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Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review

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Interface and Software:

The custom Sony Ericsson UI is the same as in the Vivaz and the Satio, and can be changed with a few other even less customized themes. Suffice it to say that the newest firmware (from 28/5) we upgraded the phone with didn't bring kinetic scrolling to the WebKit browser and the menus. There is kinetic scrolling in the great Facebook app, for instance, but the default menus are mostly good old Symbian S60.

The homescreens of the Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review
The homescreens of the Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review
The homescreens of the Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review
The homescreens of the Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review

The homescreens of the Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro


Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review
Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review
Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review
Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review

The new firmware does improve stability, though, and brings in some bug fixes (smooth kinetic scrolling of pictures in the media tab, for instance) as well as new additions such as an equalizer and a screenshot app, so it is wise to have it onboard. We covered what other apps are included out of the box in our Vivaz Review, and would just add TrackID to the list, which can recognize what song is being currently played around you à la the popular Shazam.

TrackID - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review
TrackID - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review
TrackID - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review
TrackID - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review
TrackID - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review

TrackID


GPS works fine and locks signal quickly - apart from the included location apps we installed the trial of Garmin XT for Mobile and it turn-by-turned us without a hitch despite that the phone is not listed as supported. The same welcome quality of the Vivaz's GPS is present on the Vivaz pro – working signal can be caught and kept even indoors when next by the window.

Garmin XT - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review
Garmin XT - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review
Garmin XT - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review

Garmin XT


For a more thorough glimpse at the interface and software you can refer to our Sony Ericsson Vivaz Review. Now off to the big question of how the camera measures up to its 8MP competitor found in the Vivaz...


Camera and Video:

Having two separate buttons for video and still shots is a handy function and one that stresses how good Sony Ericsson deems the video to be so as to dedicate a whole button to fire it up. And fire up it does quickly – you are up and running for photos or videos in less than 2 seconds from wherever you are in the phone menus.

The camera of the Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro had all the advantages of a bright sunshiny day, compared to the grizzly cloudy weather the Vivaz shots were taken in, so it is comparing apples to oranges somewhat, but the pictures came out well with its smaller resolution of 5MP. Now, of course, resolution is nothing without decent optics, but here the details that the camera caught came out fine for the 5MP sensor, yet not outlandishly so. Images are  on par with the average in terms of sharpness and focus. Colors got fairly accurately represented, but far cry from the usual vibrant oversaturated colors the standalone Sony cameras produced. In the end you probably won't notice much difference between pics taken with the Vivaz and the Vivaz pro.

Outdoor samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review
Outdoor samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review
Outdoor samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review
Outdoor samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review
Outdoor samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review
Outdoor samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review
Outdoor samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review
Outdoor samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review

Outdoor samples shot with the Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro


Strong light - Indoor samples - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review
Medium light - Indoor samples - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review

Strong light

Medium light

Low light - Indoor samples - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review
Darkness - Indoor samples - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review

Low light

Darkness

Indoor samples


You'll have to turn on/off the LED manually, unless you are on full auto setting. It is great as a torch, and good as a video light, but pretty weak as a camera flash, judging from the indoor samples. Sony Ericsson's take on that is that the focus here is on video recording, and, while Xenon is powerful, it heats up quickly and is not practical for video recording. Anyway, we've seen phones with LEDs that act as flashes when taking photos, and as lights when recording videos, which would have been a better solution here.

Web publishing service - Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro Review

Web publishing service

Moving along to the part you anticipate most - the video samples. They are as good as the ones taken with the Vivaz, with the same continuous autofocus regime, where the sensor focuses on whatever is front and center and nearer. Colors come out nicely, one of the  good video experiences you can have with a phone. Even in bright daylight, however, we got some noise out of the 24 frames per second with all settings on auto. Plus, keep in mind it is a good idea to not move the camera around too fast, otherwise you will end up with a blurry, jerky video. Uploading pics and videos straight to Picasa, YouTube, Facebook and blogs is a breeze, but the microphone proved to be quiet, catching a lot of static noise, which is kind of lame for such a video-centric phone.

Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro sample video 1 at 1280x720 pixels resolution.
Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro sample video 2 at 1280x720 pixels resolution.
Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro sample video 3 at 1280x720 pixels resolution.
Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro sample video 4 at 1280x720 pixels resolution.
Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro night mode sample video at 1280x720 pixels resolution.


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Display3.2 inches, 360 x 640 pixels (229 ppi) TFT
Camera5 megapixels
Hardware
720 MHz
Size4.29 x 2.05 x 0.59 inches
(109 x 52 x 15 mm)
4.13 oz  (117 g)
Battery1200 mAh, 12.5 hours talk time

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