The Acer beTouch E400 Google Android 2.1 smartphone comes with some great features for younger users.
Acer’s beTouch E400 is a slimline Google Android 2.1 handset with a 3.2in touchscreen. It eschews hardware buttons on its front and instead relies on four sensor buttons. Unlocking the Acer involves sliding a finger across a marked area of the screen. The 115x59x12mm handset supports multitouch input. Browsing the web on its 3.2in (320x480) screen is a better experience than on the cramped 3in and 2.5in displays of the HTC and Xperia X10 handsets respectively.
We were less taken with the look of the Acer beTouch E400 than we might have been, though. Interchangeable coloured plates draw attention to the Android handset’s plasticky exterior, and we’re not sure the beTouch would withstand much wear and tear.
However, Acer seems to have designed the beTouch E400 with a youthful customer in mind. A ‘urFooz’ feature lets you create a virtual look-a-like, complete with profile details and bookmarks, then post it on social networks. The coloured LED backlights indicating missed calls and text messages also suggest a less business-orientated audience than most Google Android smartphones would appeal to.
Text entry using the onscreen qwerty keyboard proved frustrating when holding the Acer beTouch E400 vertically and we found ourselves making more mistakes than we did on the Sony Ericsson Xperia 10 and Samsung Galaxy S Google Android handsets. Things improved in landscape mode, but we still found the keys too close together.
Connectivity is great. Setting up email and wireless networking is very straightforward on the Acer beTouch E400 Google Android smartphone. Google Mail, POP and Imap email accounts are all supported. Another plus is the ability to view document attachments using Datawiz Documents To Go. You can import contacts from your SIM card (or from an SD card) and link them with email accounts, but there’s no option to associate Facebook, Twitter and IM software with them.
Navigation is straightforward, with the same multiscreen sweep approach found on the HTC Wildfire and Samsung Google Android handsets, but slightly clunkier access to the Settings menu. We really disliked some of the Acer beTouch E400's Live Wallpaper options, though.
The GPS function was reasonable, but far from precise, while more image adjustment for the 3.2Mp camera would have been welcome. Integration with the Google Android Marketplace app store is just right, with downloaded apps automatically appearing in the Acer beTouch E400's list of those available.
NEXT: our expert verdict >>
See also: Group test: what's the best smartphone?