Acer recently entered the mobile phone market, and the Acer neoTouch is its top Windows Mobile smartphone.

Available in the UK only outside of normal network contracts, the Acer neoTouch S200 is a compact 3G smartphone taking Microsoft's latest Windows Mobile 6.5 user interface.

Updated, January 7, 2010:

Acer has its fingers in many pies, but we were surprised to see the company making its bid for the smartphone market via the Windows Mobile platform. Surely Android would have been a more obvious choice for a manufacturer coming late to the party?

Things start well for the neoTouch S200. It's neatly packaged, bears a passing resemblance to Toshiba's sleek, vast-screened TG01 smartphone and has a front that's almost nothing but mirrored display.

Acer neoTouch S200 review

The telltale Windows button, call and end-call buttons of almost every previous-generation Windows Mobile device have been swapped for more enigmatic illuminated white indicators.

The main icons (actually user-definable shortcuts) are large enough to select accurately and stand out from the background. You even get a slight haptic shudder when you choose an option.

What happens next isn't great, however. Essentially, you end up at the Windows Mobile screens many of us have toiled through before.

Given the work Microsoft acknowledged it needed to do with Windows Mobile - and seemed to have gone some way to addressing with version 6.5 - we were surprised to find what looks like version 5x on the S200. There's even a stylus input option. Not good.

We soon worked out that pressing the Windows Start key at the top left or the curious grid at the bottom of the screen takes you to the marginally better-looking Microsoft take on icons for this phone.

You can then scroll through items as you'd expect, but do so gingerly - otherwise the S200 tends to open items unexpectedly.

Importing photos is easy - the Windows Mobile Device Centre software installs promptly and we could then drag-and-drop our snaps on to the phone icon.

They looked good on the Acer's snazzy 3.8in screen, but we'd have liked the option to auto-rotate and zoom without recourse to the menu and properties settings.

Reliance on the onscreen keyboard doesn't make for a wonderful experience, either. Typing with any accuracy is a slow process. Missed phone call and email notifications are present and correct.

NEXT: Original full review.

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