Acer beTouch E110 in-depth review -

Look and feel

Compact and rounded, the E110 sits very comfortably in the hand, though it's not the most stylish handset around.

Ease of use

As its software is based on aspects of the Android, navigating and customising the phone is easy and intuitive.

Features

An impressive list for its price point - 3G, full HTML browser for desktop-like browsing, customisable homescreens with widgets, and several social networking features including a streaming app that lets you share music with friends over email, Facebook and Twitter.

Performance

Web, social networking and interface are all well implemented features for a phone at this price. However, the 2.8-inch QVGA display looks pixelated and dull, and the lack of Wi-Fi means streaming is inconsistent (as dependent on operator coverage)

Battery life

The phone easily lasts the day, as it does not have many battery-draining features such as push email or Wi-Fi.

 Acer beTouch E110 Review -
3

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:58:18 PM

6

out of 10

Performance

6

out of 5

Look and feel

8

out of 5

Ease of use

6

out of 5

Features

8

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

Five homescreens customisable with widgets and shortcuts, social networking features including a full Twitter app, full HTML browser

Cons:

No Wi-Fi so streaming music via the Spinlets app is temperamental, lacks in the design department

Acer has had a spotty track record in its phone division, thanks a series of dated-looking handsets powered by glitch-ridden software. Luckily it recouped with the high-spec Android-powered Liquid, and despite a hiccup with the recent neoTouch P300, has managed a reasonable attempt at a 'youth' phone with the beTouch E110.

 

Palm it
Compact and rounded, the E110 sits very comfortably in the hand. As far as looks go, it's pretty standard, though we're not fans of the low-res 2.8-inch screen. Below it is an exceptionally wide space housing a giant 'ok' button - one of those old-school, wobbly rubber ones. Four touch-areas on the screen let you go home, search, back and menu. The search button acts as universal search, which is pretty cool - type your query, hit enter and you'll scour the files on the phone; hit the Google icon and it'll search the WWW instead.
At the top is the welcome 3.5mm audio jack for your own headphones (Acer has also bundled in a pair of mediocre 'phones), and on the back, a three-megapixel lens with no autofocus or flash. It's also A-GPS-enabled, though oddly, there's no maps app, and no way of getting one.
Contrary to prior reports, the E110 isn't a proper Android phone - it's built on aspects of the Android OS, and doesn't have access to Google's mobile services like the Android Market. So it's being 'positioned' as a affordable touch-phone with internet capability instead - and to be fair, it is about half the (SIM-free) price of budget Android smartphones.

Like these, it has multiple (five) customisable homescreens to add widgets and shortcuts to. It's a great feature for a phone at this price point, though obviously you're limited to what is preloaded on the phone. There are a few cool Acer widgets, such as a fan displaying your three favourite web links, and another showing the most recent photo, video and music on the phone.

 

Mingle with me
Of course, as a youth-oriented phone, social networking is a focus, with preloaded Facebook, Twitter, and an Acer exclusive called Spinlets, a music and video streaming app. Somewhat cheekily, the Facebook 'app' is actually just a link to Facebook's mobile site for touch-phones, but it works well enough, so live and let live, right?
Underlining its young target audience is the urFooz app, which lets you create a cartoon avatar - the Fooz - that you can post to social networks, and save web links to - as a kind of portable backup service, we suppose.
Spinlets is less of a success, largely thanks to the fact that the E110 is 3G-enabled but doesn't support Wi-Fi. Internet coverage is therefore dependent on your operator's coverage, and where we were in Central London, we couldn't even get music to start playing. We were able to search the database of songs though, and you can also share music via email, the Twidroid app, or by logging into Facebook.
In fact, we had lots of internet-related trouble when trying to set up email and Twitter accounts. The preloaded Twidroid app refused to accept our login, insisting that we either had the wrong login info, or our account had been locked (subsequent login via desktop proved this false) - it even suggested we 'chillax' and try again later.
We were unable to add our Gmail account, repeatedly receiving the message that it 'cannot safely connect to server'. Hotmail was less problematic, though we initially were unable to receive mail.


Daily use
On the surface, the E110 plays like a normal Android phone - threaded messages, ability to switch between open apps, and a pull-down notifications menu that handily shows alerts as well as system settings like battery and 3G coverage.
The resistive touch-screen is more responsive than most, and a small amount of pressure was enough to swoop us swiftly about the interface. The virtual keyboard isn't as fast as on capacitive touch-screens, but it's better designed than some of Acer's other touch-phones, with a full stop on the main screen as well as auto switch back to alphabet after you tap a symbol. The auto-correct is one of useless spell-check variety (rather than correcting based on likely mistypes), but in general, typing on the E110 was comfortable and accurate, especially for a resistive touch-screen.
The full HTML browser let view websites as if you were on a PC, which is pretty impressive for this price.
The three-megapixel camera is pretty dinky and takes quite pixelated photos even in daylight. We like that the shutter releases as soon as you press the button though. There's no autofocus, and the lack of flash means you won't be using it in lowlight to great effect. After you take a photo, you can share it via email, MMS or Twidroid, which is a pretty neat feature for a phone this 'affordable'.

 

The verdict
Compared to its similarly low-cost peers like the Samsung Genio Slide or LG Pop, the E110 has oodles more features but its hardware isn't as nicely styled - which could be the make or break when it comes to choosing one.

 

Natasha Stokes