The Acer Cloudmobile S500 is to be the brand’s new top Android device. In the market, it is a mid range phone. Still, the Cloudmobile smartphone has a high-end standing because of its unique design. What makes this phone high-end and why is it still mid range? Let’s get behind the cloud.
The design of the Acer Cloudmobile S500 has been awarded by the IF. It mentions Acer‘s sleeve design, “that wraps the device with soft and contoured surfaces and enhances handheld experience.” It also mentions the overall attention to details, as the stainless steel reciever in the front, the volume button and the Dolby speaker on the back.
To be honest, the Cloudmobile S500 has an outstanding grip. Both side edges and the back cover are made of a nice and soft grip material, similar to what HTC uses. The device is lightweight and has an excellent balance when holding it in your hand: the middle back of the phone is a little thinner at the Acer logo, which functions as a balance point. This is very subtile. So is the small edge at the screen. It not only pre-causes you unintentionally touching the screen, it also causes the screen not touching the surface of your table or what ever you’re laying your phone on, when turning it face down. The battery cover is very tightly attached to the body. This has a practical reason, for the NFC antenna is build in the back cover. As a result, the Cloudmobile is a very stiff device with a solid grip.
Acer has designed the Cloudmobile very symmetrical on two axis, both on the front and on the back. For me, this resulted in a very comfortable use, either portrait or landscape. On this point, the design reminds me to that of the former Palm Tungsten devices.
The Acer Cloudmobile S500 comes with a 4.3 inch HD IPS screen with a 720×1280 resolution and a 342 ppi density. Consider this. It’s smaller though not as thin as the all new Nexus 4 and has a higher density (318 ppi for the Nexus 4). The screen it beautiful, sharp and clear in daily use, it really surprised me. It’s powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus processor at a 1500MHz speed. It has 1GB of RAM and 8GB internal storage, of which 2.79GB is System taken, leaving 5GB for apps and more. There’s a lot to say about the amount of memory and running out of it. Considering you use 5GB for apps, you can store all your files on a Micro SD card (up to 32GB) or in the cloud. One can have many expectations and never use the potential. The Cloudmobile won’t let you down soon.
The 8MP camera takes average photographs. The have more noice compared to some apps available in the Play Store. But the pictures are nice and satisfying. Acer has some common filters available in the camera software. You can also use the camera to shoot 1920×1080 videos and for video calling. These isn’t a feature I tested thoroughly. There’s more to say about the Dolby Mobile speaker on the back of the phone. Though the small perforations suggest it to be a rounded square speaker, only the lower parts really are the speaker. It’s separated in a right and left piece, which is only visible when you pull off the back cover. The sound is good, but not splendid; it’s still a small speaker. But when do you use the Cloudmobile for music, most of the time you will be wearing ears, and then the sound is pretty good. You can tweak the sound by the settings menu in the music player.
The Acer Cloudmobile comes with Android ICS 4.0.4. An update appears after the first start-up, but it remains ICS. The nice part is, it’s almost stock. Acer has tuned only a little, especially in the drop down menu. From this menu you can choose Music, Notifications, Settings and the Clock. The app drawer is also stock ICS. Acer just added a few widgets to the menu. Acer also has some apps of its own pre-installed. The main app is Acer Cloud, which is another cloud to put all your stuff.An interesting app is Polaris Office. This wonderful suite is only for sale for iOS. For the Android, it’s an OEM, pre-installed by Samsung for example, and Acer. From Polaris Office you can easily get you get your documents from Google Drive.
I’ve been running the stock (Android) browser, Chrome and Dolphin. Each of them ran great, no hesitation, no hiccups. Since I’m not a great fan of playing games on my phone, I have no experience with any of them. Too bad Ingress wasn’t released yet, though. Another Acer app is the Power Saver. When running low, the Cloudmobile gives a notification that the Power Saver is enabled. Major battery draining services will be cut and only be available on demand; most of the time you will make it home to charge.
I’ve been using the Cloumobile S500 for almost a week as my daily phone. In comparison with other reviewers I had no problems with making phone calls. The sound is good, just that. The phone is easy to carry in the pocket, it’s lightweight and thin, you won’t even notice it’s there. People reacted surprisingly positive when I showed the Acer. They like the slim design and the over-all feeling. That’s a pretty nice compliment, compared to all the fancy phones by the mainstream manufacturers that are stronger marketed.
Over all the Acer Cloudmobile S500 is an excellent device for around €319 (current price in The Netherlands). There are better phones out there for sure – buy one. Most problems can be easily solved by making them small. This range of devices running ICS can be the new Gingerbread part of the Android fragmentation. For the ones that are looking for a affordable good looking smartphone that does anything you want and more, the Cloudmobile certainly is your deal. The deal could be a winner when Acer gets the Cloudmobile a Jelly Bean update within months from now.