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As it stands, Verizon has the edge when it comes to 4G LTE in the United States.  Since December 2010, the service has launched in 165 cities, and covers over 186 million Americans.  AT&T's entering the game a bit late, but they're hitting the ground running with the HTC Vivid and Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket.  Both run on AT&T's LTE network, both are high-end Android devices, and both are launching this Sunday, along with four new LTE markets.  AT&T's flagship service will cover Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Athens (GA), Baltimore, and Washington, DC, with an additional six markets to come by the end of the year.

I've worked with the HTC Vivid for about 24 hours, and though it may seem like "just another Android device," it offers some unique features that distinguishes it in AT&T's existing lineup.  Plus, it's $199.99 with a two-year agreement; surprising, considering rival Verizon's $299.99 price point for LTE devices.

Is it the best 4G LTE device ever?  Here's what I've found so far:

  • Vivid packs a 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon CPU, and while it's the same clock speed as the HTC EVO 3D (though it's from a different processor family), it seems to run without any lag or random slowdowns.  I've put it through its paces, and from downloading apps to doing graphics-intensive tasks, it has handled everything smoothly.

  • The phone offers a 4.5-inch qHD display with colors that are vibrant and rich.  Despite the large display size, Vivid's aspect ratio of 540x960 makes it deceptively narrow and much easier to hold in the hand than the similarly-spec'd Galaxy S II Skyrocket.  
  • It ships with Android 2.3 along with HTC Sense 3.0, so you won't see anything particularly new here.  It offers the same great personalization options, along with access to HTC Hub and HTC Likes so you can download custom wallpapers, themes, skins, and more.
  • HTC Vivid's 8-megapixel camera isn't going to win any awards (particularly in comparison to the Amaze 4G's shooter), but it takes decent pictures provided the light is acceptable.  I've been reasonably impressed with the 1080p video quality, though the audio needs some work.

  • I've made a few phone calls in both the New York City and Charlotte metro areas, and I've been pretty impressed with call quality.  Callers had no problem hearing me, and quality was good on my end as well, with an earpiece that's nice and loud.
  • While I haven't had time to perform full battery tests, longevity may be an issue.  I charged the device prior to leaving JFK yesterday evening, and when I woke up this morning - with NO use - it was at 33 percent.  Considering the phone hadn't been used at all, it's a major concern that I'll monitor through the review process.

Overall, HTC Vivid appears to be a capable smartphone, regardless of whether you're in an area that has 4G LTE or not.  Check out the unboxing video below, and stay tuned for more!


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