vivo NEX S review

GSMArena team, 29 June 2018.

Display

It's hard to get over how good the 6.59-inch, OLED panel on the vivo NEX S actually looks. The almost total lack of bezels definitely plays a major part in the overall effect, but there is clearly more to it, as well. For one, the absence of a notch, or any other interruption of the entirety of the display enhances the visual appeal, in our opinion.

vivo NEX S review

Also, at 6.59 inches in diagonal, the panel is, unquestionably huge. It also comes courtesy of Samsung, which translates to punchy colors, infinitely deep blacks, and equally infinite contrast levels. Arguably, you can't really do any better than a Super AMOLED panel on today's mobile scene. Plus, a quick check in our database reveals that Samsung, themselves, haven't really put out many models with a Super AMOLED of this size.

That being said, the display is not perfect. Depending on your criteria, you could find the FullHD+ 1080 x 2316 pixel native resolution sub-optimal. We can definitely understand such an argument. However, even at this massive diagonal, the math works out to 388ppi pixel density. This makes the vivo NEX amazingly sharp and with perfectly crisp visuals, in our book. Plus, it has the added benefit of better power efficiency for the panel.

In terms of display performance, the vivo NEX scores quite comparable to other recent Samsung devices. That, of course, means perfect blacks and infinite contrast. Maximum brightness in the default mode is just shy of 460 nits.

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Apple iPhone X 0 679
Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Max Auto) 0 647
Samsung Galaxy S9+ (Max Auto) 0 631
Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra 0.404 631 1562
Xiaomi Mi 8 (Max Auto) 0.002 624 312000
Apple iPhone 8 Plus (Max Auto) 0.471 621 1318
Sony Xperia XZ2 0.431 618 1434
LG V30 (Max Auto) 0.032 616 19250
Nokia 8 Sirocco (Max Auto) 0.002 600 300000
Huawei P20 Pro (Max Auto) 0 582
Apple iPhone 8 Plus (Standard) 0.392 530 1352
Xiaomi MI Mix 2S (Increased Contrast) 0.409 519 1269
vivo NEX S 0 458
Xiaomi Mi 8 0 458
OnePlus 6 0 456
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S 0.375 453 1208
Honor 10 (Normal) 0.32 449 1403
Google Pixel 2 XL 0 420
LG V30 0.002 414 207000
Samsung Galaxy Note8 0 412
Huawei P20 Pro 0 412
Oppo R15 Pro 0 410
Nokia 8 Sirocco 0 400
HTC U12+ (Max Auto) 0.214 389 1818
Samsung Galaxy S9+ 0 376
HTC U12+ 0.2 366 1830

Funnily, we couldn't locate the ambient light sensor on the front of the phone although it clearly has automatic screen brightness.

Regardless, sunlight legibility on the NEX S is great. Certain Samsung Galaxy devices still manage to score higher, but in practical terms, the NEX S remains perfectly usable, even under direct sunlight.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Apple iPhone X
    5.013
  • OnePlus 5T
    4.789
  • Samsung Galaxy S8
    4.768
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    4.658
  • Samsung Galaxy S9
    4.63
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    4.615
  • Samsung Galaxy S9+
    4.537
  • Motorola Moto Z2 Play
    4.459
  • Oppo R11
    4.454
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
    4.439
  • OnePlus 3
    4.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    4.376
  • HTC One A9
    4.274
  • 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
  • Google Pixel XL
    4.164
  • ZTE Axon 7
    4.154
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
    4.148
  • Meizu Pro 7 Plus
    4.147
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)
    4.124
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro (normal)
    4.096
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    4.09
  • Huawei P20 Pro
    4.087
  • 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
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro
    3.998
  • OnePlus X
    3.983
  • Vivo Xplay5 Elite
    3.983
  • Oppo R7s
    3.964
  • Apple iPhone 7
    3.964
  • Apple iPhone 8 (True Tone)
    3.957
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    3.956
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Huawei P10 Plus
    3.456
  • HTC U Ultra
    3.453
  • Motorola Moto G6
    3.448
  • Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra
    3.445
  • Samsung Galaxy J7
    3.422
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
    3.419
  • Meizu MX5
    3.416
  • LG V20
    3.402
  • Samsung Galaxy A6 (2018)
    3.397
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera
    3.393
  • Huawei P10
    3.379
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    3.378
  • Oppo R9s
    3.352
  • Honor 8 Pro
    3.341
  • Oppo F7
    3.333
  • Oppo R7
    3.32
  • Lenovo P2
    3.316
  • Archos Diamond Omega
    3.305
  • Honor 9
    3.289
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s
    3.276
  • Nokia 5
    3.261
  • Nokia 6 (Chinese version)
    3.244
  • Nokia 6 (Global version)
    3.238
  • Samsung Galaxy J2
    3.235
  • Sony Xperia X Performance
    3.234
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2
    3.228
  • Motorola Moto X Play
    3.222
  • Oppo F3 Plus
    3.218
  • BlackBerry KEY2
    3.212
  • Huawei Mate 9 Pro
    3.206
  • Huawei P9
    3.195
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 2
    3.19
  • ZTE Nubia Z17
    3.159
  • Oppo R11s
    3.153
  • Lenovo Vibe Shot
    3.113
  • HTC U11 Life
    3.108
  • Motorola Moto X Force
    3.105
  • LG Nexus 5X
    3.092
  • HTC U11
    3.089
  • HTC U12+
    3.085
  • Xiaomi Redmi S2 (Y2)
    3.077
  • Huawei Mate S
    3.073
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
    3.065
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Asus Zenfone 4 ZE554KL
    3.019
  • Sony Xperia XA1
    3.012
  • Motorola Moto X4
    3.012
  • Sony Xperia L1
    2.994
  • Sony Xperia X
    2.989
  • LG Q6
    2.987
  • Huawei P10 Lite
    2.974
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    2.952
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5
    2.951
  • Huawei Mate 8
    2.949
  • Sony Xperia XA2
    2.938
  • Oppo Realme 1
    2.932
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4
    2.92
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3S
    2.913
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    2.913
  • Sony Xperia XA Ultra
    2.906
  • LG G5
    2.905
  • Huawei Honor View 10
    2.896
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime
    2.893
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus
    2.884
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium (sRGB)
    2.877
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium
    2.877
  • Sony Xperia Z5
    2.876
  • Nokia 3
    2.871
  • Microsoft Lumia 550
    2.851
  • Lenovo Moto M
    2.813
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3 Pro
    2.803
  • Sony Xperia Z5 compact
    2.784
  • Honor 10 (Vivid)
    2.757
  • Nokia 2
    2.752
  • Meizu MX6
    2.751
  • LG V10
    2.744
  • Huawei Mate 10 (normal)
    2.742
  • Motorola Moto G5S Plus
    2.737
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3
    2.735
  • Huawei Honor 7X
    2.734
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625)
    2.714
  • Meizu M5
    2.71
  • 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
  • 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
  • LG Aka
    2.145
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (X20)
    2.145
  • Archos 50 Diamond
    2.134
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Xiaomi Mi 4S
    2.095
  • Acer Liquid X2
    2.084
  • Huawei P8lite
    2.078
  • vivo V5
    2.059
  • Moto G 3rd gen max manual
    2.026
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Xiaomi Mi Max
    1.996
  • Sony Xperia E4g
    1.972
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1.944
  • 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
  • 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

Color reproduction is somewhat of a mixed bag. If you value color accuracy on your devices, then the NEX S might not be the ideal choice. At least in the current state of Funtouch OS, that is, since it doesn't offer any custom white point or color adjustments. Vivo also decided to show off the AMOLED goodness, increasing most color saturation, especially red and yellow.

Still, even with the rather extreme color profile, the panel has an average deltaE of 6 and a maximum of 9.6 - not what we would consider properly calibrated, but not horrible either.

Battery

Despite all the extra hardware, crammed inside the NEX S, vivo still managed to fit a 4,000 mAh battery. To be fair, it is an 8mm thick phone but we've seen far less juice go into thicker units in the past.

So, adding thing up, we get a large battery, an efficient 10nm manufacturing process on the Snapdragon 845 and an equally efficient Super AMOLED display. The vivo NEX S, thus, has all the makings of an excellent battery performer. And our standardized tests indeed painted an impressive battery life picture.

vivo NEX S review

Even considering the big 4,000 mAh battery, 101 hours of endurance is still an accomplishment in its own right. In most regards, the Snapdragon 845 and its X20 LTE modem performed as expected. 3G call time is at the upper end of the spectrum, while standby time is right around the average for this chip.

We have to commend vivo for optimizing the default player app particularly well since nearly 20 hours of consecutive, offline video playback are no small feat. On the flip side, though, the default web browser had a few issues with seemingly random redirects to non-existent pages, while running our standard website browser script. Hence, we ran this portion of the test using Chrome instead.

Like we mentioned earlier, the NEX S comes bundled with a surprisingly compact charger, given its solid 22.5W output. This seems to go beyond the Quick Charge 3.0 standard, capped at 18W. It could be some sort of Power Delivery implementation, which does make sense, since the Snapdragon 845, is compatible with Quick Charge 4+ and consequently up to 27W via the Power Delivery spec. In real-life terms, that allows you to get the massive 4,000 mAh battery up from 0% to about 50% in half an hour.

Our endurance rating denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the vivo NEX S for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We've established this usage pattern, so 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-gritties. You can also 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.

Loudspeaker

The vivo NEX S only has a single loudspeaker at its disposal. Unfortunately, with all the other things going on, the design team apparently hasn't figured out a way to enable a hybrid setup. Come to think of it, that might not even be possible with the piezoelectric under-display speaker.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Huawei P20 (Film) 65.0 67.8 75.0 Average
Samsung Galaxy Note8 67.8 69.5 71.5 Good
Sony Xperia XZ2 (ClearAudio+) 66.0 71.6 76.4 Good
Google Pixel 2 XL 66.2 70.4 78.2 Good
OnePlus 6 70.2 74.7 70.0 Good
Sony Xperia XZ2 66.1 71.8 78.1 Good
Apple iPhone X 68.9 74.0 76.2 Very Good
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S 68.1 70.1 81.5 Very Good
Oppo R15 Pro 69.7 73.5 76.6 Very Good
Huawei P20 (Music) 65.1 70.5 86.6 Very Good
Samsung Galaxy S9+ 68.4 74.0 80.1 Very Good
Xiaomi Mi 8 68.1 72.3 82.2 Very Good
LG V30 66.9 72.3 84.5 Very Good
Huawei P20 66.6 69.8 90.0 Very Good
Honor 10 69.3 72.6 87.3 Excellent
Apple iPhone 8 Plus 76.0 74.6 79.0 Excellent
Huawei P20 Pro 71.8 69.2 91.0 Excellent
vivo NEX S 71.3 74.5 91.0 Excellent
HTC U12+ (Music) 76.0 73.6 88.5 Excellent
Nokia 8 Sirocco 83.6 76.4 80.7 Excellent
HTC U12+ (Theatre) 77.0 73.8 91.1 Excellent

In any case, the NEX S is pretty loud. It also has a few equalizer and audio optimization options to play around with. However, these seem to have very little effect on the actual output through the speaker. As far as quality goes, both music and voices come out pretty clean, with little to no distortions. But, as expected, the sounds stage is nothing to rave about.

Audio quality

The vivo NEX S did well in the active external amplifier part of our audio output quality test through the jack. It delivered average loudness matched with perfect clarity.

Plugging in the headphones brought the volume down to just below average but ot caused little in terms of distortion. Stereo crosstalk rose an average amount but the overall output remained solid.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
vivo NEX S +0.01, -0.02-93.693.70.00090.0069-93.8
vivo NEX S (headphones)+0.17, -0.10-92.993.20.00430.158-61.3
HTC U12++0.02, -0.15-94.394.30.00210.0069-94.3
HTC U12+ (headphones)+0.18, -0.13-93.793.60.00240.104-52.7
Nokia 8 Sirocco+0.44, -0.12-90.190.20.00560.016-88.7
Nokia 8 Sirocco (headphones)+0.51, -0.12-89.889.90.00970.043-39.9
Samsung Galaxy S9++0.01, -0.03-92.692.50.00120.0076-93.4
Samsung Galaxy S9+ (headphones)+0.03, -0.03-92.292.20.00170.042-76.3
LG V30+0.02, -0.01-93.293.10.00080.0069-94.2
LG V30 (headphones)+0.03, -0.02-92.992.90.00570.051-68.1

vivo NEX S  frequency response
vivo NEX S frequency response

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

Reader comments

  • Anonymous

I never had this problem. I can hear everything clearly

  • Rakesh

I am also facing same problem. Voice is not clear to hear and I sent back for replacement after using 1 day. This deficiency covers all good things of the phone. Because basic function must be perfect.

The front camera could've been a larger and better sensor, especially since it's not taking any additional space on the screen. Call me crazy, but I was expecting at least a 12MP 1/2.5" front camera here. It's definitely possible with the motorized...