A chunky slider with both a touch-screen and traditional keypad, we weren’t bowled over by the aesthetics of the Acer beTouch E200.
The Windows Mobile user interface is notoriously difficult to navigate and although version 6.5 is an improvement, it is still frustrating in parts. The touch-screen requires a stylus and can only be viewed in portrait mode.
Not forgetting the relatively low price tag, the feature set is still pretty poor. There’s no Wi-Fi capabilities or 3.5mm headphone jack, and the camera is only 3.15 megapixels. However, you can extend the features by downloading apps from Windows Marketplace.
The Acer beTouch E200 left a lot to be desired when it came to performance, with a few oversights such as a lack of accelerometers and haptic response making it harder to use. There was also quite a delay when opening applications, which was irritating.
Battery life was average.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:56:57 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Equip the Acer beTouch E200 by downloading from a variety of apps from the Windows Marketplace.
The fiddly Windows menus and overall poor user experience can frustrate.
It could be argued that manufacturers were starting to shy away from Microsoft’s operating system, yet Windows Mobile 6.5 seems to have given it a new lease of life. LG, Samsung and HTC have all produced Windows Phones in recent months, with the latter showing just how it should be integrated, with the excellent HTC HD2. Already established in terms of PCs, laptops and netbooks, Acer is hoping that the new operating system will also win over potential customers on the beTouch E200, well, that and the appealing £249.99 price tag (SIM-free).
The Acer beTouch E200 fits into that rare category of having both a touch-screen and a standard 3x4 keypad. The device itself is no skinny minny as it has to accommodate the keypad, which is revealed by sliding the phone in an upwards motion. The touch-screen is resistive; meaning a degree of pressure is required for a command to be acknowledged. Unfortunately, we felt let down by this process for two reasons. Firstly, there’s no haptic feedback, so no vibrating response to indicate that your command has been recognised. And this situation is exasperated further by the fact there was often a delay between pressing an icon and that application firing up, despite housing an impressively powerful Qualcomm processor.Acer has fitted the beTouch E200 with a stylus that snugly fits into the right-hand corner of the phone. This is a welcome addition, particularly because Windows Mobile 6.5 sits at the heart of the Acer beTouch E200, unlike phones such as the HTC HD2, which hid it behind its own Sense OS. So be sure not to lose that stylus because those occasionally fiddly menu systems, which we have criticised so much in previous Windows Phones, are unavoidable. Thankfully, the main menu is the larger, icon-based variant.
Though the Acer beTouch E200 is fitted with HSDPA for a speedy internet experience, some may bemoan the lack of Wi-Fi, a strange omission for a phone that is essentially catered towards the business user, albeit one on a budget. Another hindrance to our web experience was the lack of accelerometers, which meant webpages were restricted to being read in portrait view. Likewise, if you wish to type on the virtual QWERTY keyboard when entering texts, emails or web addresses, your sole option is to do so in the narrow portrait mode. Again, we recommend using the stylus as the keys are just too thin to guarantee accurate button pressing with your finger.
Being a Windows Mobile 6.5 handset you get the added bonus of access to Windows Marketplace – Bill Gates’ answer to the Apple App Store, Android Market and BlackBerry App World. Here you can pimp up your Acer beTouch E200 with a host of games, applications and social network platforms, along with an array of other purposeful (and pointless) pieces of software.
It’s important to keep the Acer beTouch E200 in context. It’s not pretending to break new ground, but is instead a cheaper alternative to the more expensive Windows Mobile 6.5 devices currently saturating the market. However, it’s also fair to warn you that you won’t get any more for your money. Windows Mobile 6.5 still doesn’t paint over the cracks that Microsoft’s original operating system had, and Acer has failed to provide the much-needed Polyfilla. There’s enough in the Acer beTouch E200’s armoury to warrant a look, particularly if you’re on a tight budget, but there are far better equipped Windows Mobile handsets out there that offer a friendlier user experience.Danny Brogandanny.firstname.lastname@example.org