The mobile phone industry has been flooded with a huge array of Windows based smartphones which all seem to be variations on a theme and not hugely different from one another. With high profile companies leading the way, such as HTC, bringing in new features such as larger integrated touch screens, rivalling companies need to respond. In the past this was done with the addition of extra features that are supposed to maximise the user experience but in all truth for the last few years, many phones have been incredibly similar.
Enter Acer, a company which has, before now, been very computer orientated and excelled in the netbook and laptop era, has decided to enter the smartphone fray. Their first product – the DX900 – has, besides others, one very exciting feature that has not yet been fully explored – dual SIM compatibility.
Previously this feature has only been available on a select few phones; unfortunately those with it have often been poor quality products and so the concept of dual SIMs is yet to be fully exploited.
Acer hopes that the DX900 will be a sure fire hit but the amount of consumers who are actually looking for dual SIM functionality is likely to be a small minority. With this in mind, can Acer still produce a phone which warrants purchase using just a single SIM card?
Clove Technology, based in Bournemouth, but servicing the whole of the world, has grown rapidly since its launch and has much customer loyalty. We firmly believe that our whole success is based on the service and help which we offer and hope to remain a flexible, young, dynamic company – now with the financial strength which 14 years’ successful trading has brought.
Many thanks must go to Clove Technology for providing the Smartphone for review for more information on the Acer DX900 and a chance to buy it please click on this link.
- Dual SIM Capability – One for work and one for personal
- Windows Mobile 6.1
- MicroSD Slot
- 2.8″ VGA Display
- 3.0 Megapixel Camera
- Front facing VGA Camera
- In Built GPS Receiver
- TV Out Functionality
Acer DX900 Specifications
- Operating System -Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
- Processor -Samsung S3C 6400 533 MHz Processor
- Memory -ROM: 256 MBRAM: 128 MB
- Display -2.8″ VGA (468×640) colour transflective TFT
- Operating Frequency -SIM Slot 1 HSDPA / UMTS ( 2100 / 1900 / 850 MHz )Quad-Band GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
- SIM Slot 2 GSM 900/1800/1900
- Expansion -microSD
- Connectivity -USB 2.0mini-USBBluetooth 2.0 + EDRWiFi 802.11b, 802.11g
- GPS -Embedded SiRF Star III chipset
- Camera -Built-in 3.0 mega pixels Auto-Focus CMOS camera, up to 2048 x 1536 resolution0.3 mega pixels Fixed-Focus CMOS camera for conference call usage
- Interface/Audio -Built-in microphone and speaker, external stereo headset jack, hands-free mode supported
- Interface/Data -Composite TV out support
- Ergonomic Design -Touch screen for stylus or fingertip, navigation button, power button, send/end button, record button and volume control.
- Software (Pre-Loaded) -Windows Mobile 6.1 ProfessionalMicrosoft Office Outlook Mobile (Calendar, Contacts, Tasks and Inbox)PictureNotesMicrosoft Office Mobile (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote)Internet Explorer MobileActiveSyncCalculatorGame (Solitaire, Bubble Breaker)Voice Recorder, MSNR MessengerWindows LiveWindows Media Player 10Direct Push TechnologyGetting Started
- Acer Exclusive Applications -Phone Tools – Phone Application, Phone Setting, SIM Toolkit, Speed Dial, Communication Manager, CSD Type, Voice Commander*, Connection Wizard, SMS Sender, SIM Manager, Video Telephony, dual-SIM contact (*subject to change by region)Multimedia Tools: Camera, Camcorder, MMS composer, Album(, *subject to change by region)Utilities: SPB Mobile shell, Battery Meter, Scenario, Backup Utility, Namecard Manager, Gravity sensor, Light sensor, TV out, Memory optimization, Default Setting, Application Recovery, System informationGPS Tools: Satellite Data Update(Not supported in USA), GPS viewer, Location SMS
- Battery -Removable 1530 mAh
- Dimensions -106(L) x 60.5 (W) x 17(H) millimetres
- Weight -147 grams (battery included)
Contents & Packaging
The box for the Acer DX900 is very enticing; the black background gives rise to a large, lit-up image of the Smartphone on the front with the Acer logo in white and of course it wouldn’t be complete without a little mention of the ‘Dual-SIM design’.
The back is home to the facts on all of the different features from the camera to the internal components. A number of translations are displayed too.
The sides also have some interesting visuals displaying different screens on the phone.
Now we come on to the tonne of accessories included with the DX900:
- 2 Manuals
- User Manual CD
- Getting Started CD
- Additional Stylus
- USB cable
The case is a nice idea for protecting the screen when carrying the phone around and the extra stylus will always come in handy.
Unfortunately, my real gripe comes with the headphones; they have a 2.5mm jack. WHY?! The most common mini-jack is by far the 3.5mm and so for any user wanting to use a different set of headphones they must first purchase an adapter.
The Acer DX900
Looking at the device for the first time, it does not immediately leap out at you yet nor is it unattractive. The rubberised finish combines nicely with the shiny plastic coating around the edge of the VGA screen and would seem to have been designed with practicality in mind rather than style.
Embedded in the centre is the 2.8”, 480×640 resolution VGA screen and the whole device is perfectly proportioned so as to fit nicely into the palm of one’s hand. Despite the somewhat bulky or chunky exterior, the Acer DX900 is actually pretty lightweight with a net weight (including the battery) of 147g.
The back of the phone is home to the 3.0 megapixel camera lens complete with LED flash and mirror, and, adjacent to it, dual loudspeakers.
Asides from the same smooth finish, the only other thing worth noting at the back is the small windows logo reminding everyone that yes, this phone does use the Windows Mobile version 6.1 operating system.
A number of ports are located around the design: one side has the volume keys, a programmable smart key and the 2.5mm headphone jack (don’t get me started on that again) whilst the other is home to the microSDHC card slot, the camera shutter button, power button and finally the system reset button.
Finally for connecting the phone to a computer or for charging it, there is a small port at the bottom.
The stylus is length adjustable ensuring that it fits neatly into the side of the Smartphone but is long enough to use – fully extended it’s about the same length as the DX900.
To gain access to the SIM card slots and battery, the back simply slides off, maybe a little too easily but nonetheless well enough. Inside we have the dual SIM card slots at the top although only one is 3G with the other being 2G.
The battery then just fits in over the top; a small tape at the bottom of the battery is a very thoughtful inclusion though allowing much easier removal.
Screen & Interface
The 2.8” LCD touch screen on the Acer DX900 is bright and clear enough to see and render pictures. In regards to the touch screen, the resistance seems to have been set to about the right level although you do get the occasion moment where it sticks.
The DX900 uses the Spb’s Sub shell system to hide the Window’s origin as seen below.
This menu is much less fiddly and should let the user navigate around the system with their thumb more than the stylus. In reality this is partly true but I did find that it sometimes selects the wrong thing when using your thumb – the stylus is much more accurate.
The keypad is also not brilliant. It does the job but the stylus has to be used as the keys are simply not big enough and there is not an option to make them big enough for use with your thumb which makes typing somewhat of a pain.
The interface is by no means the fastest when it comes to navigating around it but it’s not a bad attempt. The 522 MHz processor and 128MB of RAM do a decent job in truth and there isn’t much of a delay when you select a particular program.
Acer DX900 Features
The crowning glory of this particular smartphone is unquestionably the dual SIM functionality which effectively gives the user the ability to combine two phones into one handset. Swapping from SIM to SIM is very easy and can be done at the touch of a button.
The DX900 will surely attract those with separate work and personal phones as this feature allows them to combine both but still keep all information very separate.
Even different ring tones can be selected for each SIM so you know exactly what voice you need to put on – be it your business voice or your family voice!
The magnitude of the camera comes in at a respectable 3.0 megapixels; clearly this isn’t massive with many camera phones now well over 5 megapixels but it’s in the acceptable category.
Quick shots are made even better by the fast LED flash light and a number of different settings make this camera much more than just quick snapshot camera. The 3x multishots are useful for taking motion pictures or the effects are fun to play around with.
The video is actually very good allowing recordings at a maximum resolution of 640×480 pixels although fast movements did often end up in a bit of a blur.
The connectivity of the Acer DX900 is A+ with a HSDPA 3G fast internet connection at a speed of 7.2Mbps. The Wi-Fi is both fast and easy to use which makes for excellent usage when on the move. The default browser is Internet Explorer, not my personal favourite, but it handles fine and others, such as Opera, are available.
However, due to only the first SIM being 3G, the 7.2Mbps HSDPA and quad-based GSM is only available to the first SIM connection.
Naturally, the default media player is Windows Media Player what with it being a Windows-based Smartphone and there are a few tracks that come with the phone not that they were particularly brilliant.
The 258MB of onboard memory does not give a great deal of room on the phone for extra tracks to be transferred from a computer and so I would recommend purchasing an additional memory card if you play to make this your mp3 player as well as your phone – up to a 32GB card can be inserted into the microSDHC card slot.
In regards to the headphones they are not brilliant it has to be said and although it does require an adapter, a different set will immediately increase the sound quality.
Acer DX900 Battery life
Unfortunately, this is one area that is really not good. Although the Acer DX900 is a very high spec phone, a day’s usage would usually drain the battery and thus require charging every single evening.
In my experience, other Smartphones are far more efficient in this respect but I suppose it doesn’t matter too much as a long as you are able to recharge regularly.
CostAt a shade under £400, the Acer DX900 isn’t exactly cheap but then I have yet to see a Smartphone that is and with this model you effectively get two for the price of one with the dual SIMs.
The Acer DX900 has impressed us with many of its features: the 3.0 megapixel camera takes good pictures and although it doesn’t have the multitude of effects and extras that some phones can offer, the basics are done well.
The connectivity, Wi-Fi and internet on the Acer DX900 were all triumphs allowing for fast speeds and easy usage. Again, little extras like the microSDHC card slot and of course the dual SIM functionality all makes the Acer DX900 even better. The phone sits into the palm of your hand well and the rubberised texture makes it very comfortable.
Of course there are some things that aren’t done so well: the phone is a little bulky, the keypad isn’t great and having to use the stylus on pretty much all programs. Some of these things you would clearly get used to though so in truth they are not such big problems.
Overall, the DX900 is a very competent and exciting phone. It might not have the latest technology in some respects but the dual SIM functionality makes this phone stand out from the crowd and offer the user that something extra that not many phones can. I am very tempted to make this my next phone…
- 3.0 megapixel camera
- Takes up to a 32GB microSDHC card
- Fits into your palm
- Dual SIMs
- Slightly bulky
- 2.5mm headphone jack
Thanks go to Clove Technology for providing the Smartphone for review.