We headed to Acer's booth at MWC with a sense of excitement - Acer still feels like the new kid on the block when it comes to smartphones and maybe that's what allows it to make some bold moves. And bold the Acer ICONIA SMART is – with a screen of 4.8 inches with half XGA resolution of 480 x 1024, it stands out among all other offerings just by its size.
Its huge screen puts it somewhere in between a tablet and a phone, but its narrow body gives it a “phone” look. The sleek and stylish unibody stainless steel casing give it a premium feel. It certainly shows that Acer has put significant effort in the design of its handsets, but unfortunately we just couldn't quite get used to the phone's overblown dimensions. The ICONIA SMART looks like your common smartphone when it comes to width, but heightwise it is the mount Everest of smartphones. It is pretty heavy as well at approximately 6.52 ounces (185 grams). We can imagine it more as an entertainment device – it has a 21:9 panoramic ratio, excellent for watching movies on the go. At such a size the TFT screen inevitably becomes not only the main selling point of the device, but also a part of the design. That's why we appreciated its great viewing angles. While it may lack in color vibrancy in comparison to Super LCD and Super AMOLED Plus, it delivers beautiful bright colors.
Under the hood, we have a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 CPU and 512MB of RAM. Such horsepower is welcome for the big screen and Android Gingerbread's needs. Acer is expected to skin the device with its own custom UI, which looks similar to the Breeze UI we saw previously on handsets like the Acer Liquid Metal.
Another advantage of having a 4.8-inch
is having more space for... you guessed it right – typing. Indeed,
the landscape QWERTY on the ICONIA SMART feels spacious. And Acer
brings its own unified messaging application where you have all the
SMS and MMS messages displayed along with your Facebook and Twitter
communication. Connectivity is well covered with Wi-Fi b/g/n and up to 14.4Mbps download rates via HSDPA. Unfortunately, when browsing we found the text to be usually too small to read without zooming in landscape mode, so this scraps one of the main advantages of the phone. The browser supports Flash.
We mentioned the entertaining qualities of Acer's flagship, but we have to add on the 6-axis motion controls (gyroscope and accelerometer that is). Add to this the HDMI-out port and DLNA support on the ICONIA SMART, and we can imagine a few ways to use it as a gamepad on an HD TV screen. Finally, this could also be handy for viewing photos taken with the 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash. It supports 720p HD video recording, while on the front you have a 2-megapixel snapper perfect for video chats. Finally, with news for the handset coming out somewhere around April/May, we can't help but cross our fingers in anticipation.