The Sony Ericsson Vivaz was the first smartphone to feature 720p video recording, but amongst other things it suffered from a very poor on-screen keyboard that made email, messaging, and Internet browsingsomewhat tedious affairs. Hoping to rectify this is the Vivaz Ppro, which adds a physical keyboard into the mix.
Just like the Vivaz, the Vivaz Pro is a surprisingly slim and sleek device. Partly this is due to the simple fact it is smaller than many high-end touchscreen smartphones, with a screen just 3.2-inches from corner to corner. However, at just 15mm thick it is one of the thinnest slider phones we've seen. Tapered ends also help to make this phone feel even slighter than it actually is.
There are some nice design touches as well. The front buttons, which are incorporated into a silver strip along the bottom, are mirrored by a symmetrical silver strip at the top, while the Sony Ericsson logo is small enough to remain unobtrusive. Likewise, we like the way all the features on the back are lined up, keeping the phone from looking cluttered despite a fair number of potential eyesores.
Sadly the pleasing design isn't matched by build quality. The main disappointment is the screen, which because it uses resistive touch sensing technology is finished in flexible plastic that scratches easily and looks rather crude. Likewise the keyboard is surrounded by clear plastic that wobbles and flexes beneath your fingers as you type. One consequence of all this plastic is the phone remains quite light at 117g, but for an extra 20g or so we'd have preferred to see a capacitive glass screen and a more solid keyboard surround.
Other immediate concerns are the position of the headphone socket, which being on the side means any headphones without an angled jack will snag on your pockets, and the microUSB data transfer and charging socket, which is covered by a plastic flap. While we can appreciate the merits of protecting the socket from dirt ingress and knocks, these plastic flaps are a right pain when you actually want to connect a cable. As such we prefer either to lose the cover altogether, like on the HTC Desire, or have a sliding door, like on the Samsung Galaxy S.
On-board storage is limited to just 75MB, but a microSD slot sits under the backplate, giving you the option of adding up to 32GB more storage – you get an 8GB card in the box. Thankfully you don't have to remove the battery to add or remove a card.