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The E130 is a messaging phone that sports a full QWERTY keyboard and as a result looks very similar to many of BlackBerry’s handsets. Acer has tried its hand at messaging phones before with the P300 and M900, but those models were based on Microsoft’s unloved Windows Mobile operating system. This time around, it has decided to give Android a go instead, but are the results an improvement on its previous attempts?
There’s no doubting where the design inspiration for the E130 comes from. With the landscape screen at the top of the phone and QWERTY keyboard sitting beneath, the handset looks very much like a BlackBerry. The phone even uses a mini trackball similar to the one found on RIM’s older Pearl range before it switched to optical trackpads. It’s hardly surprising then that the E130 looks much more business-like than recent Acer models such as the Stream.
The chassis is almost completely finished in black save for a few chrome highlights here and there including the band that runs around the outside edge of the phone. Unlike some of Acer’s older models the E130 also feels very robust as the chassis doesn’t creek or flex when you apply pressure to it. Measuring 115 x 63 x 11.5mm, it’s relatively small and compact and it’s not too heavy either at 109g
Unfortunately, Acer has used version 1.6 of Android, which is far from cutting edge. However, at least the company has customised the OS a bit. For example, the usual pull-up tab that opens the main menu has been switched to a horizontal tab instead. But once you’ve pulled this open you can scroll up and down through your list of apps in the usual way.
Acer has also tweaked the standard V1.6 home screen, so that it provides you with five different panels where you can place your widgets. There’s even a small icon at the top of the screen that shows you which panel you’re currently on as you slide between them. You also get some of Acer’s own widgets including the rotating media menu that’s been seen on the company’s previous Android handsets.
As ever with Android, setting up email is pretty straightforward as the handset has an easy to follow wizard that guides you through the process of entering the details it needs in order to be able to send and receive email from your account. In fact, if you use Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo mail all you really need to do is enter your username and password and the handset does the rest.