Acer CloudMobile S500 review: Out of the blue

GSMArena team, 26 November 2012.

Standard Android phonebook

The phonebook on the S500 is called the People app and is very similar to the stock ICS one and stores extensive contact information. It is separated into three tabs - groups, contacts, and favorites.

The groups tab lets you separate your contacts into various categories, including social networks, offline/online, and others. The favorites tab displays contacts which you have marked as important, as well as frequently dialed numbers below that.

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The People app

The contact list can be sorted by either first or last name. There are two contact search options - a dedicated search field that's always visible on the bottom left, and an alphabet scroll to jump to names starting with a specific letter.

You can sync with multiple accounts, including Facebook and Acer's own AcerCloud service, and you can selectively show or hide contacts from some accounts or set the phonebook to display only contacts with phone numbers or only contacts that are online.

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Filtering contacts in the phonebook

If a contact has accounts in multiple services, you can "link" their details to keep everything in one place. Their Facebook photos and interests (part of the Facebook integration) will show as extra tabs.

Quick contacts are enabled - a tap on the contact's photo brings up shortcuts for calling or emailing the contact.

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Viewing a contact entry • Quick contact shortcuts

When adding or editing a contact, each contact can have a variety of fields (and repeat fields of the same type), there's an Add field button and the X button lets you remove fields as needed. The fields cover anything from names (including a field to write the name down phonetically) to addresses, nicknames and notes.

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Editing a contact and adding fields

There is an option to redirect calls directly to voicemail. Custom ringtones are enabled too.

Telephony

Receiving and making calls on the CloudMobile S500 was trouble-free. Its phone app displays your most used contacts in a tile-like view first, followed by an alphabetical list of all your contacts. It also features smart dialing, and it searches for matches in both the contacts' names and phone numbers - you can see the full list of results by hiding the keypad. Voice dialing can also be used via the microphone icon.

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Smart dialing • The call log • Your favorite contacts plus a contact list

Thanks to the proximity sensor, the S500 automatically disables the touchscreen when you lift it up during a call.

The call log shows a list of recently dialed, received and missed calls, and not much else.

We also ran our traditional loudspeaker test on the Acer CloudMobile S500, where it scored a Below Average result. More info on our loudspeaker test can be found here.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOverall score
Sony Xperia sola60.959.061.7Below Average
Acer CloudMobile S50059.3 58.8 66.6Below Average
Sony Xperia tipo65.761.771.8Below Average
Apple iPhone 4S65.8 64.574.6Average
HTC Desire C64.6 64.775.7Average
Samsung Galaxy mini 2 S650069.7 66.671.5Average
Sony Xperia miro (xLOUD)69.7 64.675.9Good
Sony Xperia Go68.7 65.876.2Good
Sony Xperia neo L65.8 65.476.9Good
Motorola RAZR XT91074.766.682.1Very Good
HTC Desire76.675.784.6Excellent

Messaging has everything

Text messages and MMS use standard threaded layout. Each thread is displayed as an IM chat session, with the latest message at the bottom. You can manage individual messages (forward, copy, delete) and even lock them against deletion.

Search is enabled to locate a specific message in all conversations and you can also activate delivery reports. Adding multimedia (photos, videos, sounds, etc.) will convert the message to an MMS.

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The messaging app • Adding multimedia to the message

Moving on to email, the Gmail app supports batch operations, which allow multiple emails to be archived, labeled or deleted. The app supports multiple Gmail accounts, but there's no unified inbox for other email services.

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Gmail app supports batch operations and multiple (Gmail) accounts

However, the generic email app can do that as well. It can handle multiple POP or IMAP accounts and you have access to the messages in the original folders that are created online.

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The generic Email client has a combined inbox option

Google Talk handles instant messaging. The GTalk network is compatible with a variety of popular clients like Pidgin, Kopete, iChat and Ovi Contacts.

As for text input, the Acer CloudMobile S500 offers a customized on-screen full QWERTY keyboard. Typing on the portrait keyboard is fairly comfortable - the screen is big enough to house decently sized keys.

Flipping the phone to landscape gives you even bigger, easier to press buttons.

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The S500 keyboard is comfortable in either layout

You can also try the so-called Gesture input if hitting those keys individually doesn't give you the desired typing speed. It works the same as Swype, although even if you've never used Swype input before, you'll quickly get used to it.

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