HTC Vivid: Vividly Fast!
Wikipedia describes LTE as “a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data.It is based upon GSM/EDGE and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System/High Speed Packet Access (UMTS/HSPA) network technologies. The standard is maintained as a project of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), operating under a name trademarked by one of the associations within the partnership, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). LTE is the brand name for emerging and developed technologies that comprise the existing 3G and 4G networks. The LTE specification provides downlink peak rates of at least 100 Mbit/s, uplink peak rates of at least 50 Mbit/s and RAN round-trip times of less than 10 ms.”
The HTC Vivid and Samsung Galaxy S2 SkyRocket share the reigns for being AT&T’s first LTE capable phones. Both coming from strong phone makers it is fitting these two companies are the trailblazers for the future of AT&T’s exciting future! I do find it ironic that neither mention “4G” in their name unlike previous phones like the HTC Inspire 4G, Samsung Infuse 4G and 4G BlackBerry Torch 9810 to name a few. Are they taking Apple’s position maybe?
From outside appearances it is your typical candy bar form factor with a glossy black trim(comes in white as well) and metal back plate that lends to the solid reassuring feel in the hand and not the “oh crap I better not drop this” of the iPhone 4S. I like the discrete slot type speaker above the backplate that lends to its nice appearance and aztec angled design. I also appreciate that they did not make the phone so thin as that seems to be the direction most phone makers are going at the chagrin of us large handed people. HTC has designed the 5.07 x 2.64 x 0.44 Vivid so the 4.5 inch screen takes up most of the real-estate. This allows easy access with one hand to reach anywhere on the TFT Super LCD display featuring a qHD resolution of 540-by-960, with a nice representation of colors without the over saturation look on the Super AMOLED screens. I did find it a little difficult to see in the sunlight though a antiglare screen shield would eliminate that if desired. At the bottom of the phone are the touch capacitive controls of most Android phones of home, menu, return and search, with the volume rocker on the right side, power/lock screen button with 3.5mm head phone jack on top and micro-usb sync/power connection on the left edge. It also has a optional HD video out accessory taking the place for its lack of a HDMI port.
The Vivid inside sports a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8060 processor that uses HTC Sense 3.0 atop of Gingerbread 2.3.4 with 1GB of RAM to responsively expedite us lag free through the Vivid’s carousel screens and menus. It also has 16GB of internal storage and a microSDHC slot for additional 32GB of storage. As heavy as the phone is you would think it’s sporting a large battery though unfortunately that is not the case with its 1620mAh battery that pales compared to the 1850mAh battery of the Galaxy S II Skyrocket. The HTC Vivid is a quad-band EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz), tri-band HSPA+ 14.4 (850/1900/2100 MHz), and dual-band 4G LTE (700/1700 MHz) device with 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and BlueTooth 3.0. Though I don’t have LTE in my area with San Antonio being the closest city some 4hrs away, I did experience HSPA+ speeds of 6-12Mbps download and 1.1-1.8Mbps upload. I look forward to AT&T’s continued expansion of its LTE network to reach my hometown!!!
The HTC Vivid has a 8MP rear camera with dual LED flash, a 28mm lens, a back-illuminated sensor with a aperture of f/2.2 allowing better 1080P video even in low light conditions. The camera takes nice pictures though not on the level of pictures taken with phones by Samsung and Apple in my opinion. Videos were not vibrant color wise with a washed out appearance and sound had instances of distortion even when no wind was present. I did like the photo editing controls that allowed photos to be adjusted if problems happened to arise. The front facing 1.3MP camera for video conferencing and self-portraits is adequate and will come in handy when the face recognition software comes via the Ice Cream Sandwich OS update that the HTC Vivid will most assuredly receive soon.
Being a iPhone user and having tried Android with the Froyo OS/HTC Sense 2.0 combo, I will compare this experience with that in mind. I was overall pleasantly surprised with Gingerbread 2.3.4 with HTC Sense 3.0 skin running atop of it. It was a smoother OS with its carousel of screens than Froyo was on my HTC Inspire I had used this spring. The power saver options within the OS worked better than the third party Juicedefender app that I had used on my Inspire. Despite shutting data down when the screen was locked, it was quick to re-initiate data for the many quick checks of email and our AT&T Fan Page on Facebook throughout my day. Other reviewers had problems with the internet browser not opening pages though I did not experience that to any degree. When I accessed the Android Market an update to Adobe Flash may have improved its implementation in web pages and fixed this problem that others had experienced. The stock keyboard was also a surprising relief to me to use as it had been one of my headaches with Android in the past. Overall Gingerbread 2.3.4 OS seemed like it needed less third party apps to make up for its shortfalls that I had experienced with Froyo. HTC Sense 3.0 was smooth in its implementation atop the OS, with even more widgets and settings than what was on HTC 2.0. I really wonder how many of the phone’s normal users will even implement all that HTC Sense 3.0 has to offer, as to some it may seem overwhelming with its multiple array of customizations and excitingly pleasing to others. The processor handled the OS and Sense without problems and will do the same when it gets Ice Cream Sandwich.
My experience with the HTC Vivid continues to improve my feelings toward HTC and the Android OS’s evolution of improvements. I found myself less frustrated with the OS this time around and the hardware had its part in this as well. The phone’s screen was pleasing to view and responsively quick navigation of its 7 panes. Though I did not touch all that HTC Sense 3.0 had to offer, it did implement the changes I made very well. Many will be pleased with what the HTC Vivid and AT&T network have to offer! At this time AT&T has the HTC Vivid for $99.99 and AmazonWireless for $.01. Do your shopping as this may have changed and be dependent on your area and availability. I will be excited to eventually see LTE in my area and AT&T’s excellent plan of 4G LTE with HSPA+ to fall back to when LTE is not available. Many people in the U.S. are lucky enough already to have LTE as indicated in the diagram below. Now, go get it!!