Snazzy, silky to the touch and well-weighted. The Acer beTouch E130 looks stylish and is highly tactile
Phone keyboards are notoriously hard to get just right but Acer's attempt is pretty convincing: easy to type at speed and simple to read even in low light
Though it has a 3.5mm headphone jack and GPS, the camera and media player are both decidedly average
It may not have the latest version of Android but it performs well, the trackball making up for deficiencies in the touch-screen
The beTouch E130 will easily see you through the day and some way through the next, unlike a lot of smartphones
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:59:38 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Great look and feel, decent keyboard, good battery life.
Poor camera and slightly unresponsive touchscreen.
Acer's QWERTY phone looks much like a BlackBerry or Nokia E series. But unlike those two handsets, this has a touch-screen as well. But unlike the BlackBerry Torch, the beTouch E130 is small and pocketable, thanks to the screen being just 2.6 inches.
The smooth keys and back casing are very pleasing to the touch - it's the sort of phone that fits the hand well and feels good. The keyboard, though not quite as superb as that on the BlackBerry Bold, is pretty slick. And at least there's a key with a full stop in a lower case position (unlike BlackBerry) and a 0 directly below the other number keys instead of alongside them (as Nokia infuriatingly insists on). The white keys are easy to read and the backlight means you can tap away happily in lower light - though the white backlight for the letters means it's the secondary characters which stand out more. None the less, the keyboard looks good. The predictive word system means a bunch of suggestions are offered as you type and you just tap the right one on screen to confirm it. There's also a central trackball which may look a little old-fashioned compared to the more recent BlackBerry optical trackpad, but it works just fine. Look closely and you'll see that just below the display are four familiar icons: this is an Android phone, so the Home, Menu, Back and Search buttons are there, plus dedicated Send and End keys. It's an unusual take on Android, but it looks great.
The touch-screen is a resistive one, so not as immediately responsive as a capacitive one would be, but it's not bad. Being resistive, it means multi-touch moves like pinch to zoom are unavailable. The trackball means there's an extra way to interact with the menus and apps, so you may find you use the touchscreen less here than on other Android handsets. Of course, as always with Android we have to ask which edition this features. Unlike the iPhone or all the Windows Phone 7 handsets, there are different versions of Android available, and not all Androids are equal. This phone has version 1.6, which is looking a bit ancient now, though at least it all moves at a decent speed, even if it lacks features like internet tethering or storage of apps on a removable memory card instead of integrated storage.
Acer's customisation of Android is reasonably minor, though it does feature a multimedia screen (the left-most of the five home pages) where you can easily check out music, video and photos that are on the handset.There's a camera, of course, though its three-megapixel resolution leaves a lot to be desired. Results are grainy and the absence of a flash doesn't help, either. Though the screen isn't high-resolution enough to make the most of any video or stills photo you want to look at. Still, the relatively small screen size will at least save some juice.
Although it looks a little like a BlackBerry, it lacks that machine's unbeaten skill with email, though it's not bad. On the other hand, because it's an Android blower, there's 100,000 Android apps available which BlackBerry doesn't come near matching.
Overall, it's something of a hybrid, this phone, not quite matching the business smarts and bright screen of a BlackBerry Bold but not as easy to use as most other Android phones. Looks great, mind.