Review compliments of Steve at Tracy and Matt’s Blog.
Following on from my last Acer review which I was fortunate enough to have spent some time with the Acer Liquid, this device appears to be as diverse as it can get in terms of specification and price, let alone the size.
Acer have recently released a couple of new budget handsets, the beTouch E101 which is a touchscreen only handset without 3G connectivity (the E100 has 3G) and this the beTouch E200 which has a sliding 12 numeric keypad. It’s also possibly one of the least expensive Windows Mobile 6.5 handset that you’ll find on the market. Other benefits of the Acer beTouch E200 include a 3 Megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.1 and integrated GPS receiver. So it would seem that although it’s cut price it’s not cut spec.
Is the Acer beTouch E200 a bargain not to be missed or definitely one to avoid?
On the top of the Acer is the back cover release button and the home for the really small and thin telescopic stylus, which when removed reveals a small reset button, similar to that on the HTC Touch Diamond.
To the left you can find the power button, volume up/down rocker and the open miniUSB housing.
The bottom of the E200 only has the microphone hole.
On the right hand side, there is only the dedicated camera button.
The back of the beTouch is home to the 3.2 megapixel fixed autofocus camera, with no portrait mirror and no flash, under which is a large handsfree speaker grill
At the sharp end is the 3" flush mounted WQVGA 230×320 pixel resistive touchscreen, above which is the earpiece.
When closed, below the screen is a call and end button flanking a 4 way navigation and selection central button.
Open the slider and this will reveal a 12 button embedded. white backlit, keypad.
- Cheap Windows 6.5 professional phone
- No 3.5mm jack
- Lack of Wifi
- Poor build quality
When removed from the box for the first time the Acer looks quite nice, the chrome style banding around the case and the slightly rubberised backing of the phone means that it is comfortable in the hand, not a heavy device, but in my opinion it is on the heavy side at 146 grams.
I did find that the ‘flush’ fitting WQVGA wasn’t quite as flush as I would have liked, there were a few edges that sat proud of the case which proved slightly annoying, also the quality of the buttons on the bottom of the phone are not the best I have seen over the years, sharp edges and a plastic feel let down the overall aesthetics for me.
The slider is solid and provides a satisfying click at either end of its travel, with very little lateral movement evident. That said, I really can’t see the point of it, the fact that the E200 has a touchscreen in place kind of made the keypad redundant, and I rarely used it at all, so the extra weight and thickness again for me seemed a little wasted. I am aware that people do like this style of device and also seeing that the Samsung Tocco Ultra has the same kind of attributes and appears popular, there is obviously a market for this style of device.
It is nice to see that Acer have left the UI alone apart from the inclusion of their home screen, which is customisable to allow you to add icons for your most used programmes. The first row being fixed and the second and subsequent rows adaptable.
WM 6.5 has been so unmolested that noticeable absences are YouTube and Google Maps, but these are easily downloaded and installed from the included ‘Marketplace’.
Once installed YouTube worked well as was easily watchable, obviously not to the same levels of the recent monster handsets that have been released, but useable nontheless.
The handset has no preinstalled navigation, but the downloaded and installed Google Maps where perfectly acceptable.
The day to day use of the phone was fine, the call quality of the Acer is very acceptable, I found it to be clear and loud, using the handsfree did not disappoint either.
The camera it has to be said is basic, at only 3.2 megapixels, it works and in the right light conditions wasn’t too bad at all, but generally it was adequate at best.
I find it strange that this phone is fitted with a miniUSB, with manufactures moving over to the microUSB, but I prefer this anyway, a shame that there is no separate 3.5mm jack to allow use of personal headphones, rather than the supplied miniUSB version.
The screen is not the best in several areas, I have already mentioned the fit, Matt also discussed the shininess of the screen in bright lights, (he never did conclude if there was a screen protector in place, I suspect it was the screen sitting higher?), the fact that it is WQVGA also works against it slightly, being only 320×240 megapixel, with the advent of the new generation of LED screens appearing, this screen appears lacklustre and not as bright and vibrant as many others around. Add to this that the rendering of web pages on the beTouch was OK, but with the small resolution took quite a bit of scrolling around to be able to read a full page. On a more positive note though is very responsive, meaning that scrolling and flicking around the OS is pleasant and easily done.
A definite mistake in my opinion was the omission, in this day and age, of WiFi, having become more and more reliant on wifi for such things as syncing with MyPhone, not to have it was a real problem, with data costs and limitations on certain call plans that are now available, this is probably the worst element of this phones specification that should not have been overlooked.
As you can probably tell this is in my opinion this is not one of the best phones that I have tested and reviewed, don’t get me wrong, as a cheap version of a quite highly spec’d device, the inclusion of Windows Mobile 6.5, GPS, quad band, HSDPA etc. means that the E200 is very useable, and I am sure that a lot of people will use and like the E200.
For me though the omission of WiFi and all the other small annoyances, together with the unpractical keypad really did put me off.
That said I have been spoiled lately with some super phones, and it is now obvious more than ever that you do get what you pay for and my parting comment would be that the E200 is probably a bit of a bargain for anyone wanting an entry level Windows Mobile handset.