As with Acer’s E101, this handset is powered by a Qualcomm MSM7225 processor that ticks over at 528MHz. It’s a long way from the sheer brute force of the 1GHz Snapdragon CPU used on Acer’s S200, but the processor does do a decent job of keeping everything running at a fair pace even when you’ve got a couple of applications open at the same time. In terms of memory you get 512MB of ROM and 256MB of RAM, which isn’t bad for a budget model and you can add extra storage space using cheap microSD cards if needed.
However, it’s in its range of connectivity options that this phone falls flat. Although it’s quad-band and supports HSDPA for fast data access on the move, there’s no Wi-Fi, which is a bit of a deal killer for us, especially as many of the ‘unlimited’ mobile data packages from carriers actually have relatively low data download allowances. Certainly, we’d much rather be able to connect a handset to Wi-Fi when we’re at home or in the office for video streaming or web browsing. Nevertheless, there is onboard GPS, although it was a tad slow to get a lock on our position, and Bluetooth is present for use with headsets or just for transferring files wirelessly to other phones or PCs.
The handset uses Microsoft’ new Windows Phone (v6.5) operating system, which is a bit more finger-friendly than v6.1. We like its new lock screen as it allows you to quickly check for missed calls or incoming emails without having to delve into a load of sub menus, and the new and more straightforward scrolling Start screen also works well. However, there are still too many fiddly dialogue boxes and menus hidden about the place so Microsoft has a long way to go before it matches the straightforward nature of the iPhone OS or Android operating systems. Also, Acer hasn’t customised it in the way that HTC does with its TouchFlo interface. Instead all Acer has done is create its own Today screen with a number of shortcuts to commonly used apps. We weren’t big fans of this and soon turned it off and used the more impressive, native Windows Phone Today screen instead.
The handset isn’t too bad a performer when it comes to battery life. We got around two days from it for moderate usage for calls, GPS and a bit of web browsing. Some of Acer’s other handsets haven’t been great when it comes to call quality, but thankfully the E200 isn’t affected by those issues. Its ear piece is pretty loud and delivers crisp sound while the mic also does a good job of producing clear and distinct audio.