The Android revolution has worked its way through the nationwide carriers, but regional carriers - who are notoriously slow adopters - have been reluctant to jump on the bandwagon. Over the past few months, US Cellular has entered the fray with plans to carry three Android devices (Samsung Acclaim, HTC Desire, and Samsung Galaxy S) by the end of the year. The Acclaim hit retail stores on July 9th as their first Android device, and after working with it today, I find it to be a nice little mid-range phone.
With its 800 MHz processor, 3.2-inch display, and stock build of Android 2.1, the Acclaim reminds me a lot of the Samsung Moment with Sprint. That being said, it trades in the Moment's bulky, block-like look with a clean, curved shape that resembles the Samsung Intercept. Though it packs a full QWERTY keyboard, the Acclaim is a reasonably sized device. Coming in at 4.49 inches long by 2.32 inches wide by 0.6 inch thick and tipping the scales at 4.93 ounces, it fits in a pocket with ease.
You'll find a volume rocker and microSD card slot (with support for up to 32 GB) on the left side, and the microUSB charging port and camera shortcut button on the right. The power button and 3.5mm headphone jack are on the top, and the camera and speakerphone are on the back. Sure, I'm spoiled by the AMOLED displays out there, but I have a soft spot in my heart for devices with 3.2-inch displays. Like the 3.7-inch units out there, it's a fantastic balance between small and the 4+-inch behemoths on the market.
The Acclaim offers the standard version of Android 2.1, and though I've become fond of custom software like Sense UI, TouchWiz, and MOTOBLUR, it has been a pleasure to deal with vanilla Android again. Like other mid-range Android devices out there (Ally and Intercept come to mind), the Acclaim sports a full QWERTY keyboard. The keys are tactile, large, and easy to use, and I had fully adjusted to using it by the end of the day. As I've said before, I prefer an extra row for the space bar and various symbols, but it's personal preference. For touchscreen-only fans, the standard Android on-screen keyboard is also included.
The Acclaim offers a 3-megapixel camera, so as you would expect, picture quality isn't the greatest in the world. Images are slightly blurry thanks to the lack of autofocus and colors are somewhat washed out, but it's decent enough for the occasional snapshot. A flash is included, and the Acclaim offers the ability to adjust white balance, color effect, picture size, picture quality, and focus mode. Video quality is good for a quick MMS or casual recording, but I wouldn't use it on a daily basis.
I won't comment on call quality or data speeds since I'm not in a US Cellular native coverage area (I will be this weekend - stay tuned for those numbers in the full review), but the earpiece has been sufficiently loud in all of my test calls. I was also able to pair a Bluetooth headset to the device with ease. The Acclaim supports EVDO Rev. A connectivity, so I'm sure data speeds will be good.
The Acclaim offers a 1,500 mAh battery with estimated talk time of 8 hours, and 19 days of standby time. I'm still working with battery life numbers, but the Acclaim appears to be on par with other Android devices. With moderate use encompassing calling, messaging, e-mailing, downloading apps from the Android Market, I was able to make it about 10 1/2 hours before the device powered down. Keep in mind that the device is roaming 100 percent of the time, so battery life numbers should improve once I'm in a US Cellular coverage area.
The Acclaim is available now for $99.95 after mail-in rebate and two-year agreement at US Cellular. Stay tuned - the full review is on the way!