- Spectacular hardware set
- Large, dazzling screen
- Build-quality issues
- Large and heavy
The Acer Tempo M900 is one of those premium units designed for the most gadgetmongering of gadgetmongers; an WVGA touchscreen, 5 MPx camera with autofocus, fingerprint scanner, on top of the more mundane stuff like GPS and Wi-Fi.
Despite all this, it is available from eXpansys USA for $500. That’s a lot more than any smartphone you’ll buy through a carrier, of course, but relative to other unsubsidized, unlocked devices it’s not bad for the features.
DESIGN & BUILD
Chances are that anybody who buys the M900 is going to be looking first and foremost at the 800-by-480-pixel screen. For good reason: It’s one of the highest resolution displays available on a mobile device, and it looks great. We’re talking about netbook-grade resolution here, if not size, and it shows. While Internet Explorer Mobile is still weak compared to its competitors, even on a WVGA screen, Opera Mobile, Opera Mini, and any kind of photo and video viewing will shine.
This is a slider, meaning that the screen slides aside to reveal the keyboard. The slider mechanism itself is less rugged than what I’m accustomed to from HTC and Samsung devices — you need to have care to apply upward pressure evenly, because if you just push one end the screen may catch and refuse to slide up. It feels to me that if you were too rough with it in this way, you might break something. That’s not to say that the slider definitely won’t hold up through many thousands of slidings, but I’m less certain of that with this unit than I am with others.
The M900 is fairly thin for a slider (0.67 inches), and the footprint is comparable to other large-screen devices, such as the HTC Touch Pro2. Still, even though it’s only a fraction of an inch larger in each dimension than my Samsung Jack, the 6.6 ounce weight of the M900 definitely makes you aware you’re carrying it. That shouldn’t necessarily be viewed as a negative, but as a trade off for the feature density.
The casing is mostly plastic, with the exception of a metal backplate for the battery: brushed aluminum or possibly magnesium, I’m not sure. Underneath that cover and the battery itself you’ll find the SIM card slot, along with one of the worst attempts at a SIM card holder I’ve ever seen. It is, simply put, a flimsy, very easily damaged, and hard to pry open piece of aluminum which holds the card against the contacts. If you need to swap SIM cards more than every 6 months or so, this is going to be a problem for you.
Contrary to some early reports, the M900 does not have a seperate headphone jack; you’re expected to use the mini-USB port.