Acer may be new to the smartphone game but they’re learning fast. On paper, the Acer Stream has all the right ingredients to tackle the HTC Desire and the Nexus One. With much stronger emphasis on multimedia than the titular Google phone, the Acer Stream has a few aces up its sleeve and isn’t afraid to play them.

Acer Stream
Acer Stream

Acer Stream official photos

Acer dabbled in customizing Android with the Liquid, but their first attempts were far from impressive. Packing the latest version of Acer’s custom Android UI, the Stream is a completely different story.

We won’t spoil the surprise – the changes run pretty deep and we can’t summarize them in one paragraph anyway. But don’t be too quick to skip straight to the User interface chapter of this review. The hardware has a few cool things in store as well.

Subtle small-font labels leave no doubt about the multimedia prowess of the Acer Stream. The 5MP camera can capture 720p videos and you’ll also spot the Dolby Mobile logo, which promises great sonic experience. But if you’re not careful you might miss the HDMI label right next to the microUSB port. That’s right, the Acer Stream has a microHDMI port to deliver HD video to compatible external displays.

Here goes the list of pros and cons, for the most impatient readers.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support
  • 3G with HSDPA 7.2 Mbps and HSUPA 2Mbps
  • Android OS v2.1 with Acer Touch 3D UI v4.0
  • 3.7″ capacitive touchscreen of WVGA resolution; multi-touch support
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8250 1GHz CPU, 512 MB RAM
  • 5 megapixel autofocus camera; image stabilization, geotagging
  • 720p video recording at 24 fps
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with DLNA
  • GPS receiver; Digital compass
  • Accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate and turn-to-mute
  • Standard microUSB port for charging and data
  • MicroHDMI video out port, 720p support
  • XviD video support up to 720p
  • Dolby Mobile; dedicated multimedia keys
  • Stereo Bluetooth (A2DP)
  • 2GB built-in memory
  • microSD card slot (16GB cards supported, 8GB one included);
  • Preinstalled document viewer
  • Rich retail box package
  • Standard 3.5mm audio jack
  • FM Radio
  • Smart dialing

Main disadvantages

  • Dim display with poor sunlight legibility
  • Camera lacks flash and a lens cover
  • Generally poor camera output
  • No web Flash support
  • microSD card not hot swappable
  • No voice dialing, no video calling
  • No proper file manager out of the box

Dedicated multimedia keys are less than essential perhaps in a touch phone but they serve a different purpose here. They are a promise for some serious media capabilities – a promise the Acer Stream intends to keep. Putting media aside for a moment, there are no obvious omissions from the spec sheet compared to other top droid rivals.

Acer Stream
Acer Stream
Acer Stream
Acer Stream

Acer Liquid live photos

A Snapdragon ticking at 1GHz with 512MB RAM to work with should give the Acer Stream all the speed to keep up. And it’s got the shape too. Compared to the Liquid, Acer have managed to shave off a few millimeters off the Stream – they’ve gotten it down to only 11.2mm if thickness.

Get ready to hit the Play button folks, we could use some tunes while examining the hardware up close.

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