The messaging menu features a dazzling array of options, from regular SMS, to an email inbox, an SMS conversations view (which shows your messages in threaded conversation format) and a range of granular message settings.

It may seem like a bit much at first, but once you are used to the layout, it's really convenient to have all that messaging paraphernalia in one obvious place.

Sony ericsson vivaz

We can't fathom why the standard SMS inbox does not just use the conversations layout, though - instead it makes you look at the 'normal' inbox and then scroll through the menus to view the conversation in the threaded view.

Setting up email on the Sony Ericsson Vivaz is basically painless. We set up a Gmail account and, after inputting the account name and password, the handset did most of the hard work for us, with the email list presented simply.

Setting up Exchange email was relatively easy too and didn't take long to sync with the server, but does require you to input the settings manually.

Push email isn't configured by default (although you can schedule the phone to update at specified times) so the inbox only refreshes when it is physically opened – not ideal if you expect instant real-time email.

Sony ericsson vivaz

Typing isn't too heinous a task, despite the resistive touchscreen which we've struggled with on handsets like the Sony Ericsson Satio.

The screen is quite slim, so it's easier to opt for the landscape QWERTY layout - although the number pad layout coupled with predictive text does a passable job too.

Sony ericsson vivaz

There is no autocorrect function, which is a real annoyance for minor mistakes. Of course, you can opt to use the stylus - but sorry, we're not in 1995 any more and this isn't a PDA.

If you MUST use the stylus, there is a mini-QWERTY option which squeezes the whole keyboard into the width of the vertical screen position – really too small to use unless you're blessed with 20:20 vision or a really good magnifying glass (and third hand).

Sony ericsson vivaz

As with all stylus-bearing phones, we find it a fiddle to rummage around for another piece of equipment when all we want to do is send a quick message - we're not sure why Sony Ericsson is persisting down this route on a high end phone.