We could go on and on with examples of other UI hurdles. Combined with a very unresponsive touchscreen, the X960 is one of the most difficult-to-use phones that we've encountered.
With such a poor UI, the X960's features are hard to enjoy -- but it does have a good selection. For example, there's Wi-Fi and HSDPA for speedy Web browsing, although the unresponsive touchscreen means that browsing isn't a pleasure, since tapping tiny Web links is incredibly difficult, even with the stylus.
Zooming in and out is also a challenge, since we had to use a menu to zoom way out before we could start slowly zooming back in to see what we wanted to. The experience might be improved if you install another browser, such as Opera Mini, rather than using Internet Explorer.
There's a 3-megapixel camera on the X960 that shoots video as well as stills, but, again, the sluggish UI is no fun to use. Our sample also had a bug which meant that, in stills mode, the image shown on the screen was a mirror image of reality. This quirk made shots very difficult to frame.
Aside from this bug, our photos were blurrier than normal, even in good light, despite a fairly good shutter lag of less than 1 second between pressing the button and taking the picture. Videos are small and the camera doesn't cope well with fast motion, so don't expect to win any Oscars with this phone.
The X960 also sports Windows Media Player, so you can listen to music and watch videos on its 71mm (2.8-inch) screen. The screen does a good job of displaying bright, colourful images, but the phone struggled to play our AVI test file smoothly. In Windows Media Player's full-screen setting, videos played in landscape format, but there's no accelerometer to change the display automatically when you turn the phone, as we've seen on plenty of other touchscreen phones.
Because of its sluggish touchscreen and poor UI, the Acer Tempo X960 seems dated and difficult to use. It can't compare to a phone like the slimmer, more elegant HTC Touch Diamond2, which also has Windows Mobile 6.1, a touchscreen, Wi-Fi and HSDPA, Opera Mini built in, and a much better -- although still troublesome -- TouchFLO UI. The X960 is cheaper, but, if you're going to splurge out £360 for it SIM-free, we think it's worth pushing the boat out a little further.
Edited by Charles Kloet