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Vivo NEX 3 Review: The Best Flagship Alternative

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For the first time in the Philippines, Vivo has brought its flagship smartphone to the local market. The Vivo NEX 3 has something to offer that you might like. We reviewed the Vivo NEX 3 for about a month and we must say its a pretty good phone. Check out our full review and read on.

Vivo NEX 3 with the included case

Vivo NEX 3 specs:

  • Octa Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ processor
  • Adreno 640 graphics
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB internal memory, UFS 3.0
  • 6.89-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display (1080 x 2256 pixels)
  • Rear Cameras
    • 64 MP, f/1.8, PDAF
    • 13 MP, f/2.5, (telephoto), PDAF
    • 13 MP, f/2.2, (ultrawide), PDAF
  • Motorized pop up 16MP f/2.1 front facing camera
  • 5G, 4G/LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth
  • Fingerprint Scanner (under display, optical), USB Type C
  • GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS
  • Sensors – accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
  • 4,500 mAh battery with 44W fast charge
  • Android 9.0 Pie with Funtouch 9.1
  • Price: Php 39,999

Related article – Vivo NEX 3 Unnoxing and First Impressions

HARDWARE

One thing you should know about the Vivo NEX 3 is the device does not have physical buttons. Instead, you get capacitive buttons on the right side of the device. It got us some time to get used to it and we occasionally press the wrong button. Eventually, we got the hang of it. On the screen, there is small indicator where you can press volume and power button. The poower button is in the middle of the volume up and volume down button. This is also one of the few flagships that still has an audio jack. The device is quite heavy too, probably too heavy for some.

But the highlight feature of this device is the screen. It is one of the best screens we’ve seen. It can be easily placed 3rd among the best display right next to Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Apple iPhone 11 Pro. The display also goes towards the edge. There are no notches since the selfie camera is hidden at the back of the display and pop up when you need it.

SOFTWARE

Vivo’s Funtouch 9.1 is quite different from other Chinese custom skin we see. It takes some getting used to when navigating or using those quick settings. But overall, the UI is generally okay. Its clean and easy to learn. Although we noticed occasional slowdown when using it despite having a flagship chipset. As for major software updates, based on Vivo’s history, the company is not as keen on updating their phones to the latest Android version. Although we hope since this is a flagship, Vivo would update this phone to Android 10 sometime next year.

Speaking of the chipset, we have a Snapdragon 855+ here with 8GB RAM. For multitasking and gaming, it holds up pretty well. The weird thing is the occasional slowdowns and lags in the interface. We really think Funtouch needs more fine tuning. But for gaming, it works just fine. One good thing though, the phone gets regular security updates.

CAMERA

There are three rear cameras at the back – a 64MP camera, a 13MP telephoto and a 13MP ultrawide. Generally, it takes photos decently but we think other flagships can take better photos. You can edit the photos to adjust exposure, contrast, brightness and saturation if you download any photo editing app like Snapseed. If you want it raw, photos are decent but not as good as a Samsung flagship.

BATTERY AND CONNECTIVITY

We noticed that the NEX 3 gets weaker than usual signal as compared to other phones we have using the same carrier network. We double checked the LTE bands supported by the phone and it supports Globe and Smart LTE bands even the 700Mhz (band 28). So we cannot determine why we get weaker than usual signal. Calls are surprisingly clear and internet speeds are very stable too.

The 4,500 mAh battery should last you two days since the 6.89-inch display only has a full HD resolution so it won’t sip much battery. But to our surprise, we get mediocre battery life on this one. On our video loop test, we managed to get 6 hours of screen on time. This is acceptable but not great. Standby time isn’t great too. Leaving it full charged and unused for a day. it drained to 70% after 12 hours. We think this is probably due to the software.

VERDICT

The Vivo NEX 3 is a pretty good phone especially for the price. For Php 39,999 you get an amazing large screen, a flagship chipset, decent cameras, and a great selfie camera. It falls short on the battery and the UI can slowdown its performance although it doesn’t affect its gaming experience. Cameras are decent but doesn’t go as par with a Samsung or an Apple phone.

We are generally happy using the Vivo NEX 3 and if you are looking for a big screen for multimedia and gaming, This should be on your top list.

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