Acer neoTouch review: The dragon within
Windows Mobile 6.5 is not breath-taking
In addition to the new Windows Mobile 6.5 homescreen, the Acer neoTouch offers a new one very similar to the Home tab of the new upcoming TouchFLO update. There you can find a digital clock, the date and nine customizable app shortcuts. At the bottom are found the lock, start menu and options buttons. The homescreen, as you can see, is touch-optimized and practical.
Still, if you are keen on the new default Windows Mobile 6.5 homescreen you can switch to it at any time. For more information about the new interface and features of WinMo 6.5, read our review here.
Pressing the Start menu icon at the top right no longer opens a drop down menu full of shortcuts. Instead it opens what we like to call the new Windows Mobile "Main menu". It's got icons ordered in that oh-so-popular honeycomb pattern that so many people can easily recognize as pure WinMo 6.5 stuff thanks to numerous official and leaked screenshots. A shortcut to the start menu is also available at the bottom of the Acer homescreen.
In the new main menu you've got all the installed programs plus shortcuts to the settings menu. That Settings menu also has received a facelift and displays icons in the same honeycomb structure.
There is another simplified Preferences menu provided by Acer where you can do some basic stuff such as change ringtones and sound levels, wallpapers, choose the end key functionality or start the Acer Communication Manager. It's very similar to every other custom Comm. Manager available today, where you can switch on/off the different types of connections - Phone, Data, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
The perfectly flat structure of the Main menu can certainly get a bit clumsy over time due to the huge number of icons that pile up there (iPhone users with loads of apps installed will know what we mean) but we'd still prefer that over the confusing experience that so many Windows Mobile new adopters have enjoyed in the past.
The Windows Mobile 6.5 brought larger fonts to all menus, which made them a lot more touch friendly.
Another nice change brought by the new version of the OS is the option to alternate tabs by simple finger sweeps wherever Windows offers you tabbed screens. You no longer need to aim for the tiny titles at the bottom of the screen as on the WinMo 6.1 handsets - you just swipe your finger across the screen and the next tab opens instantaneously.
Since the Acer neoTouch is the first smartphone we've reviewed powered by the Snapdragon 1GHz CPU, we decided to do a benchmark and see how it stacks up next to a previous generation CPU - in our case HTC Touch Diamond with 528 MHz MSM7200 Qualcomm CPU. From the screenshots bellow you may see that CPU results of the Snapdragon are 3 times better than its older Qualcomm sibling, while the other benchmark results vary from two to six times better. The evolution is obvious and we are quite impressed with the whole Windows Mobile 6.5 performance - there is no lag anywhere in the Windows interface and all the stuff just flows smoothly.