Look and feel
The Acer S500 CloudMobile isn’t the most stylish phone, with a rather corporate, masculine look, but it feels good in the hand and the textured back helps grip.
Ease of Use
Some bits such as the Acer Cloud and the contacts menu are quite fiddly to use. Android Ice Cream Sandwich packs some great features but we’d like to see Jelly Bean.
The 4.3-inch HD screen is beautifully sharp and colourful, while the quality of the external speakers is strong. Acer Cloud seems superfluous given the number of Cloud services available.
The dual-core processor does a good job of running Android, and the S500 CloudMobile never struggled.
You’ll get around a day of use from each charge.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,11/26/2012 11:21:28 AM
Ease of use
• Fast and Fluid;
• Great sound quality;
• High quality HD screen;
• Ideal for video;
• Feels good in the hand
• Contacts not easy to use;
• Cloud system redundant;
• Lacks style;
• Battery life
The Acer CloudMobile S500 is Acer’s latest attempt to make a smash in the smartphone market, featuring a built-in cloud feature called AcerCloud for storing photos, music, videos and documents wirelessly and simultaneously on your PC and other Android devices. Sadly, although we like the phone itself, the Cloud features are not easy to use and there are better alternative Cloud services available...
The S500 isn’t the most stylish phone ever, being more of a plain premium sensible device rather than a cool party animal, although we like the curved edges. The black and silver finish is a little corporate looking, but at least the textured back feels great in the hands and business people will feel right at home. Specifically businessmen, as it’s quite a masculine design. That textured finish makes the S500 easy to grip and the phone feels secure in the palm of your hand, proving a real snug fit.
With dimensions of 127 x 65.8 x 9.9mm, the S500 CloudMobile is a decent size for playing one-handed and not too imposing, considering it's packing a 4.3-inch screen. The S500 CloudMobile isn’t the thinnest phone around, coming in at more than 2mm thicker than the iPhone 5, but somehow it doesn't feel chunky.
The lack of buttons on the front also helps to give it a more compact build – in fact, apart from the narrow speaker band and front-facing camera at the top, the only other distinguishing feature on the front is the Acer brand at the bottom. You’ll only find two buttons on the edges too: the power button on top, and the volume rocker on the side. Even the minimalistic iPhone has more buttons, making the front of this handset all screen. While the lack of a physical home button can be a bit jarring at first, you quickly get used to it, and it's likely to be a design decision made by more and more handsets going forward, since recent Android builds don't require one.
On the back of the phone you’ll find an 8MP camera lens near the top and an impressive hands-free speaker featuring Dolby Mobile 3 audio, making this handset loud and clear when streaming HD music videos. The sound quality was impressive, both clear and crisp.
A little indent in the back cover enables you to pull it straight off, and underneath you'll find a 1460mAh battery, which is okay if you don’t mind charging your handset every day, as well as a micro SIM slot and the microSD memory card slot.
Ignoring the cloud features, the S500 CloudMobile is a decent handset with some key stand-out specs. The 4.3-inch 1280 x 720 display is bright and impressively sharp, rendering photos and movies in incredible detail. Movie fans should love it.
The phone also packs a 1.5GHz dual-core processor backed up by 1GB of RAM, so it ticks plenty of boxes for those who are spec hungry. We didn’t notice any performance issues whether we were messing around with apps, playing games, or simply browsing the web. The 8MP camera can be used to shoot crisp photos or record Full HD video.
Floating in the Cloud
The S500 comes with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box, which is a slick and feature-packed OS. Acer should have considered shipping this device with the latest Android 4.1 Jellybean, as it would have made the phone stand out amongst similarly priced peers, but hopefully an update will be available before too long.
One of the biggest features that Acer is bigging up is the ‘Acer Cloud’, basically another online storage facility that allows you to share files with your PC. In the world of Google, DropBox and other excellent Android-compatible services, the Acer Cloud seems a little unnecessary and is also fiddly to set up and get going, so we can’t see it being a big draw for consumers. After all, if you’re interested in the Cloud, chances are you already have your own account set up.
On top of the Cloud storage you get 8GB of internal storage and a microSD card slot - unlike other smartphones with a similar price tag like the HTC One S, Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the Sony Xperia S - which is expandable to 32GB if you need it.
The Acer S500 CloudMobile is a decent business-designed handset with dependable dual-core power, a bright and vibrant HD screen and top sound quality. Sadly the added Acer Cloud services don’t quite hit the mark.