The vivo NEX 3 is one of two phones with a waterfall display on the market, the other being the Mate 30 Pro - okay, technically 4 when you count each of the two models' 5G versions. The vivo was first though, plus it's notchless, and then it's also larger - that's 3 out of 3 in its favor.
Vivo calls it a Super AMOLED display implying Samsung makes it. The 6.89-inch diagonal includes the curved portion helping the marketing department with screen to body ratios, and vivo promo material says 99.6% - we don't know about that. Meanwhile, the 1080x2256px resolution in a 18.8:9 aspect makes for a 363ppi density.
In our testing, the NEX 3 5G posted a maximum brightness of 415nits in manual mode and 610nits under its automatic control in bright light. These are both reasonable numbers for a good modern-day OLED display, even if the Auto value is on the low end of the spectrum. The minimum brightness is 2nits, so you can rest your eyes when viewing in the dark.
|Display test||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
Color reproduction out of the NEX 3 5G is a bit of a mixed bag. Out of the box, it comes in Standard mode, in which we measured an average deltaE of 4.3 for our set of swatches against DCI-P3 targets - not too bad. The problem is, the white point is severely shifted towards blue (deltaE around 11). You do get the option to alleviate that by nudging the cold-to-warm slider to the right, though we'd appreciate an accurate preset.
For that, there's the Normal mode, which is tuned for the reproduction of sRGB content. We measured an excellent average deltaE of 2.1 with the whites a lot closer to the truth though still not perfect (deltaE around 3).
Then there's the Bright mode which barely makes a difference to brightness, though it does offer a slightly wider gamut.
The NEX' display is HDR capable, sort of. It does play HDR content off of YouTube but refuses to play nicely with Netflix. Then again, we had to sideload Netflix to try it, since it wasn't available by looking in the Play Store, so this could have something to do with it.
The vivo NEX 3 5G is powered by a 4,500mAh battery - same as the one in the Mate 30 Pro and generally more than the other potential competitors. For example, the OnePlus 7T Pro has 4,100mAh worth of battery, while the Galaxy Note10+ makes do with 4,300mAh. The iPhone 11 Pro Max' power pack is a smidgeon under 4,000mAh.
The NEX fared great in our battery life tests. It's able to loop videos for more than 22 hours on a single charge. That result is 3 hours higher than the next best result we got out of this autumn's flagship crop (iPhone 11 Pro Max sits at 19:30h).
At 15 full hours in the web browsing test, the NEX 3 5G matches the Mate and the iPhone, all three of them outlasting the Note10+ by three hours. We don't have the numbers for the OnePlus 7T Pro yet, but judging by the non-T, the vivo will be superior to that as well. Call time was also pretty good on the vivo, with a result little less than 27 hours - bested here by the 'old' OnePlus Pro and the Note10+.
Dialing in all the numbers into our formula, we're getting an overall Endurance rating of 110 hours for the vivo NEX 5G - quite spectacular.
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 3 5G 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.
With the included 44W adapter, we clocked a full charge from flat at 67 minutes with a 30-minute stint taking us to, well, 67%. The Mate 30 Pro was a marginal 2 minutes faster to full. Its indicator showed 72% at the half-hour mark (that's with a 40W charger), so it's just about the maximum wattage but more about the charging curve the makers have employed. That becomes even more obvious with the Note10+ 30-minute result of 64% out of a 4,300mAh battery with a decidedly less impressive 25W adapter.
The NEX3 5G has a single loudspeaker ported on the bottom of the phone. It's far from the best we've seen, both in terms of loudness and quality. It ranked in the 'Good' category when it came to decibels, but most phones now place in the 'Excellent' or at least 'Very Good' bracket. It also sounds quite dull, without much life in the highs, and little bass to speak of.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overall score|
vivo NEX 3 5G started 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 significant. Frequency response, intermodulation distortion, and stereo crosstalk all degraded by moderate amounts dropping the rating from excellent to good. Volume dropped considerably, though, meaning the overall performance is far from impressive for a flagship.
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.