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Review: Sony Ericsson Vivaz

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The Vivaz has a 3.2-inch display with 640 x 360 pixels. The smaller screen size and solid pixel density make the display look good when it comes to sharpness and clarity. Icons, text and graphics are clean and free of obvious pixels along curves and edges. My problem with the Vivaz's display is the brightness. It is far too dim. Even in indoor settings, it was sometimes difficult to read — with the brightness set all the way up. The unlock screen, in particular, is pretty much invisible. When taken outdoors, the Vivaz was practically impossible to use, unless working with the brightest of applications (i.e., the camera). It really is a shame, because the resolution is decent enough that you want to interact with the screen.


Signal performance with the Vivaz was very good for an AT&T device. It most places, it held onto the same number of bars or higher when compared to other AT&T phones. Most of the time, it was able to access AT&T's 3G network. I saw it dip down to EDGE just once, and that was in a place with known poor AT&T coverage. While testing the Vivaz, I did not drop any calls as a result of poor signal, nor did I miss any SMS messages. I had several calls go straight to voicemail, however. Wireless data speeds were amazingly inconsistent and slow more often than not. The browser would stall constantly, letting web pages hang half loaded.


Call quality was very good with the Vivaz. I had no problems at all during my tests. Calls were free of hiss, noise, or other interference, though several times the volume dipped a little bit. Mostly, however, call performance was good. The earpiece had plenty of power. I was able to easily make out conversations in noisy environments, such as a coffee shop. Ring tones and other alerts were also right on target. The Vivaz can be heard easily when set to a medium volume. At full blast, it is quite loud and almost borders on abusive. The speakerphone was among the clearest I've ever heard. Truly fantastic sound, and the volume was also solid. The speakerphone works very, very well.

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The Vivaz consistently lasted about two days on a charge. Given all the radios, network-pinging apps, and the screen, I'd rate that as fairly good performance. The one thing I noticed that is that the battery drains much faster when the Vivaz is being used to record HD video. You could deplete a full charge in several hours when recording video. If you're going away for the weekend and plan to use the camera/video camera heavily, I'd bring the charger and top up at night.

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