A cheap Android phone for lovers of the iPhone's sleek exterior, T-Mobile's Vivacity comes at a much friendlier price tag: a mere £90 when purchasing a contract.  Don't be fooled, the Vivacity is by no means Android's version of the iPhone, but at first glance your mates may second guess your new smart phone purchase.  With a similar screen size, rounded corners, flat edges and the same appealing silver rim, the Vivacity is a shoo-in for the iPhone's doppelganger.  Perhaps the only way to tell the difference between the iPhone and T-Mobile's Vivacity is to have a good look, paired with the overall cheaper feel of the Android version, seeing as it's made entirely from plastic, rather than sturdy metal and glass.

A Stylish but Cheap Android Phone

Apple has long held its ground when it comes to successful device design, but T-Mobile and Android have teamed up to produce their own sleek interface.  The T-Mobile Vivacity is much lighter than the iPhone, weighing in at only 118g, which is a nod to the fact that it is built using lighter and cheaper materials.  iPhone fans will rejoice at the sleek styling of the Vivacity, as the 10.5mm width is plenty slim enough to slip into a pocket or handbag, and the bezel on the screen creates an attractive frame around the display.  Unfortunately the phone's appearance takes a step back when you glance at the back plate on the device, which is made of a shiny plastic that soon fills with fingerprints and smudges.  If it weren't for that lapse in design many people would be fooled into thinking you've purchased a much pricier device.  The good news is that the Vivacity feels quite sturdy despite the cheaper materials used to build it, which means users won't get the impression that they've purchased a flimsy smart phone.

With a 3.5 inch screen the T-Mobile Vivacity offers decent display real estate, although you won't be able to do a load of web browsing without quite a bit of scrolling around.  An 800X480 pixel resolution is pretty modest for any handset, however the screen appears surprisingly vibrant, and for the price it's quite shocking to find a pixel density of 267ppi.  Although the touch screen is moderately responsive, as with smaller devices typing can be a bit cramped.  With such limited screen real estate the Vivacity's touch screen keyboard leaves much to be desired, and if you prefer a larger keyboard you will most likely want to invest in a larger screen.  Above all, most user complaints were that the Vivacity did not have snappy response times, and touch screen scrolling came with considerable lags.  To be fair, the price tag on the Vivacity belies the lower end inner workings of the device, however if you're used to a more responsive display you probably won't be happy.

A Lovely Phone with a Tiny Engine

When purchasing a cheap Android Phoneyou must be prepared for a lower-end processor.  The T-Mobile Vivacity comes with only an 800MHz processor and 512MB of RAM, however those numbers are a bit standard as far as this price point is concerned.  While the processor won't compare to many dual and quad core phones, if you're looking to save some pennies then you're going to have to make a sacrifice somewhere.  For everyday tasks the Vivacity's processor should be plenty powerful, as long as you don't overburden it with an excessive number of downloaded apps.

Speaking of apps, T-Mobile's Vivacity comes loaded with Android's 2.3 Gingerbread, meaning you have full access to the Android Market to download any games or apps you desire.  That said, don't hold out hope for any updates to the operating system; the small stature of the processor limits the phone from downloading more recent Android systems (such as Ice Cream Sandwich).  As with all Android phones, you have the standard 5 home screens to fill with apps and widgets and can even link to your favourite web pages.  Additionally, the Vivacity features an app launcher at the bottom of the home screen that allows you to pull up the menu and list all of your apps in one handy grid. 

Like most smart phones, the Vivacity's camera is nothing exciting.  It comes with a standard 5 megapixel camera partnered with an LED flash, and takes decent photos.  Consumers reported a fair amount of lag time between autofocus and capturing photos, but this isn't terribly surprising considering the general limitations on cell phone camera quality.  One perk is the ease of use when transferring files from the phone to a computer; simply plug in the USB and you're ready to go.

T-Mobile's Perky Overlay

T-Mobile places its own skin on top of the Android OS, and as far as overlays are concerned it's fairly pleasing to the eye.  Unlike Orange's overlay, the T-Mobile skin is not at all dull, and adds some handy functionality to the phone.  On the home screen there is a convenient toolbar that gives you access to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and screen brightness settings, meaning you don't have to filter through any pesky menus to adjust common preferences.  An additional home screen features a Google search bar, a handy little tool for searching the web without first launching a browser.  Unlike many overlays T-Mobile has limited how extensively it interacts with the base Android operating system, a welcome change to some of the more clunky skins on the market.

T-Mobile's Vivacity may not be the most powerful Android phone on the market, but pairing its price tag with the sleek exterior makes for an easily marketable smart phone for users who don't want to spend a small fortune on a new device.  Overall the phone is attractive, easy to use, and won't break the bank, so if you're looking for an affordable, simplistic device, this is certainly the phone for you.