Feeds
65%

HTC Touch Viva budget Windows Mobile smartphone

Wrong features left out?

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The Viva is full of such minor disappointments, but the major omission is the lack of 3G connectivity. For a device which is so well suited to surfing the web, the lack of a decent connection seems perverse. There's a Wi-Fi link, which is fine for connecting to your home network, work WLAN or if you're near a hotspot, but useless anywhere else. GPRS will just about do for checking your email, but tends to suffer badly when viewing big-screen web pages. The Viva also does quad-band GSM so you can make calls from almost anywhere in the world.

HTC Touch Viva

Wi-Fi, yes; 3G, no

Yes, there's the Touch 3G - essentially the 3G version of the Viva - and that's all well and good, but why bother with two models at all? We'd say Wi-Fi should have been the differentiator, not 3G: 3G in the Viva, 3G plus Wi-Fi in the better model. And a new name, of course.

The browser is the same as the one offered on other recent Touches and very nice it is too. Opera is the default, though you can also use Internet Explorer if you're feeling masochistic. Zooming in or out is easy using the slider at the bottom of the screen but another surprise omission is the lack of any option to view web pages in landscape mode. It's excusable that there's no accelerometer on board, which could automatically flip the resolutions from portrait to landscape, but with no manual setting you're forced to view pages in portrait mode, even though most are more suitable for viewing in landscape. There’s the Mobile View setting, which is supposed to optimise web pages for display on mobile phone screens - basically, it crams all the links into a vertical stream. It helps, but it's only a stop gap.

Fortunately, video viewing is automatically offered in landscape mode, and HTC's YouTube app works very well indeed, when you can get a decent connection.

As you'd hope from a device with a limited spec, the battery life is quite good and gave us about two-and-a-half days of moderate use, which included leaving the Wi-Fi connected for most of the time. We've got no complaints about the call quality.

Verdict

Compared to previous Touch handsets, the Viva was always bound to come up wanting, though it's easy to see where the money has been saved. Unfortunately, some of the savings seem to undermine the Viva's strengths, which include a good browser - so it should really have 3G - and a better-than-average music player - but no earphones. A little bit more consideration of the Viva's strengths could have made for a much more satisfying handset. ®

Thanks to Expansys for the review sample

More Smartphone Reviews...


Palm Pré
video preview

Touch HD

BlackBerry Storm

Nokia N96

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

65%

HTC Touch Viva budget Windows Mobile smartphone

It's the cheapest Touch and it shows, but it's still got a few tricks to justify its bargain basement price.
Price: Contract: from free. Handset only: £240 RRP

More from The Register

next story
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars
Indian-owned Jag's latest offering curries favour with us
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
Xiaomi boss snaps back at Jony Ive's iPhone rival 'theft' swipe
I'll have a handset delivered. Judge us after you try us...
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.