Acer Iconia Smart – hands-on

Is it a cinema? Is it a phone? Well, it's a phone, obviously. We get intimate with Acer's 21:9 wideboy

See that? That's Natalie Portman, that is. She's off films. They're shown in cinemas. Yeah, we get it, Acer – the Iconia Smart has the same aspect ratio as your local Odeon without the smell of sugar vapour and body odour. But what's it actually like?

With a 4.8in screen, you might imagine the Iconia Smart's a bit of a pocketful. But because most of that diagonal is taken up by the long edge, it doesn't feel any stranger to the hand than a slider in the extended position. Obviously, it won't get on with shallow pockets, but the pay-off is being able to see loads while you're typing on the on-screen keyboard in portrait mode.

It's landscape mode that Acer hopes will get punters queueing at its smartphone box office, though, and the Iconia Smart has a couple of things to recommend it. Firstly, and most obviously, you can watch full-width films (providing you have them in 21:9). Secondly, and probably more usefully, you can view web pages full-width. Which is nice.

And there are video skills, too. The Iconia smart has an 8MP cam with LED flash and 720p video skills on the back and a 2MP shooter front-side.

Generally speaking, we're not fans of custom UIs stuck on top of Android, but Acer's Gingerbread skin could be a lot worse. There's the utterly inevitable social aggregator and some design tweaks. Bearable. The Acer Iconia Smart has (shock!) only a single-core processor (a 1GHz Snapdragon 8255, spec fans), but it seemed to knock around Android 2.3 happily enough in our brief proddings.

Our hands-on was with a phone tethered to a block of coloured perspex, so it's hard to gauge what it's really like to hold in real life. That said, the unibody metal casing feels sturdy enough. A more informed opinion may follow when we get our hands on a reviewable handset. But that's for another day...

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