China’s Vivo took the wraps off its flagship smartphone today, revealing a handset that has nothing but a screen on the front.

It’s the culmination of technologies we’ve seen over a few months, from Vivo’s Apex concept phone at Mobile World Congress to the X21 handset released earlier this year.

Vivo needs a big win with the Nex handsets, in the face of declining shipments and tough competition. (Picture: Vivo).

The most eye-catching feature is one you won’t immediately notice: The selfie camera, which physically emerges from the top of the handset when needed.

In all, there are two versions of the handset: Nex A and Nex S.

The top-of-the-line Nex S embeds the fingerprint sensor in the screen itself, allowing users to unlock the phone by pressing a finger on the screen.

US-based Synaptics, who partnered with Vivo on the sensor, claims its system is twice as fast as 3D facial recognition technology.

The other model, Nex A, doesn’t have this technology -- instead, it has a fingerprint sensor on the back of the handset.

The entry-level Nex A is priced at US$610. (Picture: Vivo).

(In case you’re wondering how the phone works without a speaker on the front: Vivo says the screen is the speaker, vibrating to create sound waves.)

Like other manufacturers, Vivo has developed an AI assistant which they’ve called Jovi. The demo showed it is able to control the phone through voice commands, as well as direct third-party apps to do things like send money to friends.

The Nex's selfie camera physically emerges from the top of the handset when needed. (Picture: Vivo.)

On the inside, the flagship Nex S is powered by the Snapdragon 845 -- which also powers Xiaomi’s flagship Mi Mix 2S -- and comes with 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage.

The Nex A features the Snapdragon 710 -- and comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

So what do they cost? The entry-level Nex is priced at US$610, while the 128GB flagship model costs US$700. The 256GB version will set you back US$780.

Vivo needs a big win with the Nex handsets, in the face of declining shipments and tough competition.

The phones will be available in China from the 23rd of June.