First Looks: Sony Ericsson Vivaz Pro

Launch SRP: S$758

First Looks: Sony Ericsson Vivaz Pro

Vivaciously Professional

What is the Sony Ericsson Vivaz Pro? Simply put, it's a Sony Ericsson Vivaz armed with a physical slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Despite the addition, the Vivaz Pro isn't that much thicker than the original, with just a 2.5mm increase in its profile. It retains what Sony Ericsson dubs as the Human Curvature design, which is apparent from the curved top and bottom. As a result, most of the ports such as the microUSB and 3.5mm audio jack are located at the left profile.

On the right, you'll find buttons to activate the camera or 720p video recorder, with the volume buttons acting as the zoom buttons too. Unfortunately, the power button has been relegated to the top rear of the device, which is mostly inaccessible while we were using the device. The same can be said for its three main buttons at the bottom, which is too far down the edge for easy access.

Take care not to slide the display from the front of the screen as the rear side of the display tends to come into contact with the keyboard. Even so, sliding the 3.2-inch display from the edges can still be a difficult affair due to the stiffness of the slider. The keyboard is laid straight-on, and you might take some time to get used to the layout. Once you do, messaging should become more bearable than the virtual keypad or keyboard used by the Symbian S60 5th edition software. One might say the Symbian platform is mature and stable, but we think it needs to improve upon its usability to make life easier.

On that same note, the Sony Ericsson customized user interface is similar to the earlier Vivaz and Satio, with five separate pages used for the different features, one of which is Twitter. Don't expect a full fledged app out of it, as you can only do status updates and reply to tweets. Furthermore, the amount of displayed tweets is limited, and you'll be prompted to visit the Twitter mobile site to view more tweets.

Besides the physical QWERTY keyboard, the other change is the 5-megapixel camera, down from the 8-megapixel sensor on the original Vivaz. Images from the camera were average in details and sharpness. We did notice some purple fringing, especially along the white areas which enhanced the purple hues. As mentioned earlier, 720p video recording remains available on the Vivaz Pro. There were some issues with its auto white balance and focus, but videos were smooth and we did not see any obvious drops in frames.

Cellular usage was moderate in duration, though we did spend quite a few moments on the internet. For these power draining activities, we received a day and a half of usage with the Vivaz Pro's 1200mAh battery, which is above average from our perspective. For all that, you'll have to part ways with S$758, a somewhat reasonable sum for these features - without a phone contract plan.