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Review: Sony Ericsson Vivaz Pro


Sony recently released an updated version of their initial Ericsson Vivaz, now dubbed the Vivaz Pro, which sports a 3.2” TFT resistive touchscreen, with a resolution of 360 x 640, and a full slide out, QWERTY keyboard. The Vivaz Pro is approximately 109mm (tall) by 52mm (wide) by 15mm (thick) and weighs around 117g.

AESTHETICS
When I first picked up the Vivaz Pro, I noticed that it felt very simple and lacked a high quality feel to it, this is mainly due to its plastic housing; however the curved shape of the device fit nicely in the palm of my hand.

The front of the Vivaz Pro houses a 3.2” resistive touchscreen, with three plastic buttons located underneath (open call, menu, and end call). The right side of the device has volume/zoom rockers, as well as individual camera and camcorder buttons. The left side of the device has a microUSB port for charging/PC connectivity and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It should be noted that the top and bottom of the device do not house any features, due to the curved design of the casing.
SIDE NOTE: It would have been nice if the headphone jack was located in a more convenient location (such as the top), since it makes your headphone cord bend awkwardly when listening to music with phone in your pocket.


The back of the Vivaz Pro reveals a 5.1MP camera (downgrade from 8.0MP camera on original Vivaz), as well as a small power/lock button. Removing the back cover reveals a microSD port with up to 32GB support (2GB microSD card included). The Vivaz Pro is powered by a 1200 mAh Li-Po battery, which advertises approximately 310 minutes of talk time, and/or 440 hours of standby time. The device also has a built-in accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate, allowing users to toggle the display between portrait and landscape orientations.

SIDE NOTE: The size and location of the power/lock button is not practical or common and I would have liked to see the button placed on top of the device, or combined with the “END CALL” button.


Sliding the screen up will reveal a full, QWERTY keyboard, with rubberized keys that are slightly raised. I found the sliding mechanism very stable and durable, and I had no concerns about wearing out the mechanism or breaking the keyboard off the screen. I also found that the keys were adequately spaced apart and sized, so that any user could type quickly and efficiently when making phone calls, composing text messages, emails, etc.

PERFORMANCE
The Sony Ericsson is powered by a 720MHz processor, with 70MB internal memory, and comes preloaded with Symbian Series 60, 5th Edition. This device supports HSPDA 900 / 2100 and HSPDA 850 / 1900 / 2100 MHz networks, and advertises network speeds of up to 7.20 Mbps (download) and 2.00 Mbps (upload). The phone is powered by a 1200mAh Li-Po battery, with up to 310 minutes of talk time, and/or 440 hours of standby time. The Vivaz Pro supports GPS, +AGPS, and Bluetooth 2.1, while housing a WiFi 802.11 b/g card for WiFi support. It should be noted that most new smartphones ship with wireless “N” capability for increased speeds/connectivity and the lack of support on this device is disappointing.

The call quality of the Vivaz Pro was satisfactory, but could have been improved with a better microphone. The sound through the speaker was crisp and clear, but often times, callers complained that they could not hear me clearly. The phone interface was very user friendly, and the large buttons for dialing allowed for quick phone calls, without having to slide out the keyboard.
SIDE NOTE: There is no proximity sensor on the Vivaz Pro, which would have been nice, in order to preserve some battery life by turning the screen off during calls.

The touchscreen on this device was somewhat responsive and accurate, but at times, I found myself clicking the screen multiple times, trying to navigate through the various menus. I found greater success when using the tips of my finger/fingernail for increased accuracy. This is very important when trying to use the small scroll bars while navigating through various menus.
SIDE NOTE: The OS made the touchscreen experience very unpleasant at times, since some menus required a double tap to open, while others only needed a single tap.

The web browser was very slow and outdated. The resistive touchscreen made it almost impossible to click links without having to zoom right into the link. There is a full screen mode; however it is not possible to use the navigation buttons while in this mode. Also, there is no text re-flow capability, so when you zoom in to read text, you will have to pan over or zoom out to continue reading, since the browser does not automatically adjust text to fit the screen. One of the positive features of this browser is the Flash Lite support, which will allow you to play embedded video/media such as YouTube.

SIDE NOTE: Although the WiFi, Bluetooth and Internet connectivity performed very well, the phone seemed to become confused when multiple connections were available, as it continually asked the user for their choice of connection (Fido Browser, WiFi Browser, Bluetooth, etc.)

One area where the Vivaz Pro does thrive is in the media department. The 5.1MP camera took some stunning pictures, and features such as panorama mode, macro, smile and continuous shot allowed for many different angles/customization. I also liked that there was a separate shortcut on the side of the phone for video recording and would like to see this on more devices in the future. Although the Vivaz Pro advertises video recording of up to 720p HD, some recorded video was not as crisp and clear as expected. Here’s a pic and a video that shows the high quality:

The battery for this phone performed very well for its size, and I was able to use the phone for two full days before recharging (light calls, text messaging, browsing). Like all phones, I did notice that web browsing drastically decreased the battery life, and I also wonder how much battery life could have been gained from utilizing a proximity sensor while making phone calls.

SOFTWARE
The biggest complaint I have with this phone is its OS, however I’ve had bad experiences with Symbian in the past and have never been a fan (so take this section with a grain of salt). Symbian S60 feels slows and outdated, especially when compared to newer devices on the marker (iOS, Android, Windows 7, etc.).

The main screen is composed of five separate home screens that can be toggled through using the shortcuts at the top of the screen. However, only one of those home screens is customizable, while the rest are permanent (Twitter, Favourites, Plain Screen, and Media). Pressing the “End Call” key did bring up a small menu at the bottom of the screen for shortcuts to Music, Phone, Messages, and Search. Another annoying feature was the constant running of some of the menu options. Sometimes when I navigated to and from various menu options (such as messaging), I noticed that a small green circle would appear near the icon, signaling it was still running.

If you are not a fan of the physical keyboard, a virtual keyboard is present, which I found to be quite responsive. Although it may seem that the keys are not spaced far enough apart on the screen, my typing was quite accurate and I did not notice much lag between input and output.

Another positive aspect of this device is the amount of preloaded apps, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Radio, IM, MobileMail, etc.

CONCLUSION
Overall, the Sony Ericsson Vivaz Pro is a strong and durable device that gives off an invaluable feeling from its housing and software. The slide out, QWERTY keyboard is well designed and ergonomic, making messaging experiences quite enjoyable. The sliding mechanism on this device is also well designed and alleviates any fears of wear and tear. The main downside to this device is the software, as Symbian hindered the touchscreen accuracy and performance during Internet browsing and while navigating through menus. This device is very affordable, and I would recommend it to beginner cell phone users, looking for a “messaging-friendly” phone. Teenagers that find themselves constantly texting and taking pictures/video would also find this phone as a suitable option.

The Song Ericsson Vivaz Pro is currently available with Fido under the following pricing structure:
• $275.00 (no term contract)
• $75.00 (2 year contract)

The Vivaz Pro can also be purchased from Rogers under the following pricing structure:
• $274.99 (no term contract)
• $224.99 (1 year contract)
• $99.99 (2 year contract)
• $49.99 (3 year contract)

  • zorxd

    “This device supports HSPDA 900 / 2100 and HSPDA 850 / 1900 / 2100″

    Do you mean that this is a quad band UMTS 850/900/1900/2100?

  • DaRazorback

    I remember when this phone first came out, I was interested in it. I would have been more interested if it had a capacitive touch screen and S60 3rd Edi. and not the 5th.

    • Soulsaber

      That makes zero sense. S60v3 does not support touch screens, that’s why S60v5 was made; to be a touch version of v3.

  • allyourphones

    I had this phone and have since returned it. It has one critical fault – the screen lock. You can lock the screen, but it can unlock too easily one your pocket or handbag. Also – As soon as you touch the screen it goes on. Bye bye battery life. There isn’t a 3rd party software that solves this issue.

    Nice form factor, decent keyboard, ok OS, but that lock issue is the death of this phone.

  • EJ

    In before JAWG blames Wind for not offering an AWS version of this phone!

  • jeff

    In after EJ wasted his time bashing JAWG for nothing.. once again !
    Dude.. get a life.. youre a shame.. really

  • Caro

    I had this phone for 3 days and my happiest moment was repacking it in it’s box and putting the return sticker on it.

    My phone usage is basic (text, call, alarm clock) but wanted a qwerty keyboard to maybe type easier; typing in other languages is difficult on T9.

    Esthetically, it is nice. The design is modern, the screen has good resolution but the touch-screen response was dismal. Having to press buttons more than once to get it to respond was annoying and the screen would flicker and get “confused” when i switched from vertical to landscape opening the keyboard.

    The battery icon turns white instead of red when being drained which is not noticeable until the phone dies without warning. The battery cover is hard to take off and feels like it might break if you’re not super careful.

    All in all, it was very disappointing considering the salesman recommended this phone when i was renewing my contract.
    I would not recommend it unless the OS is improved.

  • Sid

    One drawback missed from the review is that even though it’s Symbian, it’s made by Sony so you can’t get free Ovi navigation or access to the Ovi store.

    And since Sony’s since dropped support for Symbian, you’ll probably never get any updates for this phone.

  • Jean-Michel

    I can confirm you officialy that this is the worst sony ericsson cell phone. I have seen the slide on this break within a week plus people have had lots of FREEZE problems with it. (will literally freeze really often while using some specific apps like Radio)

    • Jay

      Worse than Xperia X10? I doubt this can do multitouch lol

  • Dan

    Yea this phone has issues. There is a reason this phone is not priced as a smartphone, when other similar options like the nokia c6 are. But a keyboard and HD video is tough to find even on a high end device, you take what you get.

  • JAWG

    Hey guys, did you know that I put peanut butter on my 1 inch prick and let my dog lick it off? I’m still looking for some butt buddies. All Fûdge PÀckers should apply within.

  • cody

    does anyone know how to setup the web publishing? im having a lot of difficulties.

  • aj

    even though its not a smartphone it sure acts like a good one i like how it comes with facebook twitter youtube and IM preloaded overall i think its worth buying

  • EH

    This isn’t a smartphone, people should stop comparing it to one and nag about it. What the real comparison should be is up against some other crappy dumbphone. This you get $10 unlimited internet. Why pay $25 for the measly 500mb…

    Also, people need to stop complaining so much and problem solve. You can easily install ovi maps or any other application by drag and drop, RUN! (omg that was so hard i needed an engineering degree), there is a setting for automatic screen lock after x-seconds.

    Ironically smartphones are for people that aren’t the smart…

    • halo

      it’s a smartphone, Nokia has been promoting Symbian as part of the smartphone market segment, whenever you see the market distribution graph Nokia tops bcs they count any symbian phones into that category,. but symbian is so outdated and ugly to use, it shouldn’t be considered SP as there’s nothing SP about it.

  • allyourphones

    Hey EH. Clearly you only read the manual or saw some webreview. You haven’t put your hands on it for any meaningful time (unlike your mom). If you bothered to read my comments you would know that the screen becomes unlocked easily. Even if it doesn’t get unlocked – it lights up asking you to unlock it….. and that kills the battery.

  • Frank

    All mobile syrup’s logo reminds me of is this festive time of year. Has me in the mood for buying a new phone!!!

    Check out this amazing deal on trees I found!!!

    Hurontario and Admiral Blvd. (Mississauga) Saturday (9-5) and Sunday (10-4) – $25 for 8ft Canadian Balsam Fir – Fresh from Nova Scotia!!! (almost as fresh as this Sony Ericson!!)

  • Jen S

    @Frank,

    Thanks for your post! I went by on Saturday and bought a fantastic Balsam Fir Christmas Tree for my living room. It is beautiful!!! My family and I are decorating it right now and we are thrilled with this tree :) Thanks again! As a side note, when I was talking to the gentlemen selling the trees, they informed me that they were basically sold out at their Mississauga location, but you can contact them for home delivery or pickup at their Etobicoke location.

    And great review on the phone! Sony always seems to release phones with great multimedia capabilities, but subpar software. If they can get their software up to snuff on these phones, they will be fantastic!

    Happy Holidays Everybody!

  • Frank

    @ Jen S

    I definitely picked one of those bad boys up today. FANTASTIC. The email address I was given for contact was snow.vale @ hotmail .com

    I also was thinking of buying this phone for my gf. We will see how far that gets me ;)

  • carl

    anyone know how to get the picture text working cause it doesn’t work for me.

  • JCV

    I can tell you guys that at first, the phone wasn’t moving much at Rogers as dealers didn’t take the time to really look at the phone. But to consumers, its LOOKS like a smartphone, and anyone who doesn’t want to pay for data is jumping on this phone.

    Rogers had a huge backlog of the phone, then gave it to Fido, and now it’s back order. So, it’s deffinetly moving a lot.

    It has tons of issues (will always try to use 3G connection over WiFi connection), but you’ll see over 2011 that the Vivaz and future QMDs will becomes Rogers and Fido’s flagship devices while trying to move consumers away from data devices.

  • Bea ;)

    Okay so I bought my phone 2 days ago and I the Radio suddenly stopped working and my phone froze. It didn’t work till I restarted it. It kinda sucks and it quite disappoints me. I can tell that the phone is a bit bad :/ but I like the camera and it’s resolution

  • heartromance

    omg…so the conclusion is vivaz pro isnt a good phone to deal with?

  • getronics

    I bought the phone four days a ago. The battery goes fast. After fully charged, it only last 24 hours and I didn’t use too much time, approximately 40 minutes a day. I am not sure it is only my phone problem or the problem of this model.

  • goodtime

    It really depends on what your expectation on this phone.
    I used this phone for a month, and this phone come with a fair share of problem as described in the previous comments.
    It has a deep learning curve, non-responsive touch screen, and occasionally froze or lag.
    But you have to consider what you are paying for.
    For as little as $20 a month (with Fido) and $75 for the phone, you can get a touchscreen phone with wifi,HD photo/video, Interent broswer, and many different apps. It’s a good deal.
    If people are complain about this phone, than, they should go get a smart phone plan, with a price tag of $50/month voice+data plan and additional charge for the phone..

    In conclusion, you get what you pay for.

  • goodtime

    And about the battery life,
    you have to be smart and minimize the battery use by:
    - adjust screen brightless
    - adjust the wait time that the screen go off
    - turn off all wifi/blue tooth connection.
    - minimize the flash function ( i believe the “flow” wallpaper may use more battery life)
    - make sure your phone doesn’t have any app running when u r not using those apps.
    - and much more.

    With normal useage, (e.g. send couple text, watch some videos, talk around 20mins a day, play some games, play some apps), my battery can last 3-4 days.

    But when I use wifi, and watch youtube, the battery drain very quickly, so beware..

  • Naoki

    I bought this phone 3 months ago and it has broken. Almost from the very beginning the phone would turn off at random times, and the touch screen would not work, or take some calls. Now the touch screen does not work at all. When i first got the phone, i was impressed with it’s sleek design, but when i went to the menu and begun exploring the settings, i was unimpressed with how everything was sorted, making it very confusing. The camera quality is very dissapointing. The last phone i had 2 years ago with had a better camera. I give it a 3/5. Don’t waste your time with this phone. It’s not meant to last.

  • moonshake

    This phone is much cooler than my old nokia 6020. I was really sad when i somehow put a scratch on the camera’s lens surface. I wish i’d gotten a case before that happened.

    Being patient, taking out the battery and restarting the phone has solved most of the problems that I’ve had with this phone. But I just can’t get used to the menu screen that doesn’t rotate. :S And when video calling becomes cheaper, I won’t be able to see and talk with my friend at the same time since there’s no second camera.

  • julie

    DO NOT BUY THIS PHONE. I have had this phone for less than a year and I’ve been super careful with it. Half the time when i plug it in it wont charge, it turns off for no reason, the silver part fell off, the space bar cracked and it is currently completely non responsive. Maybe mine is just faulty but in no way would i recommend it.

  • r****d

    this phone is absolutely TERRIBLE. it stops working really fast. it is only looks. everything inside sucks. dont waste your money. get something else. there are plenty of free phones to get.

  • phony

    the only reason im keepin dis phone is because of the great camera and video cam it has. its hard to find phone like this with great camera . the phone freezes alot also my phone memory was locked, idk what the pass. is cuz i nver put a lock on it. then i found out that when u lock the phone, one press on unlock it unlocks ur whole phone and either calls people or mess ur phone up. anyways nice camera but the phone not so great. :(

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