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Lust after a Touch HD, but can't quite afford it? Then HTC has you in its sights for the Touch Viva. It's the cheapest handset in the company's range of Touch devices, but it jettisons extras like GPS and 3G in an effort to keep the price down. The question is then, in dropping many of the higher end features, has HTC thrown the baby out with the bath water?
From the outset it's pretty obvious that the Viva is a budget model. It lacks both the classy piano black finish found on the Touch HD and the more metallic shell used on the mid-range Touch 3G (look out for our review soon). Instead, you're left with a much plainer and cheaper looking plastic fascia with a graphite effect paint job. It's not exactly unattractive, but it certainly doesn't scream high end at you.
Size-wise the Viva sits somewhere in the middle between the largish HD and the pocket-friendly 3G. It's small, but not exceptionally so and is a good bit thicker than the 3G, although the curved rear of the handset does help to hide this somewhat.
The screen on the Viva isn't flush with the case (unlike its more expensive siblings), but instead it's recessed slightly which gives it a more old fashioned and less stylish look. However, the screen itself isn't all that bad. Although it's a standard touchscreen rather than a capacitive one, it's pretty responsive to finger presses so you don't have to constantly dab at it to get it to register commands. The resolution, at 320 x 240, is relatively low by today's smartphone standards, but as the screen is bright and relatively small, text and graphics still look reasonably sharp.
Flip the handset over and you'll find the camera mounted on the rear. It's actually hidden in a small recess which should help it avoid getting scratched when the phone is in your pocket. The camera only has a two megapixel resolution and it lacks both autofocus and a flash so it's quite basic. As a result, the shots it takes are a tad short on detail and suffer from a good deal of digital noise, especially when you're taking snaps in low light.
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