By October 21, 2009

Acer F900 review


With the takeover of Eten by Acer, lots of new phones are hitting the market with a wide range of ‘Tempo’ branded handsets from Acer suddenly becoming available. Acer also recently launched the powerful Acer neoTouch which comes complete with Windows Mobile 6.5, so can the F900 compete?


The Acer Tempo F900


The 10 second review:

Device: Acer Tempo F900
Price: £189.99 – £184.99 with a £5 voucher which you can get HERE.
Summary: A good looking handset which is a value for money alternative to the HTC Touch HD.
Best of: Decent auto-focus camera with flash. Screen and built in GPS are a great Sat Nav combination.
Worst of: Battery life not the best, can become a little sluggish at times.
Buy it now from: eXpansys


What’s in the box?

  • Acer Tempo F900
  • Battery
  • Spare Stylus
  • Screen Protector
  • UK Mains Adapter
  • USB Cable
  • Headset
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Warranty Card
  • User Manual CD

Take a look at Matt’s Acer F900 unboxing video for more.


Acer Tempo F900 Specification:

  • Processor: Samsung 6410, 533 Mhz
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro
  • Memory: ROM: 256 MB / RAM: 128 MB
  • Display: 3.8-inch TFT-LCD touch-sensitive screen with 800 X 480 WVGA resolution
  • Network: HSDPA 1900/2100 MHz 
    Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • GPS: Internal GPS antenna
  • Bluetooth® 2.0 with Enhanced Data Rate and A2DP for wireless stereo headsets
  • Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 b/g
  • Camera: 3.2 megapixel colour camera with LED flash
  • Audio supported formats: WMA, WAV, MP3, AAC, AMR, SP-MIDI, MIDI, MMF, AWB, RMI
  • Video supported formats: 3GP, MPEG4, WMV, H.263, H.264
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery
    -Capacity: 1530 mAh
    -Talk time: Up to 7 hours
    – Standby time: Up to 300 hours
  • Expansion Slot: microSD™ memory card (SD 2.0 compatible)
  • Dimensions: 117.5 X 63.5 X 12.8 mm
  • Weight: 155 grams


The front of the F900 is dominated by a 3.8” touch sensitive screen below that you’ll find 4 touch sensitive buttons.

F900 front view

Acer F900 front view


On the back  a 3.2MP auto-focus camera, LED flash, speaker and battery compartment.

Acer F900 back view

Acer F900 back view


To the right we have a couple of scroll buttons (also for volume control) with selector in the middle, MicroSD socket and a dedicated camera button.

Acer F900 right side

Acer F900 right side


Left side we find the MiniUSB connector and power switch.

Acer F900 left side

Acer F900 left side


Both the top and the bottom of the handset are clear of clutter with just a space for the stylus on the bottom.

Acer F900 top view

Acer F900 top view



  • Nice looking device
  • Comes with good features for the price
  • Good price
  • Camera with flash and autofocus
  • Nice GUI
  • 3.8” Screen
  • Wi-Fi, GPS and HSDPA


  • Battery life seems worse than advertised.
  • Screen a little too shiny
  • 128MB memory should be more.
  • Sluggish at times


When I first looked at this phone, I thought it was the Glofiish X500 with a couple of changes to the buttons under the screen. It is quite a sleek, if not slightly heavy, device with a rather large screen.

The Acer shell is visually pleasing and user friendly. The shell works with two modes, either that mimicking your office desk, with calendar, memo, phone, CD player, etc on a desk with the ability to scroll left and right a frame for more of the desk, or if you scroll the screen down, an interface not dissimilar to that of the iPhone appears. It does come with the option to unload the shell if you want, but personally I quite like it. I thought the gravity sensor was slightly on the sluggish side but a nice addition to the unit.

In terms of the GPS the F900 performs quite well. I tried the F900 with google maps and it doesn’t take long to get a GPS fix from cold and probably around 10 seconds from a warm start, quite acceptable. Accuracy is pretty standard, sitting at home there is a certain amount of ‘drift’ when you are not moving but when using the handset in the car this really isn’t a problem. When you consider the cost of this handset and how much it would cost to add on CoPilot Live, for example, then it does make for a good value SatNav device with a generous size screen for in-car use.

One area that the F900 does disappoint is the headphones/headset. The F900 does not have a 3.5mm headphone socket which is now becoming standard on more and more devices. Instead the supplied wired headset connects to the handset with a miniUSB style connector forcing you to either use the supplied headset, which is quite poor, or else purchase some kind of headphone adapter in order to use your own. What a shame that the adapter is not supplied.

Where the F900 trumps the Touch HD is in the camera department. The 3.2 MP camera on the F900 comes with autofocus, flash, and lots of settings and effects. It takes about 5 seconds from pressing the camera button to being able to actually take a picture, which I thought was slow. Quality was good, flash was average, but no one is expecting to take a photo on a phone that would make it onto the cover of Vogue magazine, that said the quality is better than its competitor that has no flash. Now before you all start screaming at your computer screen I know that the Touch HD has a 5MP camera but it’s not just about the number of pixels, the F900’s camera seems better in my opinion and the flash is pretty important to many people.

I know that I’ve already made several comparisons between the Touch HD and the F900 but they are so similar in design and functionality that it’s hard not to. If you consider that the Acer F900 has been around for just a few months and you can get it for well under £200 which is less than half the cost of the HTC Touch HD at the moment it becomes a matter of economics, the HD has little to offer over the F900 with, perhaps the exception of TouchFlo and maybe the headphone socket.

The Acer Shell user interface is much the same as we find on other Acer handsets on the market at the moment, it’s kinda like Acer’s answer to TouchFlo from HTC and it’s kinda cool. You are presented with a simulated office desk complete with a window and a wall. Items on the desk represent various things from a telephone telling you how many voicemail messages you have to an envelope with your unread email count. The calendar/clock on the wall tells you the date and the time while the view out of the ‘window’ shows you the weather.

Acer Shell on the F900

Acer Shell on the F900

I’ve mentioned earlier that the handset suffers from a slow down periodically. I suspect that this is down to two things. Firstly that the handset has ‘only’ 128Mb of RAM and that the user interface itself is pretty graphically intense. Once you start loading up other applications, especially SatNav apps. you might start to notice this more. It’s not a huge problem but means that you might have to manage your application usage a little more carefully than you would on a device with more RAM.

Not forgetting of course that the F900 is a mobile phone, the call quality of the handset it pretty decent. I can hear callers clearly enough and they can hear me fine. I would like to be able to make the speaker a bit louder though as I had it on the loudest setting all the time, it would be good to have so headroom for those quieter calls but that said it’s not the quietest handset that I’ve used.

General call quality is good, didn’t have any dropped calls during the review period and no break up. Reception is adequate, on par with the majority of other smartphones that I’ve been using recently but by no means spectacular and wont compete with your average Nokia handset for signal strength, but then I’ve yet to find a smartphone handset that will – why is that?!

The large 3.8" display is good, and 800 x 480 pixels gives you plenty of room for web browsing. It’s reasonably responsive to touch and you’ll get away with using your fingers or at least your fingernails for most applications. One bug bear with the screen is that it is extremely glossy, which is pretty much the norm for handsets now, but it’s performance in strong sunlight is poor, you’ll find yourself angling the screen to be able to see it properly. Probably not such a big deal as we only have about 3 days of sun each year in the UK but more important elsewhere perhaps.

On the matter of web browsing the F900 has Opera Mobile included and as you’d expect from the tried and trusted Opera browser, it does a decent job of rendering webpages, looking much like their desktop equivalent only smaller. Opera seems to be speedy enough though. However, one area that does cause a problem with Opera is the g-sensor or accelerometer. When you rotate the handset in your hands to a landscape orientation then naturally you want the screen to rotate to suit but for some reason Opera simply refuses to play ball most of the time which is quite annoying!

We’re often asked about texting and text entry on handsets. The F900, as you would expect, has all the standard Windows Mobile text-entry methods from handwriting recognition to the normal QWERTY keyboard. You probably wont want to use the normal WM QWERTY as on the 480×800 screen it’s tiny and not easy to use even with a stylus let alone with your fingers. Thankfully Acer have included their own larger QWERTY keyboard for text entry and this takes up just over a third of the lower part of the display. The ‘keys’ are well spaced and large enough to press with your fingers without having to resort to the stylus. Text entry is otherwise uneventful.




I like the feel of the phone, and the interface. It is slow at responding to some tasks but I think this is down to the the UI and the amount of memory available to run the software, but at the price and with all the features this phone comes with, I think it’s definitely good value for money!

The F900 is one of Acer’s best efforts so far, now I wonder what they can do with the neoTouch!?

In response to a Windows Mobile 6.5, it looks like people have managed to upgrade it with ‘cooked ROMs’, but not via an official update from Acer, so far.


Review by: Gary/Matt

Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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