The camera is about as basic as they come these days, with a maximum resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels and very little in the shape of extras. There's no autofocus or flash, but at least it's quick to start up, at about three seconds from pressing the camera shutter, and takes a pic in less than two. Good for quick snaps in other words, so long as you're not too fussed about the quality. Grain was a persistent problem, as was light saturation. Still, it does have one-touch options to share your new pics using email or SMS.
Looks decent, but doesn't sound so good
Watching video is okay but the screen's low pixel count means it suffers in comparison with most touchscreen smartphones we've tried. Since there's no accelerometer you'll have to adjust the screen resolution in Windows Media Player to switch to landscape mode and you'll need the stylus to negotiate the fiddly menus to make any adjustments.
Windows Media Player is also the default player for music and the sound is generally harsh and tinny through the supplied headphones. You'll be stuck with them as well since there's no 3.5mm jack plug that would allow you to upgrade to another pair.
Battery life wasn't particularly impressive, albeit far from a disaster, giving us around a day and a half of moderate to heavy use. This being a Windows Mobile handset you should be able to stretch this a little by adjusting the screen brightness and shortening the screen saver kick-in time.
The Acer beTouch E101 may have an exceptionally low price but it's also by far the least desirable of any smartphone we've seen this year. The lack of Wi-Fi or even 3G connectivity severely limits the use for its browsing capabilities but the inefficiency of the screen is what really makes it difficult to recommend. There's just no good reason for a phone to be this difficult to use in 2009, no matter how low the asking price. ®
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Acer beTouch E101 touchscreen smartphone
£165 for a pile of pap doesn't strike me as being particularly cheap. It's not a trifling amount of cash to offload on a whim*.
You could buy second-rate gadgets for a lot less if you really wanted to. It'd be wiser to put it towards something else though, a £20 phone maybe? Then you've got £145 to spend on something else (like a diary).
*MPs & bankers excluded of course
You can buy T-Mobile Pulse for 140quid, which has a proper mobile OS (Android) not that silly MSFT abomination. Also it offers much more for less cash.
I wonder how could you give it 45% if the whole article just says how bad it is?