By November 13, 2009

Review: Acer s200 Neotouch

 ABAE4D6D-6223-4253-85BF-31752FB239B9 The Acer s200 is a device that does exactly what it sets out to do. I can say very little about it other than I recommend it, here’s why.

Looking at the device, on the top is the 3.5mm headset jack. There is another hole on top, but very little goes on in there, in fact it’s useless. The stylus is also housed here.


The right side has a volume rocker and the all important reset hole. It’s funny that a reset button is still quite important to Windows mobile, however, with 6.5 you might only have to hit it once a month now. Perhaps with every incarnation of Windows Mobile the average reset time is set back a few weeks. There is also a dedicated camera button.


The left side has only a power button. Oddly, I think this side looks rather attractive, in a minimalistic sort of way, it’s almost defines the phone.


The bottom has a Mini USB connector and a microphone hole. The other slit is for you to insert your finger nail to rip the device apart, or open the back cover if you like.


The back is another simple, flat surface. The branding of Acer is large enough to be notable yet not obnoxiously in your face. The device proudly announces it’s 5.0 Mega Pixel camera and even packs an LED flash, something it’s more expensive rivals can’t brag about. There is a little grill for the loud speaker, this is functional, nothing on the Touch Pro2 but does it’s tinny job.


One thing I did like is the battery has a little latch that needs to be pulled before the battery can be removed. It’s been done before however, it’s been a while since I have seen one and it adds a little extra in the way of a quality feel. The SIM card slot is only accessible by removing the battery. The MicroSD card slot is hot swappable even though it’s under the back case and has a clicky mechanism inside.


The front sees a gorgeous 3.8 WVGA touchscreen showing at 480×800. It’s resistive, and this is going to put a number of people off. This is a competitor to the HTC HD2 that hits the market soon complete with a capacitive screen and when you think of the screen size of these devices it makes sense to push the capacitive. Above is the ear speaker and below the action buttons. These are touch sensitive buttons, a good thing for not having moving parts, but sometimes are ineffective and require re-pushing. The Call button and End Call buttons are annoyingly marked by a line and a two dashes. Why not the universal phone symbols? There is a back button and a home button, again non-recognisable symbols but it doesn’t really take a degree is rocket science to fathom this. Most notable here is the lack of a Windows button.

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The one thing that most people are excited about with this device is the processor, the 1ghz Snapdragon. It’s lovely. Windows Mobile is famous for slowing down to a crawl when you need to use it the most and no amount of memory can sort that out. Instead a beefed up processor really delivers the goods. Windows Mobile feels like it is almost ready to be released on this device and this is the way things were meant to be over the years. Smartphones really got the shitty end of the stick, PDA’s were running processors roughly equivalent to the processors you find in smartphones today three or four years ago. I guess just when they are about to release Windows Mobile 7 they will get Windows mobile 6 running just right and we’ll be back to square one.

There isn’t too much in the way of bundled software, there are a few nice menus to navigate and interact with the features of the phone. That are improvements on the Windows Mobile standard menus but unattractive when compared to full upgrades like Touchflo 3D and SPB Mobile Shell.

A big grumble from me is the stylus. Aside from the lack of capacitive touchscreen it’s a bit of an insult that the resistive screen, although quite touch friendly, still has to be interacted with by the most spindly and flimsy stylus on the planet. Expect to have to buy a couple over the life span of this device, if you use it of course. And  they only provide you with one. My Touch Pro2 comes with a fairly sturdy pool cue and HTC even found their way to sticking a second in the box.

The Acer Today screen is nothing but a selection of short cuts and you can only change six of them. There are some handy soft buttons to lock the device, bring up the start menu and edit the shortcuts above however I could think of a better use of this space. Having seen the effort Acer has put into Today screen replacements on some previous devices it’s a little deflating to see this. That said, Windows Mobile 6.5 does has a new and rather satisfying Today Screen more in keeping with the Windows Mobile Standard (non-touchscreen devices.) I used this for the most time and it served it’s purpose quite well.

The call quality wasn’t great. I found the speaker to be made of tin operating inside a microwave. It wasn’t particularly loud either, it did what it set out to do, but I wouldn’t want to be relying this for an important phone call whilst at a busy train station or in a shopping centre. That said, the microphone is quite good so whomever you are calling will hear you clearly, provided they are not on an Acer s200 Neotouch.

The camera is quite nice. 5.0 megapixel with LED flash and autofocus leads to pleasant if unremarkable results. I have attached some more of my super garden and doggy pictures below taken on a chilly Autumn morning, not that it being chilly affects the camera in way.

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The device feels cheap but doesn’t look it. Therein lies the genius behind it’s looks. There has been a lot of thought put into this one and it shows. If you aren’t looking to shell out twice the price of this on the HTC HD2 then you will be pleased by this. It’s a no frills, yet powerful pocket ally. It’s been said before and I’ll say it here, right now, there is no better value smartphone on the market than this.

Posted in: Phones

About the Author:

Seasoned tech blogger. Host of the Tech Addicts podcast.
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