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Acer M220 hands-on review at MWC 2015

We check out Acer’s first Windows Phone 8.1 handset, the M220, a super-cheap compact mobile that will get the full Windows 10 treatment later in 2015.

Acer has made the leap from Android to Windows Phone for the uber-budget M220, a cheap and reasonably cheerful handset that should cost around the £69 mark when it hits the UK this month. That makes it a serious rival to the likes of the Lumia 535 in the affordability stakes, but is it actually a decent everyday handset too?

Well, it’s clearly a low-cost handset from the moment you pick it up. The no-frills design isn’t going to blow anyone away, with the sharp-edged plastic frame screaming ‘budget business blower’. Thankfully the M220 seems to be solidly built, with no hints of flex or weak points.

You’ll immediately notice that the dinky 4-inch screen is surrounded on all sides by thick bezels, which bulk up the handset quite considerably. However, I could still just about use the M220 one-handed without dropping it, which is always a bonus.

The screen itself is quite low-res (233 pixels-per-inch) and colours don’t exactly pop off or dazzle, giving an experience similar to Alcatel’s similarly cheap One Touch Pop S3. That said, it seems to be perfectly fine for the basics: emailing, checking the web and so on.

A basic Snapdragon 200 processor runs the show but thankfully Windows Phone 8.1 doesn’t need too much power to run smoothly, so I didn’t see any stuttering when zipping around the desktops and menus. Apps sometimes took their time opening up, most likely due to the limited RAM, but on the whole the M220 runs well.

The 5-megapixel rear camera with wide-angle lens continues the budget theme, struggling with the tricky booth lighting and producing over-exposed photos. It’s just about fine for taking silly social snaps but won’t cut it if you want to create an album of treasured memories.

You also have a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, although our demo unit produced quite dark images in the Acer booth. We’re hoping that it performs better in real-life situations.

The Acer M220 is certainly one of the more affordable Windows Phone handsets out there and seems to work fine for the basics, but if you’re after a decent camera or a prettier screen you’ll need to up your budget.

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