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T-Mobile Vivacity vs Apple iPhone 4: Separated at birth?

Phones these days essentially look the same. With a few exceptions, all are basically variations on the humble oblong. Unless its a budget 12-key phone or a fashionable clamshell, a large touchscreen normally dominates the front of the phone.

If you’re lucky you might get some neat architectural trick, like the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc’s concave back, or the one piece jackets of HTC’s Sensation, Sensation XE and Titan. But for the most part, most phones are pretty much the same, looks-wise.

Then again, sometimes you get a couple of phones that look really similar. Here’s two such examples; the recently released, ZTE-made T-Mobile Vivacity and Apple’s iPhone 4/4S.

When we took the Vivacity out of it’s box we were immediately struck by its remarkable similarity to the 4/4S school of design.

On the surface, the T-Mobile Vivacity is a decent enough phone. Like it’s Everything Everywhere stablemate the Orange San Francisco II, it’s an Android phone that’ll do the basics and won’t cost the earth.

At £99.99 plus a £10 top up, its certainly occupying the same price strata as the San Fran II as well.

Aside from looks, how does it stack up against the iPhone 4? Here’s a quick spec-by-spec run down of the main points of similarity:

T-Mobile Vivacity

Dimensions: 115 x 58 x 11 mm

Screen size: 3.5-inches

Main camera: 5-megapixels, single LED flash

Front camera: VGA

Storage: 118MB available to user, expandable up to 32GB with microSD cards.

Connections: micro USB, 3.5mm audio jack

OS version: Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread, unconfirmed for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

Apple iPhone 4

Dimensions: 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3 mm

Screen size: 3.5-inches

Main camera: 5-megapixels, single LED flash

Front camera: VGA

Internal storage: Comes in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB editions

Connections: 30-pin port, 3.5mm audio jack

OS version: compatible with current latest version, iOS 5.0.1

Granted, this doesn’t take in to account the finer points; the Vivacity records at VGA video, the iPhone 4, 720p HD video, WVGA res vs Retina Display etc. Such are the pitfalls of glancing at a spec sheet and not delving any deeper.

A full on spec-for-spec teardown would be silly at any rate; the iPhone 4 would run rings around the Vivacity at every point. Except price.

At £110 on pay-as-you-go, we can see why the Vivacity is an attractive sell, compared to the £429 you’d need for an unlocked 8GB iPhone 4.

Before we publish our full review on the Vivacity, have a look at the two phones side by side. Separated at birth? Let us know in the comments.

The dimensions of these two phones are almost exactly the same. The Vivacity is slightly thicker at 11mm, compared to the iPhone 4’s 9.3mm waist. The headphone jacks and the power buttons are in the same place, the buttons are even the same shape.

The Vivacity’s WVGA (800 x 480) doesn’t look half bad crammed into 3.5-inches of space. It obviously can’t compete with the iPhone 4’s 960 x 540 Retina Screen, and the TFT LCD doesn’t have the IPS technology either. It’s not too shaby though, especially for £110.

The microUSB port of the Vivacity lives round on the left hand side, where the volume controls and screen lock switch of the iPhone 4 sit.

The Vivacity’s volume rocker is similar in shape and size to the micro SIM tray of the iPhone 4 and even positioning on the silver band on the side. It’s worth noting that the Vivacity’s edge is silvery plastic and not metal. The upshot of this is that the antenna is internal, so there’s no need to worry about death grip silliness.

Both phones have a single external speakers mounted at the bottom. The Vivacity’s speaker grille is up on the top and on the left here; on the back of the phone itself. The iPhone 4’s speaker is bottom right; the other ‘speaker grille’ is just for show.

Even the camera modules are in the same place; top left on the back. Both of these cameras are 5-megapixel deals supported by a single LED flash. As we said before, the iPhone 4’s camera is better at recording video. It also features an HDR option that came with the iOS 4.1 update.

The Vivacity’s camera app is the standard Gingerbread one, which gives you a handful of fun filter effects (negative, mono, sepia) and mess around with exposure and ISO levels.