Apart from screen size, it's hard to find many differences between a smartphone and tablet. Both sides are winning as far as revenues are concerned. So why would anyone come up with a convergence device that's neither here nor there? To offer the best of both worlds, one might say. But do they really?

One of a kind?

Having previously manufactured only a select few Average Joe-smartphones, Acer Inc. has now launched the Iconia Smart that aims at being the new big boy in your pocket.

The only precedent it has had was the Dell Streak launched about a year ago.

Although the Dell Streak was endowed with a bigger display than the Acer Iconia Smart, the latter's build comes across as much more sturdy. The Gorilla Glass Display on the Iconia Smart is a veritable stamp that the handset can endure the accidental fall or two, maybe even four. The 4.8-inch display on the smartphone lets me dump a lot of Android apps on each of the five homescreens. The touchscreen is quick to respond to any function I touch and activate. The Iconia Smart runs on a 1GHz Snapdragon processor. The handset was pretty responsive when there weren't many apps running in the background. But once in a while when I skipped using ‘Advanced Task Killer', the phone inevitably slowed down.

Movie night

I'm not a fan of watching movies on small screens but I thought I'd give the Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp-starrer ‘Chocolat' a try on the Iconia Smart anyway. Not only is the screen a good size for watching videos on but is also bright enough for you to enjoy any visual media on it. Yes, Gorilla Glass is slightly reflective but that becomes insignificant because the device offers bright, crisp motion videos in the 21:9 cinema aspect ratio. Acer Iconia Smart scores well in the acoustics department too. Music tracks from The Beatles to Dev D play well and movie dialogues too are reproduced with more clarity than expected. And this was no surprise given the fact that the speakers are Dolby certified. However, the overall volume limits aren't shockingly loud which can be a good thing or a bad one depending on the decibel levels that you are used to.

Capable clicker

I tried out the 8-megger on the handset that snaps better pics than most handhelds we've tried out recently. The lens reproduced colours that were mostly true to life and the pictures weren't too grainy until zoomed into. The camera can record videos in high-definition.

One thing that felt unusual when I started using the phone was its physical buttons. The functions for Home, Search, Back and Settings were served not by the touch buttons, that we are now used to, but by a neat row of four plastic buttons at the bottom of the screen. They were just the right size and didn't really feel ‘plasticky' so the device doesn't give you enough reason to miss touch buttons.

The metal back panel with its curvaceous grooves makes for an interesting design and a firm grip. And despite the whopper of a screen, the Iconia Smart manages to avoid the ‘bulky' look with minimal width.

I used the handset for a couple of weeks and there was never an abrupt shutting down or freezing over incident. I intermittently used Gmail, played HD games, took the regular number of calls and the Iconia Smart didn't show red before the day ended.

We say

The Acer Iconia Smart isn't accompanied with a lot of pomp and show. The device does ship with a couple of pretty impressive specs that should keep a media consumption addict happy for sometime.

Rs 27,500

Love: Bright, wide screen, decent battery life

Hate: Occasional lags

mahananda@thehindu.co.in

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