55% per hour. Accounting for all the trickle charge cycles and other variances a full charge from 0% to 100% takes just under 2 hours. With a fully drained battery a quick half hour charge gets you to about 30%. Not bad at all.

BBK Electronics Corporation is no stranger to fast charging tech. They have VOOC and Dash (now simply named OnePlus Fast Charge for legal reasons) in their ranks with standards going up to 50W of power. These seem to have one thing in common, which is a distributed charging model that utilizes a constant, in-spec 5V voltage going into the phone at a high current, split up to charge different segments of the internal battery concurrently.

The tech has already started trickling down the vivo ranks as well. Certain devices like the vivo V11 support something called Dual Engine Fast Charging - a system, by all accounts very similar in principle to VOOC and Dash. However, details have been scarce regarding it - we only have this image below.

vivo NEX Dual Display review

With all that said, we suspect the NEX DD uses the same type of charger as it's listed to support a trio of odd output ratings: 5V@2A, 9V@2A, and 10V@2.25A. The first one is pretty standard, while the second voltage upgrade to 9V is indicative of a whole other kind of fast charging methodology, like 18W Quick Charge. Looking at the final output closely, however, leads us to believe that vivo is actually using an internal battery arrangement similar to the of Oppo's SuperVooc Find X Lamborghini. That is to say a pair of batteries connected in series. The only difference is that, as far as we know, the Find X Lamborghini has a pair of those linked in parallel for a total of four and a rough max input of 50W. So, we guess, technically this could be "Dual Engine" technology.

Regardless, the bottom line here is - don't lose your included charger since it is rather special. Plus, that 9V@2A output rating does potentially make it rather flexible since it should be able to properly charge Quick Charge devices as well.

Loudspeaker

The vivo NEX Dual Display only has a single bottom-firing speaker in its arsenal. Pity, really, since we would have loved to see at least some sort of hybrid stereo implementation working on that odd double-sided earpiece design.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
LG V40 ThinQ 68.2 74.1 77.4 Very Good
Samsung Galaxy S9+ 68.4 74.0 80.1 Very Good
Xiaomi Mi 8 68.1 72.3 82.2 Very Good
OnePlus 6T 67.2 72.5 84.5 Very Good
Samsung Galaxy Note9 71.2 74.9 80.2 Very Good
Oppo Find X 70.7 75.2 81.2 Very Good
Sony Xperia XZ3 (ClearAudio+) 68.0 75.3 84.0 Very Good
vivo NEX Dual Display 68.5 72.1 88.0 Excellent
Sony Xperia XZ3 71.0 75.4 82.9 Excellent
Google Pixel 3 77.5 71.7 81.1 Excellent
Xiaomi Pocophone F1 72.8 74.7 86.6 Excellent
vivo NEX S 71.3 74.5 91.0 Excellent
HTC U12+ (Music) 76.0 73.6 88.5 Excellent
Asus ROG Phone 79.0 77.5 84.9 Excellent
Razer Phone 2 (Dolby dynamic) 76.7 77.7 87.7 Excellent
Razer Phone 2 78.2 78.8 86.9 Excellent

In terms of loudness, the NEX Dual Display just barely made it into "Excellent" grade territory. On the plus side, the sound it produces is actually pretty clear.

Audio quality

vivo NEX Dual Display Edition started off brightly in our test, delivering nicely clean output with an active external amplifier and garnishing that with a loudness that's well above average.

Headphones affected several readings, although the hits weren't too major. Frequency response, intermodulation distortion and stereo crosstalk all degraded by moderate amounts dropping the rating from excellent to good. Better yet, volume remained high, making up a solid overall showing.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
vivo NEX Dual Display Edition+0.03, -0.20-94.094.00.00100.0066-88.1
vivo NEX Dual Display Edition (headphones)+0.48, -0.05-92.792.70.00770.373-54.9
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3+0.02, -0.02-93.293.20.00140.072-90.6
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 (headphones)+0.09, -0.07-92.792.60.00330.151-60.9
Huawei Mate 20 +0.02, -0.16-92.192.00.00170.013-85.6
Huawei Mate 20 (headphones)+0.07, -0.07-92.192.40.00210.106-66.5
Sony Xperia XZ3+0.01, -0.02-91.293.20.00240.0080-88.7
Sony Xperia XZ3 (headphones)+0.38, -0.21-93.192.50.00490.233-61.7
Samsung Galaxy Note9+0.01, -0.03-93.793.70.00170.0074-94.1
Samsung Galaxy Note9 (headphones)+0.03, -0.02-93.693.50.00330.046-93.2

vivo
vivo NEX Dual Display Edition frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.

Reader comments

  • Bronxy

I bought this in Ghana and i cant even change the country and region on this phone , Can anyone assist me with this please .

  • Nice

Nice

  • .

Should I purchase this or the Xiaomi mi 9t pro?