The HTC Vivid from AT&T is a pretty monumental device because it’s one of AT&T’s first two smartphones to come with support for their growing 4G LTE network. The HTC Vivid recently debuted along side the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket phone, which is the other handset from AT&T’s line-up with 4G LTE support. With 4G LTE under the hood, and a 4.5″ qHD display, a 1.2GHz Dual-Core processor, and an enhanced camera with a 26mm wide-angle lens, this smartphone is all about performance. Read on for our full review.
Design-wise the HTC Vivid isn’t anything to write home about, it’s even a bit bland. It’s black glossy plastic material and rounded corner design feels underwhelming coming from HTC and the great looking smartphones that they have been producing lately, such as the HTC Radar or Rhyme. Fortunately there is a white option available too which pops a lot more than the black version. Measuring 5.07 x 2.64 x 0.44, the device doesn’t feel all that large considering the fact that it’s packing in a 4.5″display. But weighing in at 6.24 ounces, it is significantly heavier than the practically anorexic Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket and Motorola Droid RAZR which are two other phones that are definitely in the same league as the Vivid. But to its credit, the Vivid’s build quality feels a bit plasticy, but still built to last.
The Vivid packs in a 4.5″ qHD display with a 540 x 960 resolution. This display is excellent and one of the best displays on a smartphone you can find. Visuals are super sharp and bright, and color reproduction is both accurate and vivid. Unlike the Skyrocket which also has a 4.5″ display but a 800×480 resolution, we appreciate that HTC has packed in as much resolution as possible on the Vivid’s display, which really helps utilize the display’s real estate.
Under the hood, the HTC Vivid is packing in a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor. Even with the HTC Sense U.I. running on it, the device performs responsive and fluidly. In Quadrant it earned a healthy benchmark score of 1972. That makes it slower than the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket, but still a very capable device.
Unfortunately 4G LTE is not yet available in the New York City area, so we haven’t been able to test the Vivid to its fullest potential. But as soon as 4G LTE goes live we will update this review with 4G LTE speed tests on the Vivid. But in the meanwhile we have been using the Vivid on AT&T’s HSPA+ network and the web surfing experience has been very speedy.
Update 1/1/2011: Check out our 4G LTE speed tests here
As of late, HTC has been putting a major emphasis on pushing out high quality cameras on their smartphones. The HTC vivid is one of their first phones to pack in an above average camera when it comes to specs. In particular, it’s rear-facing camera is an 8 MP camera with a 26mm wide-angle lens, a f22 low-light capability, and a dual LED flash. With specs like these, we were expecting to be blown away by its photos. Unfortunately, photos are good, but not as good as we had hoped for. With adequate lighting, the camera gets to shine and produces photos with vivid colors. When it comes to lower light environments, photos are generally sharp, but colors aren’t all that vivid and pictures lack fine detail. Fortunately, the camera is quick to load up and snap pics, and auto-focus works quickly too. The camera also comes with a neat selection of effects like a distortion effect, vignette depth of field, dots, vintage, posterize, and more, as well as the ability to take photos in HDR. The Vivid can also record 1080P video, and it also sports a 1.3MP camera.
The HTC vivid comes bundled with some non standard apps like Mog music, Live TV, Polaris Office, AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Code Scanner, Adobe Reader, AT&T Navigator, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. It’s also running the latest version of HTC’s lovely Sense U.I. version 3.0. The latest version of HTC Sense includes Live lockscreens which make those boring old lockscreens so much more exciting than they have ever been. You can now dress your lock screen in a choice of 6 different looks. One lockscreen choice includes animated photos from your photo album, another shows the weather, stocks, or a clock. But our favorite lock screen is the Friend Stream which has your friend’s status updates from Facebook and Twitter flying around. Of-course, as always, HTC Sense brings a slick GUI and an awesome collection of widgets to Gingerbread, along with enhanced social media integration.
Call quality on the HTC Vivid is very good. Callers sounded super loud and clear and they said the same of me. The call quality experience is actually a bit superior to the call quality experience on the Skyrocket. Unfortunately battery life on the other hand is pretty mediocre. With widgets running and moderate use, you won’t get through a full day before having to charge the Vivid
The HTC Vivid is not the most exciting of HTC’s line-up design-wise, but it’s a very capable and well rounded device. Although it’s larger form-factor is not for everyone, we also love its excellent high res and vivid 4.5″ qHD display. That said, the HTC Vivid will really have its chance to shine when it’s able to run on 4G LTE. We’re hoping 4G LTE lands in New York sooner than later. For now, 4G LTE has been announced in 15 markets around the country. The HTC Vivid is available now for as low as $159.99 with a 2 year contract.
The Good: 4G LTE ready, excellent display, latest Sense UI comes with fun lockscreens
The Bad: Bland design is also a bit hefty, mediocre battery life