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The X960 is one of a trio of Windows Mobile powered smartphones that Acer has introduced off the back of its purchase of Glofiish. We were quite fond of Acer's higher end F900 as it proved to be a cost effective alternative to HTC's Touch HD, so we were keen to see how the X960 would stack up in comparison.
Whereas the F900 fits in at the premium end of Acer's range, the X960 is aimed more at the mid-range of the smartphone market. Looks-wise it's not exactly what you'd describe as a beauty. Most of today's smartphones aim to be as sleek as possible with smooth, clean unbroken lines, but the X960 looks somewhat old fashioned with bits poking out here and there.
The chassis also feels a little on the plasticky side even though the phone is relatively heavy at 132g, so we're not sure how much abuse it will stand up to long term. That said, we do like the piano black finish on the front and the way the chrome band runs all the way around the edge of the phone.
The handset also has plenty of hard controls with a large, circular control pad on the front that's flanked by two call buttons, a home key and a dedicated button for the built-in GPS functionality. The right hand edge also houses a power button, camera key, telescopic stylus and a flap that gives you access to the microSD card slot. The left hand side, on the other hand, is home to the volume rocker switch, plus a programmable button that by default is set to launch the voice recorder. Sadly there's no standard headphone jack. Instead the mini USB port on the bottom of the phone is used for connecting the supplied headset as well as charging the phone via the wall charger and synching it with a PC.
When it comes to the display, the X960 puts in a decent showing. The touch-sensitive resistive screen is bright and has a relatively high resolution of 640 x 480 pixels, but as the display measures only 2.8in, text, icons and the onscreen keyboard look rather small and cramped on their default size settings. The handset also lacks an accelerometer so it can't automatically switch from portrait to landscape mode when you turn it on its side when using applications like the picture viewer or web browser.