Acer X960 Review

Acer Shell interface and functionality:

However, just after the example of most cell phone manufacturers, we are going to hold out on the presentation of the most important thing for a while. Let us tell you about the operating system first. It is Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional and its key features are great functionality for business users and excruciatingly uncomfortable interface when it comes to using your fingers. If you have ever had anything to do with it, you must have noticed both its miniature icons that are a real pain the back to press, and the unattractive overall interface. So, this is why manufactures fall over backwards to provide their own unique personalization to replace at least the typical home screen of the system with something more agreeable.

In this line of thought, Acer Shell is perhaps one of the best personalization packs we have ever seen. It may lack the polished look of HTC´s TouchFLO, but still, it´s quite likeable and offers more than decent functionality. It has two separate home screens that you switch between by sliding your finger up or down. The first one is merely a list of icons that spreads on several pages, but the real power of the Acer X960 interface lies with the second one – the virtual 3D office. 

Although the 3D office features only two colors – blue and grey, it looks friendly and using it comes in really easy. As we mentioned, its purpose is to recreate your own environment at work and it depends on you if it is tidy or messy. How come? You have 11 different objects that are actually mini apps, plus a window that shows whether it´s day or night and leads you to the weather forecast screen. On the wall and to your left of the window is located the object that shows the carrier´s name, current date and time. Pressing it gets you to your personalized world watch that pinpoints the location of the city you are in onto a 3D model of the Earth.

Most shortcuts are right on your desk. You can place any object here, except for the latter two we told you about, with the most important of them being a telephone that lets you see all recent calls, open letter that gets you to your personalized email inbox, calendar, sealed envelope with information about your messages, futuristic CD player, etc. Your 3D office space is divided into three separate sections and there is a shelf in the right most one, where you can store up to three single objects.

Placing objects in different locations is performed in a standard manner – hold your finger pressed against the screen to enter arrangement mode. The cool thing is objects get smaller when you move them farther into the background and vice versa, which creates the actual 3D effect. Extra room that allows you to store objects you don´t use is available at the bottom of your screen.

We are extremely pleased with the Acer Shell interface. It is functional and you will almost never need to leave it to dive into the unfathomable depths of Windows Mobile. The level of personalization is the same as what HTC´s TouchFLO delivers. It may be a tiny bit more difficult to use, but looks better.

Camera and multimedia:

The Acer X960 sports a 3.2-megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash, but honestly, we didn´t expect much of it. The several snapshots we took revealed a situation that could have been much worse though. Pictures taken outdoors look decently with colors being somewhat warmer than normal. Unfortunately, the built-in LED flash wasn´t up to its task and proved to be almost useless in dark places. The problem is the camera tries to focus on the object while the LED flash fails to light up the scene properly, so the final result is blurry images. Still, the camera is pretty usable in other conditions, especially thanks to the fact it´s lighting fast. 

We are pretty unhappy with the video capture function. The maximum resolution is 640x480 pixels, but the videos are rather blurry and the sound is muffled to the point of being inaudible.

Alongside of other Windows mobile phones, the video player is a decent performer. We managed to play MP4/H.264 coded videos with width of up to 640 pixels, since image artifacts began to appear at greater resolutions. Xvid videos wouldn´t play, but those coded with DivX ran smoothly and without issues at resolutions of up to 320x240 pixels, since anything above renders them virtually unusable.


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  • Display 2.8" 480 x 640 pixels
  • Camera 3.2 MP
  • Battery 1530 mAh(4.00h talk time)

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