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Acer Iconia Smart turns 21:9 in hands-on pictures

Is the Android-powered Acer Iconia Smart a really, really big phone, or are we just standing really, really close to it?

Richard Trenholm
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Richard Trenholm
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Perspective is hard. How can you tell if something is small... or far away? And is the Android-powered Acer Iconia Smart a really, really big phone, or are we just standing really, really close to it? Visiting the Acer stand at phone extravaganza MWC in Barcelona is giving us a headache.

Click through out photos to see the Smart in action -- and bear in mind, this Craver has fairly big hands.

The reason for the optical confusion is that the Smart smart phone is indeed huge -- the screen measures nearly 5 inches -- but it looks in proportion to a normal phone because it's long and thin. In fact, it sports a 21:9 screen. That's the aspect ratio of cinema films!

As you'd expect, video looks great. The long, thin shape makes it easier to slip the Smart length-wise into the pocket of your strides, although it might peek out the top and would probably make sitting down a bit awkward. If you're in the habit of wearing tight kecks, you'd better get used to passing strangers asking if there's an Acer Iconia Smart in your pocket or are you just pleased to see them?

The Smart really comes into its own when turned sideways. Suddenly everything is super-sidescreen! Video looks crisp and detailed, and the extra space is a bonus, but -- for this Craver, at least -- watching a film on a phone is still watching a film on a phone, no matter how wide the screen is.

The real beauty of the extra-wide screen is in Web browsing. The extra width means you can keep the whole page on the screen without having to shrink the text down so much it's hard to read.

The massive 4.8-inch touchscreen rivals the Dell Streak and HTC Desire HD. It also sits nicely alongside its Iconia brethren, the 7-inch Acer Iconia Tab A100 and 10-inch Iconia Tab A500 tablets.

The Smart runs Google's Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system, allowing you to install your own apps. It supports Flash for video and Web animation -- unlike the iPhone -- and allows you to have multiple Web pages open at the same time. Acer has slapped a few features of its own on top of Android, including nifty live thumbnails of your favorite websites that you can dial through with a fingertip.

The Acer Iconia Smart will be available in the UK from 1 May. Will you get Smart? Or is the 21:9 screen just too smart for its own good? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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