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Sony Ericsson Vivaz Pro Review

The Sony Ericsson Vivaz has fast become a favourite with us, with its curved good looks and stunning video recording abilities, and although it has been on the market for just a few short weeks there is already another Vivaz model in the pipeline, the Sony Ericsson Vivaz Pro.

It may initially seem confusing for there to be two Vivaz branded handsets on the market, but a closer look shows that there a few differences to be noted, and we going to run through those now. The first, most obvious difference with the Vivaz Pro is the inclusion of a slide out QWERTY keyboard. This will appeal to people whose main usage on the mobile device is messaging, be that SMS or email, because as much as an on screen QWERTY helps, there is nothing to compare with a real keyboard. The tactile feel and feedback you get from using proper keys on a device is yet to be matched by an on screen equivalent, and Sony Ericsson must think there is a large enough market segment that agree with those sentiments, to make it worth while bringing us the Vivaz Pro. The slide out keyboard is a standard, four row layout; the keys have a good degree of separation between them, facilitating quick typing. The inclusion of a QWERTY keyboard has increased the thickness of the Pro in comparison with the Vivaz, but only by 2.5mm, and has increased the weight by 20g to 117g. The Vivaz Pro is 109mm long by 50mm wide, and this makes it very comfortable to hold in two hands, typing with your thumbs.

The display on the Vivaz Pro is a TFT resistive touchscreen, measuring 3.2 inches across. Screen resolution is 360 x 640 pixels, and supports up to 16 million colours. Being a resistive touchscreen means the handset can also support handwriting recognition as an alternative data entry method, and the display is covered by a scratch resistant surface. A built in accelerometer allows for display auto rotation, ideal for web browsing, and also facilitates features like turn to snooze (a favourite feature of mine) and turn to mute an incoming call.

Like the Vivaz, the Vivaz Pro  is designed to run on Symbian S60 5th Edition, similar to the OS that runs many Nokia touchscreen devices, and also the Sony Ericsson Satio. This open source operating system has evolved over many years, and this means there are many applications available to enhance the features of the device. Apple have shown that there is value in supplying a centralised source of apps for their iPhone, for the Vivaz and Vivaz Pro you can either go direct to the developers websites to download the app to a PC and sideload onto your device, or alternatively you can browse through the Sony Ericsson Play Now portal.

One of the main selling points of the Vivaz is the HD video recording option, which offers you the opportunity to capture video clips on the phone in HD format. It is therefore pleasing to note that the Vivaz pro also retains this option, offering video capture at 720 x 480 pixels, at 24 fps. The camcorder app supports continuous auto focus, and there is also a light for video capture in low level lighting conditions. Where the Vivaz Pro differs from its sister handset is in the imaging department; the Vivaz sports an 8.0 megapixel camera, whilst the Pro delivers a 5.0 Megapixel option, which is still going to be good enough for most. The camera offers a variety of features to ensure the best result every time, including support for touch focus, which allows you to touch on the display and focus in on a different part of your shot, as well as geotagging, face and smile detection.

The Vivaz Pro delivers in the media department too, offering a strong range of media options to help you share your content on the move, as well as keep entertained. There are Facebook and Twitter apps included as standard, plus you can easily integrate the handset to your YouTube and Picasa accounts, allowing you to upload media on the move and share with those close to you. The Vivaz Pro also offers a TV Out option, which means you can view media from the phone directly to a TV display, just by simply connecting in the requisite cable. The Vivaz Pro includes a capable media player, which handles most popular digital music formats, including MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV and eAAC+, whilst the video player is compatible with MP4, H.263 and H.264 video formats. The device supports Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP for stereo audio streaming, and there is also a 3.5mm audio jack for plugging in with your own headset.

For connecting to the web and uploading media, the quad band GSM Vivaz Pro includes all the high speed data options necessary, including dual band HSDPA and HSUPA over 3G, and WiFi b/g, all backed up by Class 10 GPRS and EDGE. The device also supports DLNA, which is designed to make it easier to connect your handset to your home WLAN, for streaming media across the home network. In built memory on the Vivaz Pro is a rather disappointing 75 MB, but this can be expanded via Micro SD memory cards, with the Vivaz Pro supporting up to 16 GB. In most markets the phone should also ship with an 8GB card, although it would be best to check with your supplier before hand, as some retailers will remove this from the sales package to help reduce costs.

Reference Price: Rp. 3,700,000


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