Acer beTouch E400 review

We review the Acer beTouch E400, but does the Android 2.1-powered smartphone have what it takes to make a name for itself in the mid-range smartphone market?

Rating: 
2
Pros: 
Android 2.1, good storage, decent UI, 3.5mm jack input, Micro SD
Cons: 
Resistive touchscreen, bulky design, screen isn't as impressive as Acer claims it to be, lots of lag, low spec camera — the list could go on!
Verdict: 
The Acer beTouch E400 can't compete with the competition at all. Yes, it has Android 2.1 but, unfortunately, this isn't enough to save it from mediocrity.

Acer, which is a company perhaps best known for its netbooks, has been quietly churning out mobile phones for quite sometime now – and one of its newest is the Android 2.1-powered Acer beTouch E400.

But is it any good and, more importantly, how does it stack up against the competition?

In terms of price, the Acer beTouch E400, which is priced at £264.99 SIM-free, clearly has its sight’s set firmly on the middle of the smartphone market, so it’ll be going head-to-head with the likes of the HTC Wildfire, the Nokia N97 and the Samsung GT 18000 to name but a few.

On first impressions, the Acer beTouch E400 isn’t much of a looker and is composed of a white plastic back onto which a black front panel has been placed – in our opinion, it looks a little like a second rate white-backed iPhone.

That said, beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder and some users may find the Acer beTouch E400’s aesthetic qualities rather appealing – so, this aspect of the review is obviously very much opinion.

Nevertheless, we really weren’t sold on the look and feel of the device from the get-go.

Another strange nuance with the Acer beTouch E400 is that it uses a resistive touchscreen, which means you have to physically push down on the screen to activate things.

In our opinion, the whole debate on resistive vs. capacitive is a done deal: capacitive is the way forward. Both Nokia and RIM had to learn this the hard way, so why Acer decided to go with this option on the beTouch E400 is frankly bizarre.

However, resistive screens do have their benefits. For one, you have the option of using  a stylus, which is always good for a laugh – especially, if you’ve never used one before …

Unfortunately, though, this is possibly the only benefit of a resistive screen and, when you consider that the beTouch E400 is packing the beautiful Android 2.1, it really is a shame that Acer decided to muck things up with a gross resistive screen, which makes navigation, texting, browsing and just about everything else a massive arduous chore.

On the plus side, the Acer beTouch E400 does have Android 2.1 onboard and this is a massive plus, because if this device had, say, a Symbian S40 OS it’d almost be too depressing to review. But it doesn’t. And this is good.

The Acer beTouch E400 packs a 600MHz Qualcomm processor and, while this might not be the fastest thing on the market, it performs adequately and is easily on a par with, say, the HTC Hero’s performance.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the screen. Acer claims that the beTouch E400’s HVGA 320 x 480 pixel display is “high-definition” and while it might be better than some devices, such as the HTC Wildfire, but there’s no way it should be considered actually “HD” – it couldn’t even hold a candle to our BlackBerry Bold 9700’s capabilities and when we compared it to the iPhone 4’s screen, well, the less said about that the better…

Specifications

Typical Price £264.99
UK Launch April 2010
Frequency Quad-band
Phone Style Candy-bar
Thickness 12 mm
Length 115 mm
Width 59.3 mm
Weight 125 g
Built-in Memory 256 MB RAM, 512 MB ROM
Additional Memory microSD
High-speed Data EDGE,HSDPA,Wi-Fi,GSM
Connectivity USB, 3.5mm jack, Bluetooth
Screen Size 3.2 inches
Screen Colours 256K colors
Camera Yes
Designer Lens No
Camera Resolution 3.2-megapixel
Ringtones Yes
Music Player Yes
Music Formats MP3/WAV/WMA/eAAC+ player
Radio Stereo FM radio
Speaker Yes
Video Calling No
Internet Yes
Browser HTML
Games Yes
Battery Standby Up to 400 h
Talktime Up to 5 h

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