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Acer Allegro Windows Phone: Hands-on and first impressions

Tucked away in the corner of Acer’s CES press conference was the Allegro Windows Phone handset we’d heard rumours of at the end of last year. This is the Mango version of the budget Windows Phone handset that Acer already had on sale in India, Taiwan and France, and it’s very similar to the prototype handset that Acer produced for Microsoft to use for internal development.

This is a budget handset rather than a premium device; without a contract the price is only £259. That’s because it has the specs of a first-generation Windows Phone: a 1GHz processor, 8GB of memory, 5 megapixel camera and 3.6” screen.
The micro USB connector is sensibly placed on the bottom of the device, the power button is on the top and volume and camera buttons are all on the right-hand side. The chassis is shiny black plastic, with rounded curves on top and bottom and capacitive buttons for the three standard controls. It’s lightweight rather than flimsy, comfortable to hold and there’s a place for budget Windows Phone devices that don’t break the bank, but it certainly doesn’t have the sleek feel of a Nokia Lumia 800.
But the Allegro has some advantages in terms of the apps and utilities Acer is including on the handset. There’s a ‘quick setup’ app to give you a faster way to turn Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and airplane mode on and off than delving all the way into the settings. There’s a Google Mail shortcut to get straight to your Gmail inbox. And there’s a Media Remote app that lets you share media from your phone or play media on your phone from a DLNA device; that means you could stream music from a PC or home server on your phone, or send video from your phone to a DLNA TV over Wi-Fi.
That’s the same thing you can do with the clear.fi software Acer puts on all its Windows notebooks, and one of the features of the clear.fi Media app that’s part of the AcerCloud service coming in the second quarter of 2012 (clear.fi Media also lets you turn on your home PC remotely to stream your music from it to your phone, or through your phone to another DLNA device, like a digital music system at a friend’s house). Although Acer has only announced clear.fi Media for Android and Windows, representatives also told us that the streaming software would be coming to Windows Phone “later on”.

The Allegro is a budget Windows Phone handset, running Mango, or Windows Phone 7.5

The phone feels lightweight and there’s a 5-megapixel camera

Media Remote is one of the apps designed especially for Acer’s Windows Phone handsets. It lets you share media from your phone or play media on your phone by streaming from a DLNA device such as a compatible TV or Media Streamer

Quick set-up lets you quickly activate Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Airplane mode without delving into the menus

On the right-hand side are volume and camera buttons

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