February 19, 2010

Soner Vivaz


Sony Ericsson is an alliance of two tech giants and with phones like the Vivaz it shows. It’s a gadget all the way, one that will galvanize geeks and charm the regular user.

Sony Ericsson Vivaz Sony Ericsson Vivaz Sony Ericsson Vivaz Sony Ericsson Vivaz
Sony Ericsson Vivaz official photos

A whole bunch of point-and-shoot cameras today boast 720p video recording, but are they not an endangered species feeling enormous pressure on both sides? For one, there are compact video recording DSLRs pushing down with competitive price tags, and then cameraphones are eating into compact camera territory with comparable still image resolution and video capture.

Eight megapixel still images and 720p video with continuous auto focus make the Sony Ericsson Vivaz a predator of point-and-shoot cameras. The Vivaz is not just a cameraphone though, it’s a smartphone as well – a tricked out Symbian running on a 720MHz CPU with a 3.2” nHD display to show it all off. That’s all in a package more compact than any combination of a stand-alone camera and a phone you can think of.

High-end smartphones have a long history of trading compact size for cramming in one feature more than the competition. The Sony Ericsson Vivaz strikes a perfect balance between being compact and feature-full – great news for anyone who doesn’t appreciate the recent craze of smartphones the size of a table… umm… tablet.

Key features

  • 3.2" 16M-color resistive touchscreen of 640 x 360 pixel resolution
  • 8 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash, face and smile detection, geotagging and touch focus
  • HD 720p video recording @ 24fps with continuous auto focus
  • Symbian OS 9.4 S60 5th, topped with a custom-brewed homescreen and media menu
  • 720 MHz CPU, PowerVR SGX dedicated graphics accelerator
  • Quad-band GSM support
  • 3G with HSDPA 10.2Mbps and HSUPA 2Mbps support
  • Wi-Fi and GPS with A-GPS
  • microSD card slot (up to 16GB, 8GB card in the box)
  • Built-in accelerometer
  • Turn-to-mute
  • TV out
  • Stereo FM Radio
  • microUSB and stereo Bluetooth v2.0
  • Web browser has full Flash support
  • Preinstalled Wisepilot navigation software
  • Office document viewer
  • Decent audio quality

Main disadvantages

  • No camera lens protection
  • No auto mode for the flash/video light
  • LED flash not powerful enough
  • The S60 5th edition UI isn't to the best in class standards
  • No proximity sensor sensor to lock the screen during a call
  • No DivX or XviD support out-of-the-box
  • No smart or voice dialing
  • No office document editing (without a paid upgrade)
  • No stereo speakers
  • No digital compass (magnetometer)
  • Videocalling uses only the main camera (no secondary one)

The feature list leaves very little to complain about, so is it time retire your old compact camera and make the jump the Vivaz? That’s what we’ll try to find out. As for its performance as a smartphone the list of key features suggests smooth sailing most of the way.

Sony Ericsson Vivaz Sony Ericsson Vivaz Sony Ericsson Vivaz Sony Ericsson Vivaz
How the Sony Ericsson Vivaz stacks up against he competition

Hold on to your hats folks, we’re jumping into the hardware part of this review.


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Soner Xperia X2 Review


It was back in February 2008 that the XPERIA lineup was born and it took Sony Ericsson almost two years to bring about the XPERIA X1 successor. The long waiting is over now and the XPERIA X2 is keen to prove to us all it was worth it.

Both devices obviously have lots of features in common (it's the same amount of memory - both RAM and ROM, and the same CPU) but there are - possibly - enough improvements to make the XPERIA X2 a strong successor and a valuable upgrade. And by telling you that, we don't only mean the more recent version of WinMo. 6.5 was never officially compatible with the original.

Anyway, the upgraded imaging is the greatest asset of the XPERIA X2 hardware and we're about to see how much it works in its favor.

Sony Ericsson XPERIA X2 Sony Ericsson XPERIA X2 Sony Ericsson XPERIA X2 Sony Ericsson XPERIA X2 Sony Ericsson XPERIA X2
Sony Ericsson XPERIA X2 official images

Before we kick off though, a bit of family tree stuff. The XPERIA X2 is only the second PocketPC in the series after the X1. The X10 runs Android and so does the rumored Robyn, while the Pureness isn't even a smartphone. The XPERIA lineup comes in different shapes and sizes but it all started with Windows Mobile. The X2 is perfectly aware of that and comes to offer some all-round PocketPC skills and the aggressive styling of its forerunner.

Key features:

  • Quad-band GSM support
  • Tri-band 3G with HSDPA 7.2Mbps and HSUPA 2Mbps
  • Four-row slide-and-tilt QWERTY keyboard
  • Landscape and portrait virtual QWERTY keyboards
  • Handwriting recognition
  • 3.2" 65K-color TFT LCD resistive touchscreen (480 x 800 pixels)
  • Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional
  • XPERIA panels user interface
  • Accelerometer sensor
  • Qualcomm MSM 7200 528 MHz CPU, 256 MB of RAM memory
  • 8.1 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash
  • WVGA video recording at 30fps
  • Support for DivX/XviD files out of the box
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, DLNA
  • Built-in GPS receiver with A-GPS support
  • Bluetooth and USB (standard microUSB connector) v2.0
  • 3.5mm standard audio jack
  • Stereo speakers
  • Flash video support
  • TV out port, TV out cable supplied in the retail box

Main disadvantages:

  • Outdated hardware
  • Sluggish interface
  • Display still on the small side, inadequate touch sensitivity and sunlight legibility
  • Almost no screen auto-rotation throughout the UI
  • Disappointing video recording
  • Basic music player
  • No FM radio (should be enabled with upcoming firmware update)
  • No video calling (should be enabled with upcoming firmware update)

As we said in the preview a few months back, there aren't many groundbreaking features to see, but the XPERIA X2 is definitely worth a look to check what it can actually do.

Well, if you're looking for Snapdragon speed, you won't find it here. There's no capacitive touchscreen either. And the X2 also skips an FM radio and its camera has no Xenon flash. But you get all the business benefits you would expect in a phone in this class, with some nice media too.

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA X2 packs the full range of connectivity options, hopefully a capable enough CPU, a comfy slide-and-tilt QWERTY keyboard, promising autofocus camera and, like its predecessor, it has a 3.5mm audio jack on board. The trackpad is also there (even if it's been redesigned).

Sony Ericsson XPERIA X2 Sony Ericsson XPERIA X2 Sony Ericsson XPERIA X2 Sony Ericsson XPERIA X2
Sony Ericsson XPERIA X2 live shots

While the XPERIA X1 came with a 3" display, the X2's screen measures 3.2 inches, but keeps the same 800 x 480 resolution. Among the most important novelties brought by the X2 is the latest firmware version: Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional. The revamped touch-optimized X-panels interface has been promoted to a full featured system for handling various animated and interactive homescreens.

Unlike the early version of the X2 which we had for a spin and a short preview, this one comes off the shelves so no excuses this time! After the jump a 360 degree spin awaits, along with our say on design and construction. But first things first - next up: unboxing.


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