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Hands-On: Acer Iconia Smart

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Feb 15, 2011, 7:03 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Phone Scoop spent a few moments with Acer's massive new Android device, the Iconia Smart. Is there anything redeeming about the awkward 21:9 display?

The Iconia Smart is one awkward-looking phone. The odd 21:9 aspect ratio and 4.8-inch display really extend the length of the Iconia Smart to near banana status. It's huge. It's also heavy, and thick. The phone is not for the feint of heart. It's a big clunky phone that needs big hands to operate.

The materials feel fairly decent, and the build quality was fairly good. The sides are curved just enough so that it rests comfortably in your hand. The controls on the outer edge of the Iconia Smart all worked well. The volume toggle felt good, and the hatches covering the microUSB port and microSD card slot were easy to pry off with a thumbnail. There's a small-ish power/lock key on the top edge tucked into the corner. Opposite it is the 3.5mm headset jack.

Acer chose to use four physical buttons for the typical Android controls, but there are extremely small, and wedged against the very lower edge of the phone. They were hard to use, and it was easy to lose grip on the phone trying to get at them.

The Iconia Smart's display is ridiculous. The massive screen stretches to near-tablet proportions. That said, it looks really good. It is bright, crisp, clear, and colorful. Acer has put some of the extra screen real estate to use on the home screen, adding tons of widgets and shortcuts.

Acer has added some interesting user interface elements to the homes screens, as well. The Iconia Smart has seven home screens, and on the screen to the far left and the screen to the far right, Acer has loaded spinning carousels of RSS-type content. The content is displayed a "card" and the cards are arranged in an wheel. You spin the wheel to access more cards, i.e., more stories. Kinda neat.

Iconia Smart  

About the author, Eric M. Zeman:

Eric has been covering the mobile telecommunications industry for 17 years at various print and online publications. He studied at Rutgers Newark and University of Kentucky, and has a degree in writing. He likes playing guitar, attending concerts, listening to music, and driving sports cars.

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