Acer's purchase of handheld specialist E-TEN earlier this year has done nothing to stem the flow of devices, most of them impressively feature-packed. The spec sheet for the Glofiish V900 includes two noteworthy items: a digital TV tuner and an FM radio receiver. These sit alongside a comprehensive range of other features to provide what has to be the best-equipped handheld on the market. It's available, SIM-free, for around £600.
The Glofiish V900 is something of a wolf in sheep's clothing: it's staid of design and build and looks more like a mid-range device than an all-singing, all-dancing handheld.
The mostly black outer casing is bland enough, although the fascia's shiny finish is slightly more glitzy looking. Thankfully it's not the kind of piano-black finish that collects fingerprints. The backplate has a matte finish to make it easier to grip. The general build quality is good, but not outstanding.
There are just two buttons on the front, for Call and End functions. In between them sits a mini-joystick, which we found frustrating to use. It wasn't particularly responsive and, as with other mini-joysticks, it felt awkward under the thumb. We far prefer a D-pad.
The V900 is quite heavy at 147g and thick, too, at 18mm -- particularly as it lacks a slide-out keyboard. But E-TEN has kept the other dimensions in check: 106mm high and 61mm wide -- and remember, there is a lot of technology inside the shell. The screen measures 71mm (2.8 inches) across the diagonal and has a native resolution of 640x480 pixels (VGA).
There are few shortcut buttons around the edges of the device. On the left is a volume rocker and a button that launches the voice control software on a short press and starts the voice recorder when held down. The right edge carries the power button and a controller for the camera, as well as the reset hole and a microSD card slot.
There's a mini-USB connector on the bottom edge for power and PC connectivity, as well as the 2.5mm headset jack.
The Glofiish V900 ships with an AC adaptor, a book jacket-style carrying case with belt clip, stereo earbuds with three different-sized rubber in-ear fittings, a spare stylus, USB and TV-out cables, a printed quick-start guide and a software CD.
Despite the V900's 533MHz Samsung S3C 6400 processor, we found our review sample a little slow to respond to keystrokes and screen presses at times. There is 256MB of flash ROM and 128MB of SDRAM. After a hard reset, our review sample reported 110MB of free storage memory. When you first take the V900 out of its box, you are given the option to install whichever of the bundled applications you choose. We opted for everything, which used up a fair chunk of memory. You can add more storage memory via the microSD card slot if need be.
The operating system is Windows Mobile 6.1, which comes with Office Mobile -- including OneNote Mobile. Internet Explorer is preinstalled for web browsing, although Opera's mobile browser is far superior.
The V900 is a quad-band GSM handset with GPRS/EDGE and 3G/HSDPA support. There's a front-facing camera for video calling and a 3-megapixel camera at the back with a small LED flash and a tiny self-portrait mirror. The main camera can be used alongside one of the bundled applications, Namecard Manager, to scan business cards and then convert them into entries in the contacts database. We tried this with a few sample business cards and it worked well enough.
Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) is integrated, along with Bluetooth (2.0+EDR) and GPS. There's no point-to-point navigation software preinstalled, but the GPS receiver can be used with two of the included applications: GPS Viewer reports your latitude and longitude, while Location SMS lets you send a text message with your latitude and longitude embedded. We've seen both applications before.
The Glofiish has FM radio and also an FM transmitter that can send a signal to an FM receiver such as the radio in your car. This could prove useful for listening to podcasts or other recorded material. The FM radio uses the same 175mm telescopic antenna as the TV tuner, which means you don't have to use the provided headphones -- you can listen through the device's loudspeaker if you want.