Acer Stream review: Android 2.1 Acer Stream review: Android 2.1

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Categories: Mobile Phones Reviews   Tags: , ,
We love
Multimedia support
We hate
Awful keyboard, even worse UI navigation
Verdict
The worst, most confusing Android 2.1 skin we’ve tested yet
Launch Price
£399.99
7 Pages
1234567

acer-stream-review-17

The Acer Stream runs the relatively recent Android 2.1, and as with almost every new entry in the Google phone space these days, it’s a custom version of it. Acer’s made twists, chops and changes everywhere in a bid to differentiate its handset from the rest. Does it pull it off? In a word, no. Find out why in this section of our Acer Stream review.


Read the rest of our Acer Stream review
Acer Stream review
Acer Stream review: Build and touchscreen
Acer Stream review: Multimedia

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There’s no easy way to say this, so we’re just going to spit it out: the Android 2.1 skin on the Acer Stream is the worst we’ve ever tested. It’s not slow or buggy in any way, but it’s so absurdly confusing, we’ve had to conclude that the company made UI decisions by sacrificing chickens and looking at the entrails.

Things are pretty confusing even when the Acer Stream is powered off, thanks to a trio of unnecessary and oversized track control keys below the resident Android row of buttons. But turn it on and things just get even more headscratching.

While apps themselves run just fine (And Android 2.1 means Google Maps Navigation is a go), it’s getting to them that’s likely to send you around the bend. Fire up the Acer Stream, and you’ll encounter quite the most bizarre homescreen layout ever stuffed on any Android phone. The homescreen shows the cover art of the last album you were listening to, while sliding to the left brings up your recent apps (Though holding down the home button doesn’t, which makes multitasking a serious chore), and sliding to the right brings up your media, which is pretty pointless in such a small space if you have more than a handful of songs or photos stored.

Where are the widgets then? We were wondering exactly the same thing, until we eventually found them – on the lock screen. This isn’t a bad idea in theory, as it means you can glance at the latest news or Facebook drivel whenever, and unlock the Acer Stream directly on to any app you like. The problem is, they’re not persistent on the homescreen, so to get to them, you have to hold down the home button. They should just be there – that’s the point.

The pop up menu on the homescreen is also nonsensical. There’s a favourite apps tray at the top, which is all good and well, but it doesn’t behave like the rest of the list once you pull it up, which moves from left to right. The menu is basically one big L-shape, not that you’d notice it at first. We gave the Acer Stream to several people familiar with Android phones, and they were all stopped in their tracks by this daft design.

And then there’s the QWERTY keyboard. We’ve run into Acer’s latest attempt at a touchscreen keyboard before, on the Acer beTouch E400 at Mobile World Congress in February. We said then that it was atrocious, and unsurprisingly, it’s still atrocious now. It’s pointlessly tiny and inaccurate, and even touchscreen veterans will find themselves forced to henpeck with it.

Luckily, you can switch to the stock Android keyboard. But the worst offender by far is the notification bar, usually a useful tool on Android and a much less intrusive way of checking your messages than on iOS for the iPhone. Samsung made a nice tweak on the Samsung Galaxy S sticking track controls and network toggles on it and leaving it at that, but Acer on the other hand has simply stuck the notification bar in the middle of the homescreen.

Notifications then rise out of the top of it like speech bubbles. If that sounds stupid to you, it’s because it is. You have to prod one thin line in the middle of the screen to get to your activities, and to cap it all, said line moves to the bottom of the screen in every other app, and sometimes to the top on the homescreen. Yes, it’s an oscillating notification bar, and yes, it’s a bad thing.

On the plus side at least, it does have exceptionally solid multimedia support – more on that in the media section of our Acer Stream review. The problem is getting to all those files in the first place. It didn’t have to be one, but for whatever reason, Acer decided to make it so.

Acer Stream review sample provided by Expansys

Read the rest of our Acer Stream review
Acer Stream review
Acer Stream review: Build and touchscreen
Acer Stream review: Multimedia

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