Acer is now the fourth largest PC maker in the world, but it hasn’t managed to recreate that kind of success in the world of mobiles. Sure, it has launched some decent phones in the past such as the Liquid Mini and Liquid Metal, but it's been quite a long time since an Acer phone crossed our reviews desk. Now, however, the CloudMobile S500 has dropped out of the sky and into our laps. It's essentially mid-range Android handset with a dual core 1.5Ghz processor and a high resolution 4.3inch screen. However, the mid-range Android market is pretty crowded at the moment, so can the S500 muscle its way in?
First impression of the phone are very good as it's by far the best looking handset Acer has ever produced. The company has managed to take some of the style that its laptops have become known for and transfer it across to this mobile. In fact it's one of the best looking Android phones we've seen in a while. Key to its good looks are the curved, metallic end plates at the top and bottom of the phone, its slim dimensions and the dimpled pattern on the rubberised battery cover.
Interestingly the S500 doesn't have any touch buttons beneath the screen. Instead they're just integrated into the display so they change orientation when you flip the phone from portrait to landscape mode. In fact, the phone only has two physical buttons - the power button, which also doubles as a lock switch, and the volume rocker switch. The former has been sited on the top of the phone across from the standard 3.5mm headphone jack, while the latter sits on the right hand edge.
Unlike most Android phones, the microUSB port if found on the left hand side rather than at the bottom. Naturally it's used for charging and syncing the phone with your computer, but it's also an MHL compatible, so if you buy an adaptor (for around a fiver from eBay) you can output video to a TV via HDMI. We tried it with a generic MHL adaptor and it worked without any problems. It mirrors what's shown on the internal display to the TV, but if you play a video it'll output it in full 1080p HD to your telly.
Prise off the cover on the rear and you'll find that there's a removable battery inside, as well as a microSD card slot. This accepts cards of up to 32GB in size allowing you to boost the phone's internal 8GB of memory. The S500 also uses a microSIM slot, so if you haven’t had your Sim card chopped down yet, you'll need to get this done to use this handset.