I nearly did a double take when lifting AT&T's HTC Vivid out of its cardboard box. It's one of the first HTC phones in a long time whose form looked cheap to my eyes.
Shiny black plastic all around with just a thin metal plate on the battery cover, the handset lacks the thoughtful build quality typical of most HTC phones, and very unlike recent phones like the HTC Rhyme, the Evo Design 4G, the Amaze 4G, and so on.
Now, perhaps this isn't exactly fair. After all, I argued with myself, doesn't substance triumph over style? And doesn't the Vivid have high-end hardware and software specs that deliver 4G LTE (in available cities), zippy dual-core processing, a good 8-megapixel camera, a front-facing camera, and so on? All with Android 2.3 Gingerbread and with HTC Sense 3.0. Yes, yes, it does, I admitted.
Moreover, the heavy use of glossy black plastic likely reduces the phone's cost, my brain told my gut, helping keep the cost pinned to the reasonable $200 mark. Indeed, it's a good phone that's reasonably priced for its features, and there are plenty of other high-end handsets that have rarely ventured into HTC's usual aesthetic territory and do more than fine.
Just keep in mind that if its that premium look and feel you're looking for, don't be surprised if that's the mark where the Vivid falls short. See video, photos, and learn about the pros and cons in the full HTC Vivid review.