The F900's operating system is Windows 6.1 Pro and there's no need to dwell too long on its pros and cons. On the upside you get Windows Office Mobile and easy PC connection and synchronisation but, on the downside, it’s an ageing and fiddly OS cursed with a reprehensible web browser and limited media player.
User Acer Shell 'office' on the left for free or opt for Spb's carousel on the right, but at a cost
Like the DX900, the F900 is powered by a Samsung S3C 6410 533MHz processor, which has 128Mb of RAM available. It’s a set up that powered the DX900 at a decent enough clip, but it seemed to struggle a bit in the F900. We reckon a lot of that is down to a combination of Acer's flash new graphical front end and the larger screen.
When we first saw Acer Shell on the X960 we were fairly impressed. We liked the three-page ‘office & desk’ widget layout and the animated weather and clock screens. You also get a handy Quick Launch menu that you can populate with short cuts to up to 36 programmes, a useful zoom function that expands all the icons in the status bar and a rather fine virtual keyboard that allows for easy typing without recourse to the stylus.
Unfortunately, on the F900 the Acer Shell home screen just isn't quick or fluid enough to be truly satisfying and occasionally it would ‘stick’. On one occasion we tapped the 'back' soft-button three times – all of which registered – before anything actually happened. Acer Shell is also pretty memory hungry – just look at the phone’s task manager and you will see available system memory drop by around 20MB when it's running, which only leaves about the same again for the rest of your applications.
Agreed, Acer Shell certainly looks nicer than the version of Spb's Mobile Shell fitted to the DX900 but it simply doesn't work as quickly and, given the choice, we'd take the quick but dull over the impressive looking but tardy. Did we say dull? Spb's new version of Mobile Shell is actually very far from dull - the 3D virtual carousel is fast and visually attractive and the new widget system makes it supremely adaptable.
Application shortcuts menu and keyboard input
We loaded up Spb's Mobile Shell v3.0 and have to say we'd use it as the UI and unload Acer Shell from the Today menu, which still lets you use Acer's bespoke virtual keyboard and music player, both of which we like. Life would be simpler, and the F900 a better device, if Acer had just loaded it with the new Spb application to start with. Still, see for yourself, Spb can be installed as a 30-day trial or just go the whole hog for $30.
Who wouuld buy this?
This phone seems pretty irrelevant, as it still can't do things now which the iPhone perfected 2-3 years ago. Are MS/Asus on a go-slow or something? Somebody seriously needs to put a bullet in this ridiculous OS which just makes MS and all who use it look incompetant. Whilst I used an HTC TYTN for about a year, I would never try and kid myself that it approaches a Blackberry let alone an iPhone, nor would I buy another WiMo device - Using one has convinced me that it lacks any redeeming features. Badly built, utterly overcomplicated and cluttered interface, unusable 3g and Wireless, rubbish camera, sluggish phone calls, unresponsive squidgy touch screen, old-fashioned stylus, dropped phone calls, zero design with its brick-like demeanour and the list goes on. Its simply obsolete in its current form. Who needs such buggy memory ineffcient multi tasking? Who outside of the IT industry exactly buys a phone then expects to replace the shell or the media player before it becomes usable? How can such an ergonimically bereft and fidddly OS be described as being remotely flexible? If the iPhone should have taught MS/Asus anything, its that very few people buy their devices, and even fewer enjoy using them. The iPhone is simply so good that even the Apple imposed limitations of it fail to stop it being immensely fun to use, and how many devices you use everyday can you say that about? Its a smart phone where you don't compromise on the phone component and gain so much more through the apps. Meanwhile MS are beavering away integrating Zune into WiMo next versions, and no doubt adding on a skin to make it look like Windows 7, like who makes these awful awful decisions?? They are still carrying on like they're just competing with Symbian still, when the ground has most definitely shifted. To paraphrase their age-old advice, "format and start again."
I would say that it's people under 30 know nothing about vinyl, not those of us under 40 who have plenty of vinyl and grew up with it.
Wait for WM6.5
It really isn't worth bothering with a Windows Mobile phone until 6.5 comes out. I really struggle to see why Acer aren't supporting Android instead?
@Jimbo et al...
THIS ISN'T ABOUT THE FUCKING IPHONE!!! There. I said it. Fuck me. You lot are dull! Who are you trying to convince?
ON TOPIC: The phone looks OK. Too many shutlines and 'sticky outy bits' for my taste, let down greatly, as stated, by an aging OS that was shit when it was first released.
at ac who thinks the ipone works straight from the box!
'iPhone, it just works without users having to dick about trying to find 3rd part solutions to things it should do out of the box '
erm... the app store? a whole raft of applications not made by apple to fix the iphones shortcomings...
untill last month... mms? app needed to bodge that... want to rotate a photo?? need an app for that... flash content... oh! no app for that!!! safari doesnt render every page perfectly... no alternative app for that!
I love Winmo, yes its fiddly, sometimes, but a hell of a lot more flexible... and it atctually multitasks! nothing like closing each applicatio if i need to open another!
the mobile in my pocket?? well, it happens to be an 8gb Iphone 3G!