Acer has recently unleashed a wad of new Window Phones on the market. We've already looked at two of these: the impressive S200, and rather less remarkable E101. Now it's the turn of the E200 which differs from the other models, and most other Windows Phones on the market, by having a slide-out keypad.
As its £230 asking price indicates the E200 is designed to slide in somewhere towards the budget end of the smartphone market. However, in terms of looks it's a much more striking handset than Acer's other budget offering, the E101. It measures 110 x 53.5 x 15.4mm and is available in either black or white, with both variations sporting an attractive sliver band that runs right around the edge of the phone. This more modern styling certainly makes it the most attractive looking handset Acer has produced so far. But it's not just the looks that impress, as this is also Acer's best handset in terms of build quality. Thanks to its smooth and stable feel the sliding mechanism is every bit as sturdy as the best slider designs from Sony Ericsson and Nokia, plus the rest of the chassis also feel impressively solid and robust.
Nevertheless, for most people the keypad will be a rather redundant feature. Seeing as the handset has a pretty large 3in colour touchscreen there isn't really much need to slide the keypad open to make calls or tap our text messages as you can use the onscreen keypad or virtual keyboard to achieve the same results (especially as the small keys on the slide out pad are more suited to those with daintier fingers). Nevertheless, some people prefer the tactile feel of real keys for number and text entry so it will still have its fans.
As with the majority of Window Phones currently on the market this one is still stuck with a resistive rather than a capacitive touchscreen display. It's reasonably responsive to finger presses, but as you would expect it's not anywhere near as good as the capacitive screens seen on the iPhone or HTC Touch HD2 in this regards.
In fact the display isn't all that much cop as it's got a pretty low resolution of just 240 x 320 pixels, so you can expect to have to scroll around a lot when trying to view web pages or documents. Nevertheless, it's a good deal better than the screen Acer lumbered the poor old E101 with, as this one doesn't suffer from the same blurring issue when dealing with fast motion, such as quickly scrolling up and down in the Start menu. It's also a tad brighter and as a result colours are a bit lively and more natural looking. Still, in a direct comparison with something like the screen on the low cost O2 Xda Zest it comes off second best in terms of brightness and colour reproduction, which is disappointing as that handset is getting on a bit now.