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ACER X960 – First Impressions
By Raj Pillai, Copyright 2009
Created 03/31/2009

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Normally I don’t do phone reviews however having had a chance to lay my hands on ACER’s latest Windows Mobile phone the X960, here are my first impressions about the X960.

The X960 device:



The key product specifications are as follows:

Operating System:  Windows Mobile® 6.1 Professional
Processor:  Samsung S3C 6410 533 MHz Processor
Memory:  256 MB Flash ROM, 128 MB SDRAM
Display:  2.8", 640 x 480 (VGA), 65,536 colors, TFT-LCD
Dimensions(L x W x H):  106.4(L) x 59 (W) x 13.7 (H) mm
Weight:  131.5g
Communications:  HSDPA 7.2 / HSUPA 2.0 / UMTS (2100 / 1900 / 850 MHz)
 Quad-Band GSM:850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
 GPRS class 11 / EDGE class 11
 Bluetooth® v2.0 class 2 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate),
 WiFi IEEE802.11b/g
GPS:  Embedded SiRF Star III chipset, TMC function supported*,
(*Subjected to changes by region)
Camera:  Built-in 3.2 mega pixels Auto-Focus CMOS camera, up to 2048 x 1536 resolution
 0.3 mega pixels Fixed-Focus CMOS camera for Video Telephony usage
Light Sensor (L-sensor): Sensing the brightness of environment to adjust panel luminance
Expansibility:  MicroSD card slot
Interface/Audio: Built-in microphone and speaker, hands-free mode supported
Interface/Data: USB Sync
Battery:  Lithium Polymer rechargeable with 1,530 mAh capacity
 Talk time: 3G: 4h depend on usage / 2G: 5h depend on usage
 Standby: 150h depends on usage
 Pocket PC usage: 10~15 hour
 GPS usage: 2.5~5 hour
* The battery life will vary based on usage patterns.

The device has a rubberized back which gives a good grip when held in hand and due to the slim design, it’s easy to hold. The sides of the phone have a nice metallic finish. You have a set of buttons – 4 in front (call, GPS shortcut, Home shortcut, end call) along with the D-pad in the center and 4 on the left side (volume up/down control, reset hole, voice recorder) and 2 on the right (power, camera). The battery needs to be removed in order to insert your SIM card.

On the front, apart from the touch screen you have a VGA camera for video calls on a 3G network, a light sensor which controls automatic brightness adjustment. You also have the ear piece which is nothing more then a small slit. On either side of this slit you have the LED status indicators for Phone, Battery Power, Bluetooth, WiFi, and GPS.

As seen in the images above, the first thing you notice on the back of the phone is the 3.2 megapixel camera with LED flash along with the tiny mirror that you often see on the mobile devices for portrait shots. Besides this, are two small circular grills of the speaker. Note that the device consists of only one speaker.

Power on the device and you have the option to either use the phone in the classical Windows Mobile Today's screen interface or run it using the ACER Shell which gives the phone a unique user interface. The ACER Shell comes in two variants i.e. ACER 3D View and Icon Matrix.

ACER 3D View – (made up of 3 screens)


Tap and hold the stylus on a blank area and the shell enables you to customize the items you want to see on your desk to access the information. Tap the objects and the relevant program loads. The scene in the Window changes as per the time.

Icon Matrix


The Icon Matrix mode provides a more of the professional style navigation user interface.

Both these user interface brings in features that are iPhone like in terms of flipping through your messages, emails, photos, music. Additionally you have ACER applications that enable you to track time and weather of up to 5 cities at a time.

The mini-USB connector at the base of the phone is used for data sync, charging and listening to audio over the ear phones.

Beneath the good looking interface lies a pretty powerful phone with all the capabilities of the Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional operating system:

Software (pre-loaded*):
Windows Mobile® 6.1 Professional
1. Microsoft® Office Outlook Mobile (Calendar, Contacts, Tasks and Inbox)
2. Microsoft® Office Word Mobile / Microsoft® Office Excel Mobile / Microsoft® Office PowerPoint Mobile.
3. MSN® Messenger / Microsoft® Transcriber / Windows Media® Player 10.
4. Picture / Notes / Internet Explorer Mobile / ActiveSync / Calculator / Game (Solitaire, Bubble Breaker).
5. Microsoft Reader* (* region/territories dependent)

Acer Exclusive Applications:
User interface: Acer Shell v2.0
Phone Tools: Phone settings, SIM toolkit, Speed dial, Communication manager, CSD type, Connection wizard, SMS sender, SIM manager, MMS composer
Multimedia Tools: Pictures & Videos, Camera /Camcorder, Album, Streaming player, Media player
Utilities: Backup utility, Default Settings, Application recovery, Memory Optimization

Overall, the audio quality is amazingly clear in the handset and speaker mode. To put it in a nutshell - the phone has been very impressive overall with its design, power, capabilities and the user experience.

This review will be updated shortly with other features that I will be exploring with passage of time.

Read other articles by Raj Pillai

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