The card slot is said to be good for 8GB and that was the largest capacity card we had on hand to test it with. There’s also a three-way jog wheel which is a handy addition to the control portfolio, as the M900's touch screen could do with being just a little more reactive.
The fingerprint reader also functions as a navigation pad
The bottom of the fascia is home to five buttons, two to start and end calls, one to fire up the GPS system and Google Maps. Another takes you back to whichever of the three Acer Shell home pages you were last looking at. Unlike those featured on the F900, the four fascia buttons physically move when you press them, making the M900 a rather more satisfying handset to use.
The curious little central button between the GPS and Home buttons is actually a combined finger print scanner and navigation pad. In the latter function, it proved a bit hit and miss, being rather too small and too far recessed to allow for reliable or accurate use but at least you can disable it via the settings menu.
The finger print scanner worked exactly as advertised and accepted our four set-up swipes at only the second time of trying. We had no problems with reliability either, the scanner always accepting our print swipe on either the first or second attempt. If the scanner does throw a wobbly you can simply type in your four digit PIN number to unlock the handset.
Unlike the HTC Pro2 or the Nokia N97, the M900 is a simple slider with no fancy screen angle articulation. The keyboard itself has 41 individual keys and is laid out in a slight bow from left to right. We found the keys to be nicely sized and weighted, making rapid and fault-free typing a cinch.
Well-spaced keys allow for more accurate typing
We also liked the soft yellow glow that illuminated all the function keys. These include the numeric keys, the M900 keyboard being laid out in four rows as per the HTC TyTN II, rather than having a separate row of buttons for 0-9 up top as found on the Touch Pro and Pro2.
The A key and Tab
Its too easy to hit tab instead of A (or even both!), they should have been seperate keys. I've often got the A key jammed down as a result of trying to over compensate not pressing the Tab or its not registered the A key at all.
The firmware is awefull at the moment. You can't use mail to save attachments to the SD card as its not very "compatible" with some... although you won't be show any error messages. If you setup like this then you may well get blank screen of death which requires a battery out. The new F900 firmware is out already (which is a positive move by Acer) but it still doesn't cure this problem. If your like me and actually use this for real business work, a few docs/pdfs/speadsheets and thats all your main memory eaten up and out of memory errors .... not acceptable.
I'm currently in the process of returning it to Acer under warranty. A phone that keeps locking up, requiring a reboot, is not usable and "not fit for purpose".
Another issue i've just found, try and get normal headphones working with it ;-) A mini-usb->3.5mm adapter just doesn't work (the phone doesn't detect headphones). This is a REAL problem for me as well as the stock headphones are crap and don't work very well under a crash helmet - i can't hear the raido over my engine noise, something I have no issue with my normal headphones. Try locating 3rd party headphones, i can't find any for hours of searching....
btw, the ' via a symbol key? Many of us on the Acer/Eten forums would love to know which key you pressed in conjunction with the SYM key 'coz its not marked on the keyboard.
Bought one yesterday. Very pleased with the purchase, though my fence-post fingers don't make for a pleasant experience with the keyboard (but that would apply to ANY mobile phone keyboard).
My first impressions are that I bought a good 'un with respect to the several competitors out there. It does everything I expect it to, and though my experience of mobile phones in general is relatively light (I don't live to use a mobile phone like some people do) I'd be happy to recommend this little beaut to others.
I understand you can make telephone calls with it too.
Thanks, Al. I'll look into Mobile Shell. The jog wheel was so useful on my P910i that I ended up playing the chess game more than anything else, solely because you could play it one-handed while carrying stuff around; where possible I still use the four-way controller on my G900 rather than smearing the touch screen with my greasy mits, so the complete reliance of the TP2 on the touch screen bothered me.
I guess my only remaining hesitation is the lack of control key (mostly for cut and paste, occasionally handy for an editor, although maybe you can remap something else), the reports that reception is a bit dodgy on the m900, and whether the memory limitation is going to impact on my web browsing. (My current firefox is sitting at ~1GB, but I probably wouldn't have so many tabs open on a mobile... I don't know because my G900's battery dies five minutes after doing any 3G browsing.)
If I had to choose I'd say HTC's TouchFlo 3D is the better of the two UI's, but I think Spb's Mobile Shell v3.0 is better than both, being faster and more adaptable, so I'd use that on either handset. The jog wheel on the M900 works just fine - nudges up and down moved the highlight quickly and a simple push activated whatever was highlighted.
Regarding the keyboard, I didn't come across any problems with the 'A' key and checking the block of copy I typed in as a test I see it has two apostrophes. Two weeks after the handset went back I can't honestly remember where the apostrophe was, but it certainly had one! I seem to recall it was brought up by the 'Sym' key - not being a "problem" I didn't actually make a note of it. The voice command software works well too - no better or worse than any other handset I have tested.
In short if the choice was mine I'd go for the M900 for the larger screen and better camera at the lower price but with Acer Shell as the GUI.
So how *does* it compare with the Touch Pro 2?
The Touch Pro 2 has more keys (including a control key), possibly a more responsive touch screen (?) and more RAM - oh, and official WinMo 6.5 support. The m900 has a slightly larger screen, A-GPS, official FM radio support, a better (or at least higher resolution) camera and the jog dial I've been missing ever since I switched to a WinMo phone from my P910i. Also some oddball features on each side - speakerphone on the TP2 and the fingerprint reader on the m900 (I have one on my G900 and never use it).
So: How is Acer's GUI compared with TouchFlo 3D? (Does HTC's greater experience in making WinMo phones lead to any extra polish?) Is the jog dial any good? What's the voice control like? I don't care about the 3.8 vs 3.6", and the lack of control key might be a killer, but Monty's comment about the keyboard scares me a bit. That said, frequent BIOS fixes are a luxury I wish Toshiba had achieved.
Still pondering... (I was going to order a TP2 next week, so this is a well-timed review!)