Sony Ericsson Vivaz for AT&T Review
It's all about numbers, right? As we have seen countless times before though, a higher megapixel count doesn't necessarily dictate better quality images all the time. The images captured with the Sony Ericsson Vivaz are more than good looking thanks to their high detail – but colors still had a soft look to them; lacking the natural tones one would expect. Regardless, most people will be satisfied with the overall quality it has to bring to the table – plus there are a myriad of shooting modes and options to choose from. Indoors though, it manages to retain some decent looking colors, but there is an observable loss in fine detail. Exactly like the recent Xperia X10, the Vivaz's LED flash remains active when it's in use, however, it doesn't remarkably improve the quality in low lighting conditions seeing that it produces a fair amount of noise. All in all, most people will fancy the images captured by the camera and should be more than enough in printing out a quick 4” x 6” photo.
Six months ago, the Vivaz managed to surprise many people with its ability to shoot 720p videos. Since then, we've seen a barrage of smartphones flaunt the high-definition recording option once limited to a select few handsets. The videos captured by the Sony Ericsson Vivaz are passable, of average quality. However, its capture rate of 23fps easily holds it back from attaining the high marks achieved by the iPhone 4's 30fps. We do enjoy the fact though that it's one of the few devices to offer continuous auto-focus throughout a session.
We're once again greeted to the likeable Flash interface on the Vivaz which ultimately will lead to its atypical music player. The usual set of items are appropriately displayed such as the album cover, track information, and on-screen controls. Although it's quite functional at its core, it doesn't take advantage of the presentation found with the Flash based interface it employs in navigating content. Audio from the speaker is mute sounding and didn't provide the additional power needed in truly exerting powerful tones to make the experience well rounded.
Yet again, the Vivaz excelled in playing a movie trailer we had encoded in MPEG-4 1280 x 720 resolution. Thanks to the sheer brilliance of colors the display is able to muster on screen, it is supplemented with smooth visuals that didn't hiccup at any instance during its entire playback. Sure it doesn't boast some of the larger sized panels we've been treated to of late with competing handsets, but the Sony Ericsson Vivaz still has enough horsepower to present users with an exceptional movie watching experience.
In a way, we're a bit saddened by the fact that the Vivaz is only preloaded with a measly sized 2GB microSD card. Come to think about its 720p video recording prowess, this might prove to be insufficient for some, but thankfully it'll accept cards up to 32GB in capacity.
Data and Connectivity:
Sharing the same quad-band (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) GSM options with its European counterpart, AT&T's version actually offers tri-band (850/1900/2100 MHz) UMTS connectivity – which should be a great solution for the international wanderer. Additionally, it packs Bluetooth 2.0 to allow a handful of wireless devices to connect to it. Finally, you can always opt to use the Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g that's on board if your connection to the mobile network is inadequate.
The biggest thing we were hoping to see is support for kinetic scrolling with the platform, but unfortunately it's still omitted. Though, it isn't necessarily a deal breaker as the web browser is able to load pages in a timely manner while rendering it exactly like a desktop browser. Zooming is a manual process and can be achieved by either performing double taps on the display or simply resorting to clicking the zoom icon that will allow you to choose a specific level. Although there aren't as many innovations to be found with S60's web browser over something like Android, it still presents an acceptable experience.