Another disappointment is the fact the phone runs the older Cupcake (1.5) version of Android. However, Acer has at least customised this slightly. For example, there are five home screens rather than the standard three, with an indicator along the bottom to show you which screen you’re currently using. Acer has also added media and bookmark widgets that can sit on any of these homescreens and preloaded apps for Facebook and Twitter, along with an app called Spinlets that gives you access to a free, but quite limited music streaming service.
The big problem, however, is that the phone lacks the Android Market. This is because the E110 doesn’t meet the Open Handset Alliance minimum requirements (it doesn’t have a digital compass). As a result there’s no easy way to get third party applications onto the phone and you also miss out on useful apps like Googlemaps, which is very annoying and will probably be a deal breaker for many.
But at least with the apps that are preloaded the handset feels reasonably quick to use. It’s built around an ST Ericsson PNX6715 processor that’s clocked at 416MHz and this seems to be able handle Android 1.5 without too much stress. There’s 256MB of both ROM and RAM and for extra storage Acer also included a 2Gb microSD card in the box.
On the multimedia front the phone naturally has the standard Android music player, but Acer has also preloaded the Nemo Player which is a fairly decent media player that groups together your music, photos and videos under a single, easy to navigate interface. There’s also an FM tuner app for when you want to listen to the radio and although the supplied headphones are pretty poor, the presence of a standard headphone jack means it’s easy to swap them for your own cans. The camera is a pretty basic 3.0-megapixel affair that lacks both autofocus and a flash and while shots taken outdoors are passable, indoors its pretty hopeless unless there is lots of light in the room.
This phone does get the basics right as call quality was generally pretty good and the ear piece is nice and loud. Even the speaker phone performs pretty well as long as you don’t push it all the way to full volume. Battery life was also was pretty impressive for a handset in this price range as we got around two days out of it using it for a mix of calls and web browsing.
It’s difficult to know how to score the E110. On the one hand if you look on the handset as a feature phone rather than a smartphone (which is really how Acer is pitching the handset), it’s actually not a bad option as it’s easy to use, has a good range of features for the price and some impressive onboard apps. However, if you were to buy it thinking you’ll be getting a fully fledged Android smartphone we think you’d be pretty disappointed due to the low resolution screen, lack of Android Market and absence of Wi-Fi. So really, at the end of the day, it depends on how you’re planning to use the phone as to whether you’ll think it’s cheap and cheerful or cheap and nasty.