M900

We liked:

As with previous Acer phones, the M900 looks good on paper, but doesn't quite cut the mustard in practise.

It has all the features you could hope for in a WinMo smart phone, including an impressively huge 3.8in LCD touch screen, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, a five megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, A-GPS and HSDPA 3G. There's even an innovative fingerprint sensor cum nav pad for novelty value.

Acer has made the effort to brighten up the Windows Mobile 6.1 OS with its own thumb-friendly shell which means you can avoid using the stylus until you're fairly deep into the menus too. Everything's in place, in other words, but somehow, it's less than the sum of its parts.

We disliked:

The touch screen wasn't really responsive enough, and we had to resort to using the stylus to get to links and apps that should have been easily accessed with our thumb.

The fingerprint sensor was fiddly and unreliable to use – it took us many attempts to get it to recognise us – and when using it as a navpad it proved tricky and unreliable, even after some practise.

The QWERTY keyboard looked the business, but the keys didn't give sufficient feedback for us to feel confident using it. It also tended to run slowly if we weren't careful about how many apps we were running at any one time

The camera at least is one of the better models we've seen on a WinMo phone, but it's certainly not as good as other 5 megapixel snappers we've seen on models from Sony Ericsson or Nokia.

Verdict:

Like the other Acers, it's a chunky workhorse that feels like something of a throwback to an earlier age of ugly, functional smart phones.

It's very well specced, but the reasons for its lowish price point become clear with extended use. If the HTC Touch Pro2 is too pricey for you, the M900 is worth considering, but prepare to be just a little bit disappointed.