About 2 weeks ago Knightwise asked me if I would like to go to an Acer Smartphone presentation as a Knightwise.com reporter. Well … I certainly don’t have his wit and ingenuity, but since I’m quite interested in the whole Smartphone thing I decided to accept the invitation. The kind people from MindShake were expecting us in Brussels for a short presentation and a little surprise.
I have to say … I only know Acer from their computers and I didn’t know they were also in the Smartphone business. Apparently they are, and according tho the Acer person, they are doing quite well in Belgium too. They showed us a few models starting with the Acer Liquid Z, which is an Android ICS phone which comes in at a very affordable 99 euros. Next up was the E Series and we ended with the Acer CloundMobile at a very affordable price of 289 euro.
Apparently Acer is going for a ‘vanilla’ Android smartphone, which means it is as close to the default Android as possible. No funky skins, no icky any animations … just a few little tweaks here and there. For me this was a big difference to my current Android experience using the Samsung Galaxy S III and I have probably been spoiled with the shiny bling bling on that device.
Personally I’m not the guy who looks at the tags with all the numbers next to the phones in the shops. But I know some people love to know those details so here we go. It comes with a 1.5 Ghz dual-core processor and has 8 Gb of built-in storage which can be expanded using microSD cards. The screen is a 4.3 inc screen with 720p resolution (1280 x 720 pixels). What’s interesting is that it comes with an 8 megapixel front facing camera which sounds nice indeed.
The thing which interests me is battery life. I remember telling Knightwise I wasn’t impressed with the battery after the first day of testing, but I have to correct myself. The phone lasts at least whole day even with my Twitter and Instagram addiction. Of course all this depends on how often you use the device, the camera, the GPS and all the other stuff in the phone so your mileage may vary. But after 2 weeks of extensive testing I can say that I’m quite pleased with batter life on the Acer CloudMobile.
I did have a minor issue though. If I understand it correctly it should be possible to use Android Beam to ‘beam’ pictures and other things from one android device to another and that feature uses NFC (I could be wrong here). Sadly I couldn’t get it working at all. We tried with an Acer CloudMobile and a Samsung Galaxy S III, and even between two Acer CloudMobile devices … but there was no way we could get it working. I showed the problem to the Acer person (sorry … forgot to write down your name) and we tried different things but it didn’t work. He mentioned it could be a software issue and that there might be an update or fix soon.
Well, strangely the device comes with Android 4.0 which is rather strange to me. I’m not a veteran Android user, but I know there is already an Android 4.1 and probably an even more recent version, so why didn’t it ship with the most recent Android version ?
The good thing is that the Android version is only lightly skinned and thus … in my opinion … it should be easier to keep the OS updated. Sadly … so far … I didn’t see an Android 4.1 update for the phone.
I have to admit though … the device seemed pretty fast and it does come with Polaris Office 4 and EquiView pre installed. Additionally the device also comes with support for AcerCloud. For those of you who wonder what AcerCloud is … well I could say it’s Acer’s version of iCloud. Apparently it’s a service active in the Benelux, France, Germany, Italy and the UK which allows you to remotely access information from you laptop, Android tablet and Android phone from wherever you are.
The AcerCloud service includes PicStream which automatically uploads you pictures to the cloud and synchronizes them with your other devices (including non Acer devices). From what I heard this service is also available for your documents and music and there isn’t really a limit on storage. The data should be available in the cloud for 30 days.
Well … you have to know that I’m an Apple fanboy and only very recently ventured into the Android world. My first Android experience was on a Samsung Galaxy S III, so I’ve probably been spoiled there. But I have to say the Acer CloudMobile is and amazing device considering the price. Roughly speaking it costs about half as much as the S III, but you are getting way more than half an S III for that price.
In short … it’s a very performant Android smartphone at a very affordable price.
About the Author
Stefaan is a Software Developer by trade, but also active as a Tech Reporter and Podcaster mostly in Dutch / Flemish. You can find out more about him on his blog at iTutor Podcast or check out the Tech45 Podcast.