Acer F900 Review

Introduction and Design
This is a global GSM phone. It can be used with AT&T and T-Mobile USA.


Since the beginning of written history, there have always been people or entities trying to conquer the world and smartphones make for a genuine “threat”. A growing number of surveys indicate that smartphones are becoming increasingly widespread and the trend is to accelerate in the coming years. In this train of thought, it can be expected that manufacturers that haven’t come up with their own smart devices yet will try luck. Acer makes for an illustrative example. Their Windows Mobile handsets didn’t take long to roll out after the company took over Eten and now the rumor has it that Android-based cell phones are to follow soon.

Acer´s smartphone range includes four devices as of now, with the F900 being one of the most technologically advanced of them. It´s equipped with 3.8-inch WVGA screen and personalized Acer Shell running on Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional. What is in the box?

•    Textile case
•    Earphones
•    USB cable
•    Wall charger
•    2 software CDs
•    Screen protector
•    Extra stylus
•    User manual


The Acer F900 is bulky. Come to sheer size, even Notorious B.I.G. and Bizarre can´t hold a candle to the Acer´s heavyweight champion. Speaking of the former two, we think Notorious the movie is shaking on full screen and we do recommend that you shell out a few bucks and go see it. Erm, what we mean is “normal” theaters with even larger screens than the F900, which also features an impressive display that measures 3.8 inches and comes with resolution of 480x800 pixels. It has really good sensitivity for a Windows Mobile device and we didn’t encounter any issues with it. Image quality is less striking, because colors don’t gradate smoothly, due to the limited color support - 65k and what´s even worse, direct sunlight turns it into a flawless mirror. That´s how we, your humble reviewers, found out we in desperate need of a shave, although the phone failed to deliver any other useful information.

You can compare the Acer F900 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

There are four touch sensitive keys below the screen that glow in blue and the phone gives pronounced vibration feedback when you press any of them. Their functions are (right to left) – send, start menu, OK/X and end key and we can say the lack of hardware buttons on the front side does contribute to a more simple, elegant overall look.

The handy volume rocker is on the right hand side and it can also be used to scroll up and down the phone menus. There is a small button to activate on-screen selection, nestled between the two buttons of the volume rocker. Both the microSD slot and camera shutter are here as well. The latter has good travel and feels easy to press. The comfy power on/off button and the miniUSB port are on the opposite side of the device.

Acer F900 360 Degrees View:


Despite being a newcomer to the cell phone business, Acer has managed to come up with something nice and new – the Acer Shell. The most distinguishing feature of the Windows Mobile 6.1 personalization pack is its virtual 3D office. The on-screen desk hosts up to 12 widgets that are displayed as typical workspace objects – wall calendar, photograph frame, desk telephone, music player etc. and aside from being shortcuts to certain applications, they also provide extra information. Say, the digits appearing on the phone will show the number of missed calls. All items can be freely rearranged and become smaller if placed “farther” in depth, creating a nicely looking 3D effect. If you think the home screen is somewhat eccentric, you can change over to a normal icon menu that spans over several pages. They are easily switched between by as much as sliding your finger up or downwards. Please, read our review of the Acer X960 if you would like to know more about Acer Shell. As a whole, we are really pleased with the interface. It offers similar functionality to the HTC TouchFLO 3D and its appealing look makes up for the slightly increased complexity of use.

You will see the elderly face of Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional anytime you navigate out of Acer Shell. Although well on in years, the operating system still delivers many options when it comes to keeping your daily grind organized, following emails or providing decent contacts functionality. The Acer F900 sports a personalized screen keyboard that, thanks to the large keys, feels quite handy to use.

We do recommend that you put the secret power of smartphone to good use… You don´t have a clue? Come closer and we will whisper the clandestine truth into your ear… You can install additional programs! So, make a good use of the feature, find a decent browser (we personally prefer Opera and Skyfire) and get the beauty of the Internet onto the huge screen of the Acer F900. The handset comes preloaded with Internet Explorer 6 that now supports flash content, but is still rather far from being comfy to use. The phone also supports HSDPA 3.6Mbit/s and Wi-Fi and the good news is it´s a global GSM device, meaning it will work on AT&T and T-Mobile in the US, although 3G functionality is only available on the former network.

Camera and Multimedia:

Similarly to the Acer X960, the F900 features a 3.2-megapixel camera with autofocus and flash. We are slightly annoyed to see it´s rather sluggish, taking about 5 seconds to start and another 6 to focus and save an image. On the other hand, its interface has been altered and now really resembles a Samsung´s creation – icons are large, easy to press and despite appearing in only one color, do look nice. Your confirmation on selecting options is mandatory, which slows you down, but on the other hand there is no way you inadvertently select things that you don´t mean to. The interface itself offers many settings and almost all of them are available via the on-screen view finder – camera mode (photo, video, geotagging, sequence shooting of up to 9 frames, MMS video), image resolution, effects, white balance, self-portrait and flash. We rather like that all effects are available in video shooting mode. The device captures video content at resolution of 640x480 pixels. Now, let´s take a closer look at quality.

As a whole, the Acer F900 delivers decent image quality and performs way better than the X960. Colors are more realistically reproduced, but white tends to look burned out here and there. Details are slightly blurrier than in snapshots taken with the affordable Sony Ericsson C510 Cyber-shot, but outdoor pictures are OK on the overall. Details tend to get even blurrier in images taken indoors, due to increased level of picture noise, plus camera begins to struggle focusing. The built-in flash is a bit weak and definitely not up to the task of providing proper lighting to surrounding objects. Videos are virtually the same as on the X960 – blurry with muffled audio tracks.

The Acer F900 copes well in terms of video playback, at least when compared to most Windows Mobile devices (except for most Omnia series phones that support both DivX and Xvid). We managed to play MP4/H.264 coded videos with resolution width of up to 640 pixels, but image artifacts began to appear at greater resolutions. Only Xvid videos wouldn´t play, but those coded with DivX ran smoothly, although content with resolution about 720x640 pixels turned out virtually unplayable. We tried to use CorePlayer, so we could provide for increased video format support, including Xvid. Unfortunately, the things remained pretty much the same. DivX/Xvid videos played smoothly at resolution width of up to 320 pixels, but you would still experience heavy stuttering with 640x720 pixel coded content, even if less pronounced than in Windows Media Player.


The Acer F900 utilizes a Samsung SC3 6410 processor running at 533 MHz and is equipped with 128MB RAM. As a whole, it performs well and we didn’t encounter any hang-ups. Several menu transitions stuttered unpleasantly, but we guess we must be spoilt by the iPhone, Palm Pre and LG S-CLASS 3D interface implementations. Our only major gripe relates to the inadequately working accelerometer that showed a tendency to switch the screen and just wouldn’t revert, so we kept it turned off most of the time.

Sound quality has left us… lost in thought. As far as we know, people use even the most technologically advanced smartphones to… talk. The response we most often got while speaking on the Acer F900 was “For goodness sakes, don´t call again from that handset, ever, please!” Why? People claimed they were able to hear their own voices, while ours had a truly sharp and unrealistic ring to them. Moreover, voices sounded frighteningly monotonous and mechanical on our end, as if it was robots we were speaking with. Much like the terminators have finally managed to take over the world and Christian Bale is nowhere in sight.

The battery is relatively weak – according to the manufacturer it provides about 4 hrs of continuous talk and 150 hrs in standby. The phone hardly managed to make it through a single day during our tests that involved about 20 min of talks, less than 40 minutes of browsing the Internet via Wi-Fi and some playing with the interface.


As a whole, the Acer F900 makes for a decent Windows Mobile smartphone, delivering in-call quality that can be best described as fair to middling. Its most attractive aspect is the huge display, which paired with a quality web browser would let you relish an awesome internet experience. Still, take a look at the HTC Touch HD that offers similar functions, wrapped up in a different interface. If you feel like watching videos on a device with a huge display, we think you might be better off waiting up on the Samsung Omnia II I8000 and OmniaPRO B7610.

Acer F900 Video Review:


  • 3.8-inch screen with WVGA resolution
  • Acer Shell looks cool
  • Decent performance speed


  • Appalling in-call quality
  • Direct sunlight turns display into immaculate mirror
  • Weak battery
  • Heavy stuttering with high resolution videos

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