The Android-based Acer beTouch E210 does a pretty good impersonation of a BlackBerry. Sadly, its meagre specifications and resistive touchscreen keep it from living up to its promise.
The E210 is available for free on a £15-per-month contract. SIM-free prices start from around £220.
Button me up
It only takes a brief glance to realise that the E210's design is heavily indebted to that of the BlackBerry. This isn't the first time the Taiwanese manufacturer has attempted to fuse Android with a Qwerty keyboard either -- last year's performed the same trick.
Typing on the E210 is an enjoyable experience, with the raised buttons proving easy to hit when you're tapping at speed. They emit a quiet click when pressed, which means you can bash out a missive on the train without making other passengers want to punch you in the face.
The E210 has a lightweight and surprisingly thin frame. At 110g, it's unlikely to cause your pocket to rupture, but it does feel rather cheap when compared to heavier phones.
The phone uses a crushingly disappointing resistive touchscreen. Using pressure-sensitive technology, this type of display isn't anywhere near as responsive as the capacitive versions seen on handsets like theand . It's even outmatched by the screens on cheaper phones, such as the .
Because resistive technology can't handle more than one point of pressure at a time, the E210 doesn't support multi-touch gestures, such as pinch to zoom. This means you won't be able to quickly scale Google Maps using your thumb and forefinger, and some Android games, such as the brilliant PewPew, are rendered unplayable.
To make matters worse, the E210's 2.6-inch screen has a landscape rather than portrait format, and its resolution of 320x240 pixels means everything has to be shrunk down. Accurately pressing buttons is hard enough at this paltry resolution, but the hit-and-miss nature of the resistive screen makes it even more of an exercise in frustration.