Reviewed: Sony Ericsson Vivaz

22 Jun 2010

Will nostalgia be enough to enamour an Ericsson fan boy with the Vivaz or will sheer HD power do the job instead?

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Nostalgia is a curious thing in that it can cause many strange traits and give a person a slightly skewed view of everything. Growing up using old-school Ericsson phones I feel it is my solemn duty to defend any descendants their relationship with Sony may spawn. When presented with the Vivaz I must admit I didn’t warm to it straight away, which put me in an awkward position. Do I go on with it for the sake of my nostalgic memories, or give up on it and risk not being invited to the Sony Ericsson Christmas party?

Firstly let’s talk spec.



The Vivaz has taken a step back in size and weight from the Satio, measuring up with a 3.2 inch TFT touchscreen display and weighing in at 97g. The screen really does this phone justice and makes all the menus stand out.

Using the menus can be a little infuriating at times, however. The phone comes with a stylus to be used on the screen but a smartphone can only be judged on how well it can be used with using only one’s hands and at times using the on-screen QWERTY keyboard felt like the phone was saying to me, “The fingers you have used to dial are too fat. To obtain a special dialling wand, please mash the keypad with your palm now.”

Putting my self-conscious issues aside, I must admit the menus are laid out very well and there is a degree of customisation with them to adjust to one’s tastes, so I’m willing to forgive it for implying my fingers need a few sessions on the treadmill.

Operating System & Processor


Following on from the Satio, Vivaz uses the Symbian operating system and has a super fast 720 MHz processor which to its credit does run smoothly for the most part when running a single process; however, it is somewhat let down when trying to multi-task. Often, an application will remain open with no obvious indication and drain the CPU but this one I’m going to put down to human error.

sony ericsson vivaz

The image quality on the Vivaz is top notch (Portrait shot from Adam while testing the Vivaz – Ed)

Camera & Video


And so to the creamy filling the upper-crust has been built around. It’s a bold understatement to assume the Vivaz would have a high-quality camera in its arsenal. Fish swim, birds fly and Sony Ericsson phones have awesome cameras. This one is a 8.1-megapixel, auto-focus, LED flash number, “so far, so standard” I hear you say. However, this is the part where the phone really shines.

Sony Ericsson has introduced a whole new array of photo options, including the very handy “Smile Detection” and touch shooting and overall the quality of the photographs are immense (the animals in Dublin zoo almost looked happy).

The HD video recording is the major selling point for the phone and it is branded on the back of being the first phone capable of continuous autofocus on 720p video recording. There is a built-in function to upload your videos straight to YouTube, as well, which feels somewhat like it’s just showing off.



The aforementioned YouTube uploader is just a small blip on the extras radar for this phone. Included extras are plentiful and for once for the standard apps on a phone they are pretty useful. The socialites among us will be happy with the Facebook and Twitter apps, which work well despite the small screen/large fingers worry.

Google maps and auto-locator settled any arguments with directions in a matter of seconds and the GTalk app was a handy little thing to pass the bus trip (unfortunately, the human error crept in again and I left myself signed in, causing my girlfriend to think I was ignoring her). For the adventurists among us who really must have apps, then the PlayNow store is starting to build up a back catalogue of applications.

The internet works well but does have a few niggling issues; however switching between 3G and Wi-Fi was pretty easy (if a little annoying to be asked every time if I wanted to use the free Wi-Fi or pay for 3G).



I’m going to go back to my original statement again. Nostalgia is a curious thing, and if it weren’t for nostalgia I might have given up on the Vivaz straight away, however, I’m glad to have seen it through because for every little niggling issue I have with this phone I find something positive to counteract it. It won’t stand up with the big boys of the iPhone or HTC HD2, but maybe I don’t want an iPhone.

Maybe I just want a little reminder of what it’s like to have a phone that is handy to have and not consume my life.

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