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Darkthrone - A Blaze in the Northern Sky Music Album Reviews

Each Sunday, Pitchfork takes an in-depth look at a significant album from the past, and any record not in our archives is eligible. Today, we revisit a tense, beautiful, lo-fi landmark from the second wave of black metal.
In the fall of 1971, a child is born in a remote village in Norway. He will one day rechristen himself Fenriz, after the Earth-swallowing wolf, Fenrir, who appears in Norse mythology and the Satanic Bible. But for now, he is Gylve Nagell, being raised by his grandmother, spending inordinate amounts of time alone. The pivotal moments of his childhood occur while listening to records, music introduced to him by an eccentric uncle named Stein. Pink Floyd catches his ear; a few songs by the Doors hold his attention; but it’s the English progressive rock band Uriah Heep that blows his mind. He’s entranced by the heavy organ sound, the cryptic lyrics, and the mysterious men with long hair who appear on the album’s cover. He cherishes the triple-fold LP like an heirloom from…

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Vivo Nex 3 Review: Hands-on

The Vivo Nex 3 is a 5G flagship with triple cameras, the Snapdragon 855 Plus, and more screen than you can shake a stick at

Should I Buy The Vivo Nex 3?
So far there's not a lot to dislike about the Nex 3. Importers - especially in the US - are probably better off ditching the 5G and sticking to the regular 4G model, but beyond that this phone offers almost everything you might want from a 2019 flagship.

The huge curved panel is beautiful, early camera tests show promise, and the internal specs rival just about any other phone on the market. Unless you're committed to wireless charging there really isn't much missing from the Nex 3.

Price When Reviewed
  • To be confirmed
The Vivo Nex 3 is the company's first foray into 5G, and it's going all out, with headline-grabbing specs from the display to the cameras, together with novel design choices like ditching physical buttons (almost) entirely.

Vivo unveiled the flagship phone at a Shanghai event, and I was there to get an early look at the phone and try it out for myself ahead of a full review. Here's what I think so far.

Price And Availability
Vivo wasn't able to tell us the Nex 3's price ahead of the launch event, but we should know very soon. Expect two prices, as there'll be at least two models of the phone: one with 5G support and one without.

You shouldn't expect a UK or US price any time soon though - so far the phone is only confirmed to release in a selection of Asian markets 'in the coming months', and while Vivo says it's in talks with European carriers it's not quite ready to launch phones outside Asia. Like most other Chinese phones, it should be easy enough to import however.

Chasing Waterfalls
The first thing that's likely to catch your eye on the Vivo Nex 3 is the curved screen, which runs almost all the way to the top and bottom bezels while wrapping most of the way round the sides - with noticeably more curve than even the Galaxy Note 10.

It's what Vivo is calling a 'Waterfall FullView' display, and the company claims it delivers a 99.6 percent screen-to-body ratio. I'm not quite sure how it reached that number - those top and bottom bezels, while incredibly slim, look like more than 0.4 percent of the phone to my eyes - but either way this phone offers more screen than just about any other out there.

The 6.89in panel is POLED (i.e. plastic OLED) with a glass layer on top, with a FHD+ resolution of 2256x1080. The panel itself comes from Samsung, and is pretty gorgeous in use, with especially bright, vivid colours. Vivo claims it covers 100% of the sRGB spectrum and caps out at a frankly ridiculous 800 nits max brightness, but I'd take those figures with a pinch of salt until I get the chance to benchmark the display properly - though no matter what, it looks lush.
The extreme curve isn't just for show either. Vivo has built in a few software features to take advantage of the edges, such as a pulsating graphic that plays along the edge while music is playing and the screen is off, or alerts set up for when you receive calls - so that even with the phone face down on a table you can still see an incoming call.

Palm rejection software does its best to mitigate the main annoyance of curved screens, but the added curvature here creates another problem: buttons. There's just not the space for physical buttons - and besides, they'd ruin the sleek effect - so Vivo has instead built in capacitive touch buttons for power and volume, with haptic feedback to let you know when you've hit them.

It's tech that the company demoed in the Apex 2019 concept phone, but put into a retail phone for the first time in the Nex 3. Once you learn the spots to hit (aided by some subtle on-screen prompts) the 'buttons' are surprisingly easy to use, and you can customise the pressure for each individually to help avoid accidental touches. In one change from the Apex, Vivo has also thrown in a small physical power button along the top edge of the phone, for those worried about the touch buttons failing if the phone ever freezes.

The back of the phone looks almost as great as the front, with a reflective glass back available in two finishes: Liquid Galaxy or Glowing Night. Those are basically a silvery white and black respectively, and the former in particular picks up the light in some fairly pretty patterns.

Pixel Power
Vivo has Samsung to thank for more than just that curved panel: the Korean giant also supplies the 64Mp camera sensor that's the star of the Nex 3's triple rear camera setup. The f/1.8 shooter follows phones from Xiaomi and Realme with the same OTT megapixel count, but remember that between pixel binning and sensor sizes there are limits to the benefits you can expect from the extra Mp.

Still, from a few early test shots the Nex 3's main lens is impressive, with accurate colours and as much detail as you'd hope for given the pixel count. The main lens is joined by 120-degree wide-angle and 2x telephoto lenses (both 13Mp), the latter of which will let you get as far as a blurry 20x zoom with some digital help. Thanks to smaller apertures you don't see quite the same dynamic range from either of these, but there's minimal distortion on the wide-angle at least.

Vivo's camera software includes the usual AI features and Night Mode, but I haven't yet had the chance to put those to the test - they'll have to wait for my final review.

Finally, to keep the display uninterrupted Vivo has opted for a 16Mp pop-up selfie camera, which slides out in a wide apparatus that includes its own flash light - and the option to have it play a slightly annoying sound effect every time it does so. I quickly turned that off.

Specced Out
With all that fuss over the display and the camera, you'd think Vivo might have skimped on specs, but if anything it's the opposite - the company has gone all out to keep up.
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For starters there's the new Snapdragon 855 Plus chipset, currently the most powerful on the market for Android devices. It's joined by either 8GB or 12GB  of RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.0 storage. Between all that the phone runs seriously smoothly, and should happily keep up with demanding streaming, or the latest Android games or video rendering needs.

The 4,500mAh battery should last a good day or two, and with 44W fast charging it should be easy to keep it topped up too - though Vivo didn't specify how quickly it could manage a full charge. There's no wireless charging at all though, as the company hasn't yet embraced the tech. There's also no IP rating, though Vivo reps insist it has been tested for water and dust-resistance.

Connectivity is unsurprisingly solid, with NFC and Bluetooth 5.0, plus the aforementioned 5G. There are six antennae across the phone to help improve the reliability of 5G connections, using the Sub-6GHz spectrums - the type most common in Asia and Europe, but not yet in the US, where mmWave is more readily available. That means European importers can probably expect typical 5G performance - though with the slow rollout of the service that isn't saying much, even in a city like London - but if you're in the US the Nex 3's 5G model probably wouldn't be a great choice.

The only other thing really lacking here is software. The Nex 3 ships with Android 9 - not 10 - and Vivo's Funtouch OS is not quite as fun to use as the name would suggest. I'll test it out more fully over the next week or so, but on first impressions this is a fairly typical Chinese Android skin - which is to say heavy, clunky, and awkward to western tastes, or anyone used to the stock experience.

Early Verdict
So far there's not a lot to dislike about the Nex 3. Importers - especially in the US - are probably better off ditching the 5G and sticking to the regular 4G model, but beyond that this phone offers almost everything you might want from a 2019 flagship.

The huge curved panel is beautiful, early camera tests show promise, and the internal specs rival just about any other phone on the market. Unless you're committed to wireless charging there really isn't much missing from the Nex 3, so this could be one to watch. Stay tuned for our full review soon.

Specs
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus
  • 8/12GB RAM
  • 256GB UFS 3.0 storage
  • 6.89in FHD+ (2256x1080) POLED
  • 16Mp (f/2.09) pop-up front camera
  • 64Mp (f/1.8) rear camera with 13Mp (f/2.2) 120-degree wide-angle and 13Mp (f/2.48) x2 telephoto lenses
  • Sub-6GHz 5G
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • GPS
  • Headphone jack
  • Capacitive buttons
  • 4500mAh battery
  • 44W Super FlashCharge
  • In-display fingerprint sensor
  • Android 9.0
  • 167x76x9.4mm
  • 218.5g

View my Flipboard Magazine.

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