Trending December 2023 # Fotor Review; Fast And Simple Online Photo Editing # Suggested January 2024 # Top 20 Popular

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In the age of the internet, many complex tools are now available for nearly every kind of digital work. Long gone are the days where an exceptional set of technical knowledge was required for creating a digital masterpiece. That being said, online photo editors are gaining a new sense of popularity among users.

While Adobe Creative Suite has been the most popular choice for photo and video editing since they moved on to the subscription-based model the popularity has taken a hit. Online photo editors are gaining traction because of this, as users can quickly apply simple modifications for free.

With new tools being developed regularly, creating a digital masterpiece is becoming easier day by day. Fotor is one such online photo editor that packs in a ton of tools, which makes it a perfect choice for both simple and complex photo editing.

While Fotor is available in a browser-based online version, there is also a dedicated Windows app that can be used to extend the same functions locally onto your desktop.

Let us take a deeper look into the things we liked and disliked, which you help you decide if you should use Fotor.

One of the strongest features of Fotor is the sheer number of tools that are available for use. Whatever may be the type of editing work that you need, Fotor has the tool available for it. When you sign into Fotor, you will be presented with three basic options: Edit, Collage, and Design.

Each of these options has a plethora of tools within them, each for a different purpose. Inside Edit, you can drag or upload a local file, and then use the tools available to tune the image to your liking.

The design tool deserves a special mention, just for the fact that the tool is curated carefully for each different purpose. When we decided to use Fotor to create a sample Instagram page, the canvas was automatically snapped to 1080×1080 pixels, which is the format supported by Instagram. Similarly, YouTube thumbnails are automatically created in 1280X720 pixels.

While this may not seem exactly a huge feature, this eliminates the need to crop the image later for a quick editing session. However, you also have the option to create a design in custom size.

In the desktop version of Fotor, there is RAW conversion support. For photographers who choose to shoot in RAW, you can import your RAW files and start editing almost immediately. Hence, Fotor is an excellent alternative to Lightroom for RAW conversion.

Note: you require the Pro version of Fotor for RAW conversion.

Photoshop and Gimp are extremely powerful photo editors. However, they have a learning curve attached to them, as you will have to spend a significant amount of time learning all the features. However, with online photo editors like Fotor, all you need to do is explore and adjust some sliders.

All the options are fairly easy to access, with the basic adjustment tools in the Basic tool, Crop and Rotate tool, Color correction tool, a Curves tool, etc. You will be able to fine-tune your image without much effort in almost no time.

There are a few things that come into the mind while using Fotor, that has scope for improvement.

First, the RAW conversion is limited to the native version, and you cannot upload RAW or NEF files online. Also, you will need the pro version of the app for the same.

Secondly, any premium features that you use will leave a pan-image watermark. A smaller watermark would work the same without destroying the quality of the image.

The curves tool is extremely difficult to use, even if you have some idea about how the curves work. It took us quite a while to get the curves right while editing a sample image, with the curves going crazy and registering incorrect inputs.

You may argue that Photoshop and GIMP pack in many more features, and you are correct. However, there are way more features than what you would ideally use, and using a heavy tool for a quick edit may be too much. That is exactly what Fotor is trying to accomplish, and quite successfully to be honest. With the bare minimum features, Fotor is one of the best online photo editors that you can use for a quick editing session.

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Ilovepdf: Free Online Pdf Editing Tools

PDF is the most widely used document format these days, and very often we face situations where we want to perform simple tasks like merging or splitting PDFs, but our common PDF readers are not able to do so just because they are not meant to edit PDF files rather they are here to let you read those files. Let me introduce you to iLovePDF which brings to you a set of online tools that lets you merge, split, compress, unlock, watermark, rotate PDF files, and convert PDF to Word, PowerPoint, Excel, JPG files instantly on the go.

iLovePDF Online PDF Editing Tools

There are various tools included in the complete set, each of which is discussed in the post below.

Merge PDF

The tool lets you merge two more PDF files into one PDF file. You can upload the files in the order you want them to be merged, or you can simply drag and organize them as you want.

Split PDF

As the name suggests, the tool lets you split the PDF file and take the desired pages out of it. You can create split ranges by mentioning the range of page numbers and then you also merge all the splits into one file automatically.

Compress PDF

The compression tool lets you optimally reduce the size of a PDF file without affecting its quality. There are three levels of compression available, namely Extreme, Recommended and Low compression.

Convert PDF to Word

The conversion tool lets you convert a PDF file to a WORD document. The conversion quality is so good that you’ll hardly notice any changes and the WORD document will be exactly similar to its PDF counterpart.

PDF files can be converted to a POWERPOINT presentation where each page of PDF will represent the content for one slide of the presentation.

Convert PDF to Excel

EXCEL converter works like a charm too, given that your PDF files contain tables and data that can be really converted to EXCEL file.

Convert Word to PDF

Converts WORD documents to a PDF format which is the best format to share a file over the internet or email.

Convert PowerPoint to PDF

Similarly, converts POWERPOINT presentations to a PDF format where each slide of presentation accounts for one page of the PDF file.

Convert Excel to PDF Convert PDF to JPG

This tool converts each page of the PDF file into a JPG image and also lets you separately extract the images out of a PDF file.

Convert JPG to PDF

You can create a PDF file from a set of JPG image files. You can easily choose their orientation and also choose a margin. You can upload the images in order or re-order them once they are uploaded.

This amazing tool lets you add page numbers to your PDF file. Page Numbers can be either added to a single page or facing pages. You can choose the location of the page number on the page and also specify a range of pages where you want to insert page numbers. Moreover, you can choose a font and also specify its size and also choose the format for page numbers.

You can insert text-based or image-based watermarks to a PDF file. You can adjust the font and its size. Moreover, you can choose an appropriate position for your watermark and also rotate the watermark to some common angles.

Unlock PDF

This tool can be used to remove the security from PDF files and free them from passwords and any other security.

Rotate PDF

You can rotate the PDFs to the proper orientation. The tool automatically detects and rotates the PDFs to the proper orientation.

All the converted PDF files are available to download from iLovePDF servers for approximately an hour or so. If you choose to register for service then you get some extra features like 2 hours of storage and other powerful features inside the tools for free. You can even opt for a paid account which again introduces more features and benefits. iLovePDF is a great set of tools and can be easily accessed when you are on the go.

This post will show you how to remove Password from PDF.

Htc U11 Life Review: The Simple Life

Our Verdict

Overall, the HTC U11 Life is a solid mid-range phone. Design and specs are largely decent for the price – especially getting 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM as standard. Meanwhile Android One keeps software clean and simple if that’s what you’re after. This, and Edge Sense, are the main reasons to buy this phone over rivals but there’s strong competition. At the same price, the Moto X4 has better cameras and a bigger battery if those things are important. A little more will get you the even better Honor 9 and the outstanding OnePlus 5T isn’t much more than that.

As well as announcing a bigger and better version of it’s flagship phone, HTC has also effectively launched the smaller and cheaper U11 Mini. Here’s our full HTC U11 Life review.

Mini versions of phones have all but gone away with only really Sony offering this type of device with, most recently, the Xperia XZ1 Compact.

The HTC U11 Life isn’t quite the same deal in terms of specs but offers some of the flagship’s design and features in a mid-range handset. It’s a bit like the HTC U Play but with some U11 bits and pieces thrown in. Read about both new HTC phones  here.

The U11 Life has now be replaced with the U12 Life.


With the HTC U11+ priced at £649, it’s unsurprising if it’s the kind of phone which is appealing but simply out of your budget. The cost of smartphones has gone up a lot in the last year or so.

With that in mind, the HTC U11 Life price of just £349 is very affordable, making it very much a mid-range effort – you can pre-order now. It’s impressive that in the UK, that price gets you the higher spec model. See below for details.

Whether or not it can compete with great value phones like the £379 Honor 9 is another question, though. There’s also the Motorola Moto X4 which comes in at £349.

If you can stretch, the excellent OnePlus 5T is just £449 – amazing value for money for what you get.

Design and build

The best way to think about the U11 Life is a mini version of the U11. It looks very similar in style but in a more manageable size so if even a phone like the original U11 is too big, then the Life version might suit.

We like the look and feel of the U11 Life, it’s an attractive mid-range phone. HTC has used the same design language from the flagship so it’s got a striking curved shape.

This time, though, the rear cover is made from acrylic instead of glass. The colour still looks good, particularly the Sapphire Blue option, but it doesn’t feel as luxurious or expensive.

That’s understandable but the phone still feels nice in the hand and the acrylic is offers much more grip compared to glass and is more likely to fare well in an accidental drop. It might look lovely in our photos but the back is extremely susceptible to fingerprint marks and smudges.

We’d also understand no waterproofing at this price point but the U11 Life is IP67 like its bigger brother. The Moto X4 is slightly better with IP68.

At the front things are fairly standard with regular sized bezels which below the screen make room for navigation buttons and a fingerprint scanner that’s also the home button.

A key feature from the flagship U11 is Edge Sense – pressure sensors on the side of the phone as another way of interaction. This didn’t blow us away in our U11 review but can now be programmed to do whatever you want – zoom on Google Maps, turn a page on the Kindle app etc.

It can be handy but is probably one of those thing you’ll either use every day or simply forget about – and you won’t know until you try it.

Overall, this is an impressive start for a £349 phone.

Specs and features

Although we’re impressed with the design of the U11 Life, it’s the specs on offer that really show why it’s a lot cheaper than the flagship U11.


The display is a bit smaller than the U11 at 5.2in and the resolution drops to Full HD. That’s understandable for the price tag and the screen looks perfectly acceptable for a mid-ranger.

The screen looks bright and crisp with nice colour reproduction too. This all matches rivals so this is as good as you’re going to get for this price range.

It’s not very exciting but that’s what you get in the mid-range so would be a key reason to spend the extra £100 on the OnePlus 5T.

Processor, memory and storage

There are various differences when it comes to the internals that help HTC achieve a lower price point. Starting with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, a mid-tier processor.

Again, it’s an understandable choice and the U11 Life appears to runs pretty smoothly on the Android One system – see software below for details on what that means.

There’s either 3GB of RAM with 32GB of storage but for the asking price, we get 4/64GB as standard in the UK which is impressive. There’s also a microSD card slot should you need to add more.

As you can see in the benchmark results, the U11 Life performs almost the same as the Moto X4 which has the same processor. If you can afford the Honor 9 things jump up nicely so might be worth it and we’ve put the OnePlus 5T in to show you what’s available if you can jump £100.

Note that we tested the 32/3GB model rather than the higher spec model which you’ll get as standard so we’d expect it to outpace the Moto X4 at the same price point.


There might not be HTC’s BoomSound speakers here but there are still some features for audio fans.

A lack of headphone jack is a bit of a shame but HTC includes its USonic headphones in the box which use USB-C. There’s also an adapter should you want to use a set of cans with a regular 3.5mm jack.

We’re not blown away buy the personalised audio tech in the USonic headphones, but they’re way better than what you’d normally get with a phone this price – if any at all.

For such a cheap phone, it’s great to see the U11 Life supports 24-bit Hi-Res audio playback.


Like the HTC U Play, the U11 Life has a 16Mp camera instead of the UltraPixel 3 found on the U11. It’s got an f/2.0 aperture, HDR Boost and can even record video in 4K – not bad for a pretty cheap phone.

For a phone this cheap, you can get some impressive results from the camera. There’s good detail and colour on offer here if you’re shooting in favourable conditions. The U11 Life isn’t so great in low light, though.

That’s about what we’d expect for this price and we like the simple and easy to use camera app which has a Pro mode should you want to dabble. The Moto X4, we feel, is a bit better for photography if this is top priority.

At the front is also a decent 16Mp camera with f/2.0 and HDR Boost. It’s limited to 1080p video, though.

Check out our sample photos in the gallery below:

Battery Life

Inside the U11 Life is a 2600mAh battery, not too much smaller than the 3000mAh one found in the U11. You’ll need to charge over USB-C and the phone supports Quick Charge 3.0.

We’ve found the battery life on the U11 Life to be fairly good, but nothing special. The phone will last a day with normal usage but is unlikely to on a day where it’s relied upon a lot. Luckily the fast charging with supplied charger will get you 38 percent in 30 minutes in our test.

HTC U11 Life Software

When it comes to software the U11 Life comes with Android 8.0 Oreo. Getting the latest version is great but it’s also an Android One phone, as the logo on the back shows.

This means that instead of coming with the HTC Sense interface, it’s pure stock Android. You’re getting a device like a Pixel 2, without any additional apps and all the handy Google things like Assistant.

You also get monthly security patches for up to three years and guaranteed OS updates for two years.

Having stock Android means you don’t get things like the handy app wheel found on the U11+, but the phone does have Edge Sense so you can squeeze it to do various things. It’s one of the key reasons to buy this phone over rivals but it’s not for everyone.

Specs HTC U11 Life: Specs

Android 8.0 Oreo (Android One)

5.2in Full HD LCD screen (1920×1080)

Qualcomm Snapdragon 630


32/64GB storage

Micro-SD card slot

16Mp rear camera with phase-detection auto focus

16Mp front camera

Fingerprint scanner

USB Type-C

Edge Sense

Non-removable 2600mAh battery





How To Make Video Online – Merge Pictures Into Simple Videos

This article will show you how to make videos online using the free online application – FlexClip video maker. With lots of beautiful image effects, music, and text animations, you can combine photos into a complete video easily.

What is FlexClip?

FlexClip is an easy-to-use online video maker that helps you to combine photos and videos in a hassle-free way. Developed by PearlMountain, a famous multimedia software developer, FlexClip has helped lots of people create outstanding videos for both business and personal purposes.

You can use FlexClip to turn your photos into amazing online videos for your friends, close friends, siblings other than your grandfather, family members on special day and bring them a meaningful message.

Related: – Video Testimonials Strategies to Get More Customers

How to use FlexClip to create videos from photos?

Step 1: Visit the FlexClip website here: flexclip

Step 2: The website interface is shown as below. To start the video creation work, select “Get Started – Free” and log in with Facebook/Google or create an account using your email.

Step 4: You can select a template for your photo video creation. There are many topics you may need and use for each purpose, such as creating albums for children, online shops, party, wedding, travel, holidays, etc.

Step 5: After that, you will be transferred to the editing canvas. With an intuitive and straightforward interface, you can add photos, music, texts, and effects easily and quickly.

Add text: Add text to the image and feel free to change the font, color, size.

Add song: Add your music or choose from the music stock library in the app.

Add voiceover: Record your own voice over the video.

Add transition: Add a transition between different segments.

Add photo animation: Apply the animation you like to your photos.

Related: – WonderFox HD Video Converter Factory Pro Review &Tutorials

So you guys have finished combining images into an online video in a free and simple way. FlexClip is a pretty good application that people can use to do a lot of other things.


If you are busy with work or can not find a satisfactory style, but you really need a video in a short time, you can use an on-demand video making service like FlexClip to help you do that. I am sure that you will enjoy using this all-in-one video-making services on the market.



Gerrard is a technology geek who likes all types of new technology and writes articles about how-to, tips & tricks. Her greatest pleasure is to share creative ideas to inspire others.

Dell New Xps 13 Review: It’s Elegant, Tiny And Stupidly Fast

Dell’s New XPS 13 is slightly thinner, slightly lighter and a whole lot faster. With higher performance cooling, this Core i5 is easily as fast or faster than many Core i7 laptops. Add to it a Windows Hello camera, luxurious Alpine White keyboard deck and great battery life and you have a laptop that still sets the bar for how its done.

Dell made a bold statement when it claimed its completely redesigned New XPS 13 would be among the fastest laptops in its class, if not the fastest. After finally laying our hands on the New XPS 13, we’d have to officially declare that Dell ain’t just trash-talking.

But that’s not all. There’s way more to this redesigned XPS 13 that’s worthy of your attention.

Adam Patrick Murray

The New XPS 13 (top) is slightly thinner than the previous XPS 13 (bottom.)

New XPS 13 price and specs

The New XPS 13 Dell submitted for review is the $1,200 mid-range model. For the most part, this is the best bang-for-the-buck of the New XPS 13 laptops (though we’ll parse out the other models below). Our review unit’s specs include:

Quad-core Intel 8th-gen Core i5-8250U CPU

8GB of LPDDR3/1866 in dual-channel mode

Samsung 256GB PM961 NVMe SSD

13.3-inch 1920×1080 IPS screen

Killer 1435 802.11ac 2×2 wireless

52-watt-hour battery

The laptop measures 11.9 inches wide by 7.8 inches deep. Dell officially puts the tapered body at 7.8mm to 11.6mm thick. Our calipers put it closer to 16.6mm at its widest, but the disparity comes down to just where you decide to measure it.That’s still a reduction from the previous versions’s 19mm.

For weight, our scale put the New XPS 13 at 2 pounds, 10 ounces. Add its newer, smaller USB-C Power Delivery power brick (also in white), and it’s about 3 pounds, 2.2 ounces.

Adam Patrick Murray

The webcam moves from the far left side of the screen to the center and adds Windows Hello biometric face sign-in.

Oh, that webcam

One noticeable change is the location of the webcam. The previous model put it in the lower left corner, which was better for viewing your left hand as you typed rather than your face. The New XPS 13 moves it to the middle but it remains low, which may annoy some users. On the other hand, we appreciate the long-overdue inclusion of an IR camera that supports Windows Hello face logins. Dell also embeds a fingerprint reader in to the power button.

Adam Patrick Murray

Dell says the Alpine White version of the New XPS 13 is very resistant to stains and yellowing from UV light. The keys are also slightly larger, which we appreciate.

XPS 13 trackpad and keyboard quality

Although it looks the same, Dell has also improved the keyboard in the one area where the previous was lacking: size. While we always thought the travel was decent, the keys just felt a little cramped and small. The new version increases the key size about 1mm from 14.8mm to 15.8mm. It’s enough, for our fat nubs anyway, to feel a lot less cramped while typing.

Adam Patrick Murray

The New XPS 13 gives you USB-C, microSD, and headphone ports on its right side, stepping up from the previous model’s SD, USB-A and Noble lock port. The microSD sits flush enough so you could leave a card in there permanently.

XPS 13 ports: Controversy or not?

One area that’s likely to make people unhappy is the port selection. On the right side you get an analog audio port, a USB-C port and microSD port. The microSD port, we should mention, will hide all but 1mm of the card, so you could leave a card in for secondary storage if you wanted. The left side features a Noble lock port and two 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 ports (an upgrade from the 20Gbps versions on the older model). 

Adam Patrick Murray

The right of the New XPS 13 (top) gives you a Noble lock port and two Thunderbolt 3 ports. Compare that to the dedicated charger port, Thunderbolt 3, headphone port and—sniff—square USB-A on the previous model (bottom).

If you noticed the lack of a square USB-A port, you’re not alone. Perhaps inspired by a certain Cupertino-based company’s success in taking things away from people, Dell follows suit. Frankly, it’s a big bummer. Consider that once you’ve plugged in the USB-C charger and an external monitor (after you’ve purchased a USB-C to HDMI or DisplayPort adapter), you’re left with only a single USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port.

Sure, you could buy a USB-C dongle or a Thunderbolt 3 monitor that does charging, USB and other nifty things, but that’s spending money. Dell also includes a matching USB-A to USB-C port dongle that we suspect most will lose within two minutes of opening the box.

Adam Patrick Murray

The New XPS 13 and its 8th-gen Core i5 is faster than the previous 8th-gen XPS 13 in multi-core tasks.

New XPS 13 Performance

Dell outfitted the New XPS 13 with dual fans and dual heat pipes (the previous model uses just a single-fan and single-heat pipe). You can see the beefier cooling in the image below.

Dan Masaoka

The New XPS 13 features beefier cooling to keep the 8th-gen quad-core Core i5 running at top speed. And yes, there is an industry standard M.2 that could in theory be upgraded later *cough* Apple.

The cooling works, too. We used Intel’s XTU CPU stress test on the New XPS 13 for 45 minutes, and the XPS 13 ran between 3GHz and 3.3GHz. The previous XPS 13 stuck to 2.4GHz to 2.8GHz for the same run. XTU also shows that Dell has the New XPS 13’s chip set to run basically at 25 watts for most of the time, while the previous model had a limit of 15 to 17 watts.


Cinebench R15 performance

Our first performance test is Cinebench R15, which we ran in both single-threaded and multi-threaded modes. This 3D-rendering task is indicative of the kind of performance you might see from modern applications that truly use all of the CPU cores, such as content creation. Single-core or single-threaded performance might be indicative of more mundane tasks, such as  Microsoft Word or Google Chrome, or other applications that rely more on higher single-core speed.


No matter how you cool it, a Core i5 that is set to a lower maximum clock speed won’t beat a Core i7 that can run at a higher clock speed. 


HandBrake Performance

In the age of dual-core laptops, we never considered HandBrake a true performance test, but as more of a thermal torture test. With today’s ultrabooks packing quad-core chips, we expect people to do content creation creation tasks that used to be left to larger, heavier laptops.

The result of this harsher test shows a close tie between the New XPS 13 and the previous XPS 13 design. The thing to remember is the New XPS 13 is a Core i5, while the previous-gen XPS 13 is a Core i7. Compare the New XPS 13’s score to the score from the Acer Swift 3, a somewhat larger 14-inch laptop with a similar Core i5-8250 in it. It’s no contest.


Our HandBrake test challenges the cooling capabilities of the laptops. 

New XPS 13 Gaming Performance

When it comes to gaming performance, Intel integrated graphics is integrated graphics. The good is that you can truly play some games if you have realistic expectations on the IGP. The New XPS 13  comes out in front, but not by much. Notice, too, that 7th-gen laptops in this chart keep up surprisingly well. 


New XPS 13 general performance


If all you do is push a browser, edit documents or do some videoconferencing, pay no attention to the CPU.

XPS 13 Battery Life

For the New XPS 13,  Dell actually had to reduce the battery capacity from the previous model’s 60 watt-hours to 52 watt-hours to accommodate the additional fans and thinner body.

If 15 percent sounds like a lot, it is. Dell claims optimizations elsewhere in the laptop mostly make up for it. To test it, we played a 4K video file using Windows 10’s Movies & TV player while the laptop was in airplane mode, with a pair of earbuds attached. The screen brightness was set to a moderately bright 250 to 260 nits, and we basically ran it from full until dry.

Dell’s claim, at least in our test, turned out to be true. Both the New XPS 13 and the previous gen lasted about 12.5 hours, meaning the new model does the same with less. We do want to note that video rundown tests in the age of modern CPUs are a cakewalk. Web browsing is actually more of a battery drain, but that’s a hard test to replicate for comparability.


Despite its smaller battery, the new XPS 13 actually lasts about as long as the previous generation did.


If you really want to be amazed, we also compared it to larger, heavier 15-inch quad-core laptops, and it’s just as impressive. In the chart below you can see the New XPS 13 is performing awfully close to the Dell XPS 15, with its much hotter Core i7-6700HQ, and actually outperforms the Lenovo Yoga 720 15 with a Core i7-7700HQ in it. That’s simply crazy, and it says much about what Dell was able to do with one of the smallest 13-inch laptops in town.


The tiny New XPS 13 is fast enough to compete with larger 15-inch laptops with 45-watt quad-core CPUs in them!

Which XPS 13 we’d buy

When we wrote our review, Dell was offering four versions of the New XPS 13:

$999, Core i5-8250U, 4GB LPDDR3/1866, 128GB SSD, 1080p screen

$1,199, Core i5-8250U, 8GB LPDDR3/1866, 256GB NVMe SSD, 1080p screen

$1,399, Core i7-8550U, 8GB LPDDR3/1866, 256GB NVMe SSD, 1080p screen

$1,999, Core i7-8550U, 16GB LPDDR3/1866, 512GB NVMe SSD, 4K touchscreen

So which would we buy? That’s easy: The one we just reviewed, and here’s why. This Core i5 is so fast, we’re not really sure the Core i7 is going to get us enough to truly  justify its $200 price increase. If Dell sweated that deal with a 512GB NVMe SSD we might change our mind, but it’s probably going to be pretty tough to justify. We admit we haven’t seen how it performs but it really feels like you should get something else for that $200.

We’re also unlikely to be that interested in the 4K version. Although having the larger SSD is a big bonus, few users need 16GB of RAM in a tiny laptop. That 4K panel will eat into battery life, too, so for us at least, we can’t justify it.

In the end, the almost-perfect New XPS 13 is the one you see right before your eyes. Add touch, a 512GB SSD (maybe for $1,300), and, well, a square USB-A port, and you’d reach nirvana

Adam Patrick Murray

Htc Vivid Review: Gorgeous Display, Fast Data Speeds

With its large and lovely display and fast LTE speeds, the HTC Vivid is an excellent phone for watching movies or playing games—but watch that battery.

HTC delivered the first LTE phone on Verizon, the HTC Thunderbolt, and now, the smartphone maker is testing the AT&T LTE waters with the HTC Vivid ($200 with a two-year contract; price as of 12/23/11). The Vivid is a solid additionto AT&T LTE with super fast data speeds, a gorgeous display, and a solid camera. Quick-draining battery life over 4G still seems to be a bit of an issue, however, and the HTC Sense overlay doesn’t exactly give you a pure Android experience.

The Vivid doesn’t exactly stand out in a sea of rectangular all-black smartphones: Its face is dominated by its 4.5-inch display with a shiny black bezel around it. The battery cover is a matte plastic with “HTC” engraved on it. Measuring 5.07 inches long by 2.64 inches wide by 0.44 inches thick, the Vivid is a bit on the beefy side, especially when you compare it to the Galaxy S II phones (0.33 inches thick), the Razr (0.28 inches) or the iPhone 4S (0.37 inches). Below the display, you’ll find the usual touch-sensitive navigation buttons: Home, Menu, Back and Search.

Despite the uninspired design, the qHd display on the Vivid lives up to the phone’s name. Images and video look great with bright colors and crisp details. The 4.5-inch real estate is plenty large enough for playing games and watching full length movies. In bright sunlight, however, the display fades a bit, making it hard to see.

Android Gingerbread with HTC Sense

We’ve written quite a bit about Android 2.3 and the HTC Sense overlay, but I’ll cover the basics here. The Vivid runs the latest version of Sense, which can also be found on the HTC Sensation and the HTC EVO 3D. The Sense user interface has a new customizable lock screen. You can pick a theme for your lock screen (the phone offers quite a few to choose from) and then select four apps that you visit most frequently. When you turn on your phone, you’ll see those four apps at the bottom of the screen. To unlock the screen, you drag the circle into position over an app’s icon, at which point you’ll jump straight to that app. As a result, you don’t have to go through multiple menus to reach your e-mail or other items that you access regularly.

You also have access to HTC Watch, a movie and TV streaming service. Other preloaded apps include NFS Shift game (which seems to be on every single smartphone these days), Qik, Polaris Office, HTC Places, HTC Hub, Amazon Kindle, and your usual clutch of AT&T-branded apps (Navigator, myAT&T, etc.).

The Vivid is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm APQ8060 Snapdragon processor. We ran the Qualcomm-developed Vellamo benchmarking app, on which the HTC Vivid got a score of 742. Interestingly, this puts the Vivid just below the single-core HTC Thunderbolt. For comparison, the Galaxy Nexus earned a score of 803 and the Droid Razr got a score of 1040. We haven’t yet run our in-house benchmarks on the Vivid, but will update this review when we do.

I detected some sluggishness in the software, however, as I was doing my testing. While pages loaded quickly in the browser, switching between portrait to landscape mode was a bit slower than I expected.

Call quality over AT&T’s network in San Francisco was consistently good. I had consistent reception everywhere I went in the city. My friends on the other end of the line said that my voice sounded loud enough, but a bit hollow. My friends sounded natural and clear with an ample amount of volume, though.

We haven’t conducted our formal battery tests, but I could tell that there was a significant strain on the battery when I was connected to 4G. This was particularly evident while I was playing Minecraftor streaming a long video via HTC Watch. We’ll update this review when our lap testing is complete.

The Vivid has an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording support. HTC has really stepped up its game when it comes to cameras; the Amaze and the T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide both produced stunning photos. I was pleased to see that the Vivid is in the same league. The photos I shot outdoors had bright and, er, vivid colors while my indoor photos had sharp detail.

The videos I shot with the Vivid weren’t nearly as good. Colors looked oversaturated and there was a bit of artifacting. It also didn’t handle motion very well. As you can see in my test video below, the cars stutter a bit as they go by.

Bottom Line

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