BARCELONA, Spain--In late November,an Android smartphone that raised some eyebrows with its large 4.8-inch touch screen. The device now has a name, the Acer Iconia Smart, and it's on display here at Mobile World Congress 2011, so naturally we had to take it for a spin.
To be honest, we were expecting to see a huge, clunky device, and the Iconia Smart is big, to be sure, but it's not as unwieldy as one would expect. Admittedly, it's on the long side, so it's not the most pocket-friendly device, unless you're putting it in a coat pocket. However, it's not very wide or thick, so the smartphone feels comfortable to hold. It's also relatively lightweight while still being solid, thanks to the unibody metal construction.
Of course, the star attraction of the Iconia Smart is the 4.8-inch display. With a 1,024x480-pixel resolution, the touch screen is sharp and bright. It was also responsive to our touches, as we were able to move through the various home screens with ease and navigate menus.
You get the maximum benefit out of the display when in landscape mode, though. The Iconia Smart's screen has a 21:9 aspect ratio (plus Dolby surround sound) for a full cinematic experience. We watched a sample movie that was loaded on the phone, and the video playback was smooth and the picture looked great. However, I can't say the experience was any better than other large-screened smartphones I've tested.
It is nice, though, that the extra screen real estate allows you to see more on a Web site and doesn't require you to scroll left to right to view the full page.
The Iconia Smart has a pretty comprehensive feature list. The smartphone ships running Android 2.3 with Acer's custom UI, which is pretty nice. It doesn't completely take over the stock Android experience and you get some cool features, like a carousel showing thumbnails of your favorite Web sites.
The smartphone also has an 8-megapixel camera, a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera for video calls, and a six-axis gyroscope sensor. It doesn't, however, have a dual-core processor.
The Acer Iconia Smart is expected to ship in early May, but we suspect that its chances of coming to the U.S. with a carrier are slim to none. You can, of course, buy it unlocked, but pricing information was not announced at the show.
For a closer look at the Iconia Smart, check out our hands-on gallery below.