Acer CloudMobile Review

Introduction and Design

At long last, the Acer CloudMobile has arrived at our office, waiting to be subjected to our thorough review treatment. For those who have forgotten, this smartphone was announced right before MWC 2012 kicked off, or about 7 months ago. Back then, we got the chance to play with it for a while, and we were quite satisfied with what Acer had crafted – a pretty 4.3-incher with a potent processor, stunning display, and a built-in cloud service called AcerCloud. But after all that time, would the smartphone be competitive on the market now that other companies have identical offerings at a similar price point? Let's find out!

The box contains:

  • Wired stereo headset
  • Wall charger
  • Power outlet plug converter (market dependent)
  • microUSB cable
  • Product warranty information and quick start guide


Good job, Acer! You've managed to deliver a stylish smartphone that does not need to be the lightest, the thinnest, or the blingiest in the world in order to grab one's attention. Glass, metal, and plastic (not the dreadfully cheap kind, thank heavens) have been fused together creating a solid, high-quality device that is a pleasure to both hold and look at. But the good stuff does not end here.

You can compare the Acer CloudMobile with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The Acer CloudMobile has a textured, soft plastic back cover that is very resistant to fingerprints and feels nice to the touch, not to mention that it provides plenty of grip. The metal-made physical keys – the lock key on top and the volume rocker on the right side are well exposed and respond with an excellent click when pressed.

With a screen of this caliber, the Acer CloudMobile definitely isn't a handset that would fit in palms of lesser size, but we find its dimensions quite easy to get used to. Overall, it is about as big as a Samsung Galaxy S II or an LG Optimus L7 – chances are that once you get accustomed to its proportions, you won't have much troubles using it with a single thumb most of the time.


As you would expect from an IPS-LCD panel with HD resolution (720 by 1280 pixels), the screen on the Acer CloudMobile looks simply awesome. So many pixels have been packed across 4.3 inches of display real estate that graphics look incredibly smooth and detailed, while even the smallest of fonts can be read easily. Moreover, we are delighted to see that the screen delivers accurate colors that don't get distorted much when viewed at an angle. What we are a bit underwhelmed by, however, is that the brightness output of the display isn't sufficient to ensure comfortable use under direct sunlight.


Out of the box, the Acer CloudMobile runs a slightly customized version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Many visual elements have retained their stock form, such as the icons, the virtual Android buttons, and the way applications and widgets are organized in the app drawer.

The lock screen, however, has been replaced with a more sophisticated one that can host four shortcuts to applications of the user's choice. The drop-down notification bar is where toggle buttons for various connectivity features can be found, in addition to quick access to your alarm clock and the Play Music player. Some users might find this solution convenient, although we think that putting so much stuff up there is overkill. All in all, the interface on the Acer CloudMobile is okay as it mostly sticks to the stock Android experience, and the changes that have been introduced are likely to be of use to most consumers.

In terms of widgets, Acer has added just a few that you won't find on a stock Android device. Among them are the couple of pretty, compact weather widgets powered by AccuWeather, and the Facebook widget, which provides a list of restaurants and businesses around you.

We have no complaints about the stock Android on-screen keyboard as it is comfortable to use in both portrait and landscape modes. Furthermore, it can correct typos and add punctuation marks automatically. Those of you who prefer alternative input methods will be happy to know that New Swype comes pre-loaded, with intelligent next word prediction that keeps on adding new words to its dictionary as it is being used.


The Acer CloudMobile differentiates itself with the cloud features tightly integrated within the system. AcerCloud, as the service is called, synchronizes certain types of files across a master computer called the “Cloud PC” and up to 32 additional devices, such as computers of any make running Windows 7 and up, or any smartphone or tablet running Android 2.2 or later. Naturally, a client needs to be installed on the main computer in order for AcerCloud to work – a process takes just a few minutes while the download is free of charge. Once that is done, photos, videos, and music stored on the Cloud PC will be accessible from every other connected device, yet we have to highlight some restrictions that apply.

For example, music and video files are not physically in the cloud (unlike the case is with iCloud or Dropbox), meaning that accessing such content is only possible when the Cloud PC is turned on and connected to the web. In other words, audio and movies are streamed or copied directly from the PC they are stored on, not from Acer's servers. Therefore, one needs a very reliable internet connection not only for their smartphone, but also for their Cloud PC in order to enjoy the service at its fullest. Alternatively, content can be downloaded and stored on the smartphone itself for listening or watching offline.

Photos and documents, on the other hand, remain cached in the cloud for 30 days, (no storage limitations are present), so users can access them from any of their devices connected to AcerCloud. Photos taken with the Acer CloudMobile are automatically synchronized with the Cloud PC's gallery, which we find very convenient.

Long story short, AcerCloud is a more integrated, yet in many ways, less versatile than Dropbox, Box, SugarSync, and the likes. Rather, one can think of it as a less exciting version of Apple iCloud. Still, despite its limited functionality, the service has its advantages, such as the unlimited cloud storage it provides for photos and documents while letting one access their home multimedia library remotely. However, we can't really say that AcerCloud is truly the best option available since HTC is offering its latest Androids with 25GB of free Dropbox storage for 2 years, while Samsung and Sony offer a whopping 50GB with their high-end smartphones, via Dropbox and Box respectively.

Processor and memory:

We encountered no performance issues while testing out the Acer CloudMobile. The very capable Snapdragon S4 chip – MSM8260A running at 1.5GHz alongside 1GB of RAM, handled whatever we threw at it with ease, including the latest 3D games. Transitioning between screens is silky smooth and switching between applications happens in an instant. In case benchmark results matter to you, the scores that we got were above par.

Quadrant StandardAnTuTuNenaMark 2
Acer CloudMobile5312680757,1
HTC One S4867701260,7
Sony Xperia SL3218722937,4
Samsung Galaxy Nexus2000550324

Out of the 8GB of on-board storage offered by the CloudMobile, only 5.2GB are available to the user. That isn't a whole lot, so those who feel like they need extra storage are free to use a microSD card of up to 32GB.

Web browser and connectivity:

Google Chrome and the stock ICS web browser run great as well, just like all the other apps we tested on the Acer CloudMobile. Even heavy web pages are loaded and rendered quickly, with minimal delays while zooming in and out. Adobe Flash does not come installed, yet embedded YouTube videos are still playable.

All connectivity features one might expect are present on the Acer CloudMobile, including 3G, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and an FM radio with RDS. In addition, NFC is also on board, which could potentially allow one to use their handset for mobile payments. Connecting the smartphone to a computer is done via its microUSB port.


First the good news: the 8-megapixel camera on the Acer CloudMobile has a very wide field of view, allowing one to capture a bigger portion of the action (or the lack thereof) from up close. We are also happy to see that the shutter lag is virtually nonexistent, at least when shooting without the flash firing. Moreover, with burst mode enabled, one can capture 10 consecutive full-resolution photos in about a second, which is quite impressive.

However, the camera also has a few notable drawbacks. For starters, details in photos are okay, yet often not of the level we'd expect from a smartphone of this class. With the default settings, colors appear a tad more intense than they look in reality. Panorama mode and HDR have been added to the camera's feature set, but the results don't look pretty. But most importantly, pressing the shutter takes a photo instantly, regardless of whether the object is in focus or not. When shooting in low-light conditions, this may often result in blurry photos.

Videos can be taken at resolutions of up to 1080p at 30 frames per second. Overall, footage is of very decent quality and the continuous autofocus works quite well. We have to mention, however, that the audio in the sample videos we took sounded a bit digitized.

Acer CloudMobile Sample Video:

Acer CloudMobile Indoor Sample Video:


Using the Acer CloudMobile as a music player is a frustrating experience. Remember how we mentioned earlier that you could stream music from your Cloud PC? You can do that only using Acer's own music player, which lists the music that you've cached offline from the cloud and the audio available for streaming, together with locally stored albums,. The player itself isn't that bad, yet for some reason, Acer has forgotten to add controls on the lock screen and a home screen widget for convenience, which is very disappointing. Ironically, there are playback controls available in the drop-down notification bar, but they only work with the Play Music app – the default ICS audio player. However using Play Music instead of Acer's player doesn't cut the mustard as it is unable to access music downloaded from the cloud. A third-party player that we tried couldn't locate it either, so basically, you're stuck with Acer's half-baked music player.

Acer has implemented Dolby Mobile technology in its CloudMobile smartphone, thus supposedly enhancing the sound while the user is listening to music or watching video. But just as the case is with Beats Audio found on HTC handsets, the sound isn't necessarily improved. In a nutshell, modern genres like Pop or R&B sound more engaging as the bass, treble, and the track's overall loudness are being boosted, yet while listening to our favorite AC/DC albums, we preferred turning Dolby Mobile off.

The video player that Acer has provided allows streaming content from your Cloud PC, as we previously noted. Other than that, it doesn't offer any advanced features, and its interface is pretty ordinary. Videos of various formats, such as MPEG4 and XviD are supported at resolutions up to 1080p, but DivX files cannot be played.

Call quality:

Call quality with the Acer CloudMobile is average at best. The earpiece is surely loud enough, but the voice tones it emits are so muffled that we weren't always sure what the other party was saying. On the other side of the line, the majority of the background noise is filtered by the secondary microphone, but that results in voices sounding noticeably artificial. We cannot omit mentioning that the handset supports the HD voice standard, but one will notice an improvement in call quality only if their carrier also supports the feature.

Battery life:

What we know is that the Acer CloudMobile is equipped with a 1,460mAh removable battery. What we don't know is how long it should last on a single charge as the maker has not disclosed any figures yet.


Although Acer is a name that rarely gets mentioned when Android smartphones are concerned, the CloudMobile is a handset that deserves attention. Without a doubt, it is among the better-looking devices we've reviewed lately. Performance-wise, we have nothing to complain about at all as the dual-core chip handles any task without breaking a sweat. Not to be forgotten is the handset's very competitive pricing – down to about $460 in some markets, meaning that you get lots of bang for your buck.

AcerCloud, however, was a bit of a disappointment, so if you're looking for the best cloud-based service available on a smartphone today, better look elsewhere. Several other makers are willing to give you plenty of storage space for any kind of files with the purchase of their best Android smartphones, so an HTC, Samsung, or a Sony handset could be a worthy alternative to the Acer CloudMobile.

Speaking of alternatives, here are the smartphones you might also want to check out before getting the Acer CloudMobile: the Sony Xperia SL can be found at a similar price and also has a pretty, high-resolution touchscreen. The HTC One S targets a similar price point, and although its screen is inferior in some ways, its sports a fancy aluminum chassis and comes with free 25GB of cloud storage for 2 years. From Motorola one can get the RAZR M or the RAZR i, which are compact 4.3-inchers with good performance and outstanding design. Not to be forgotten is the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which comes with an even bigger HD display, the latest version of Android – 4.1 Jelly Bean, and an equally competitive price tag.

Software version of the reviewed unit:
Android version: Android 4.0.4
Build number: Acer_AV043_S5001.044.00_EMEA_FR

Acer CloudMobile Review:


  • Great design
  • High resolution display
  • Good performance


  • The camera's autofocus is fiddly
  • Music player needs lots of work
  • Streaming music or video with AcerCloud can be tricky

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