When Acer decided to break into the smart-phone market, it chose to buy up the Glofiish brand instead of starting from scratch. The Tempo M900 is the latest result of this partnership. Priced at about £370 SIM-free, has this keyboard-equipped Windows Mobile handset got what it takes to challenge the likes of the HTC Touch Pro2?
The first thing you notice when you take the M900 out of the box is its sheer weight and bulk. Hiding a slide-out Qwerty keyboard in its frame, it was never going to be the sleekest smart phone on the market, but it feels considerably larger and heavier than other keyboard-toting handsets, like the Touch Pro2 or Sony Ericsson Xperia X1. The phone's rather old-fashioned styling does little to mask its chunkiness, and the build quality isn't brilliant either -- the plasticky case tends to flex rather more than it should.
That said, at least the extra space means Acer has been able to equip the M900 with a roomy keyboard. The keys on the keyboard are packed rather tightly together, but they're slightly larger than usual and quite responsive, so, after some practice, you'll find it relatively easy to tap out long emails and text messages.
The M900's screen is also very impressive. Measuring 97mm (3.8 inches) diagonally, it's one of the largest displays on any Windows Mobile device, and its high, 800x480-pixel resolution is especially useful when viewing Web pages or work documents in the phone's Office Mobile suite of applications, as it means you don't have to do as much scrolling back and forth as on other devices.
Beneath the large display, you'll find the handset's other key feature: its fingerprint scanner. This can be configured either to work as a security mechanism -- so that you need to swipe your finger across it to gain access to the phone -- or just to protect individual folders or the data in certain applications, such as your calendar and contacts book. You can also use it as a touch controller to move through menus and select on-screen icons.