Acer has quite a suite of smartphones to its name and it is currently deploying both the Windows Mobile and Android operating systems. The neoTouch P400 runs the former operating system and uses Windows Mobile 6.5.3 in a vanilla, unskinned, version.
This means there is no fancy overlay sitting on top of the Windows Mobile look and feel. For the most part Microsoft has engineered this version of Windows Mobile to be finger friendly, and it is an improvement on version 6.5, but it is still not as easy to use as either Android or the iPhone OS.
The general specifications of the neoTouch P400 are high end. Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, 3.5mm audio jack on the top edge of the chassis, 3.2-megapixel camera, HSDPA, and g-sensor for automatic screen rotation.
The physical design is very appealing. Acer is quite obviously emulating Apple with a frontage made from shiny black plastic, a silver band running all the way round the edge, and curved corners. Even the speaker sitting above the screen looks like the iPhone’s. Acer ruins the homage with a huge branding logo on the front facia. Apple is confident enough to put its branding on the back of the iPhone.
Acer also leaves the iPhone homage behind in putting four touch-sensitive buttons beneath the screen. There are Call and End buttons, a Home button and the Windows Phone applications menu button. The Home button has a circular frame which glows red while you are charging the battery, green when it is full, and white for alerts. It is surprisingly attractive.
Acer has also opted for a rubberised backplate which is much easier to grip than the iPhone’s shiny plastic one, and isn’t prone to scratching, either.
Acer has decided to leave Windows Mobile pretty free of add-ons. There are applications for Facebook, YouTube, Google and Google Maps but that is all. You can get add-ons from the Windows Market Place easily enough, but this is not as expansive as either Apple’s store or the Android marketplace. We’d have liked to see more software pre-installed to help differentiate the neoTouch P400 from others.
Still, this is a nicely designed smartphone with a good range of features, and it doesn’t have a silly asking price.
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