Devices – June

This month I have been testing a Windows based smartphone from Acer (Liquid M220) and the unique ConferenceCam Connect from Logitech.

ConferenceCam Connect 

ConferenceCam-ConnectI was a little sceptical when I first recieved this device as I wasn’t convinced that the use case was significant to warrant it even being in existence. The camera is cylindrical and includes a high HD camera and a 360 degree speaker which can turn just about any room you are in into a conference room.

Ideally suited for people on the move the device comes with multiple connectivity options and outputs which can link up to TVs or projectors if necessary. It is also designed to work with UC platforms such as Skype for Business, Jabber, WebEx, Citrix GoToMeeting and Google Hangouts.

The camera is designed for small groups to use but after seeing the 90 degree field of view it can deliver it would be comfortable to use in larger groups if the room being used was big enough. It has a remote control which can tilt the camera, zoom or pan just so you can make sure you are showing your best side!

I was only moderately impressed with this gismo until I got to the WiFi for screen mirroring functionality. Android and Windows users can use Mirrorcast to wirelessly screen mirror content from a mobile to a TV or projector via the ConferenceCam. This is a great added extra which sets this apart from other offerings in the market in my opinion.

The great thing out the ConferenceCam Connect is its versatility. Connect it to your smartphone or laptop or… just about anything really! It also has a rechargeable battery which will give 15 hours of speakerphone calls or 3 hours of video conferencing which gives it the ultimate flexibility. It’s a little heavy for my liking but it is a quality piece of kit which will set back about £449 in the UK. If you do a lot of conference calls and move about then this is what you are looking for.

Acer Liquid M220

acer220winphoneAcer has been making big splashes in the mobile market recently and have been working on this device to turn peoples heads away from the Lumia range when it comes to choosing a Windows OS smartphone. I was naturally excited to see what they have come up with.

My enthusiasm was somewhat dampened when I realised this was competing with the very bottom end of the market, in fact this is the cheapest Windows OS phone you can get you hands on… £69.99 (that is not a misprint!). For that money you get a 4-inch WVGA (800 x 480 pixels) display, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage (upgradable via microSD), 5-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel front facing ‘selfie’ camera.

This is only really powerful enough for basic, low intensity, apps. Potentially it is an ideal business device as users will be deterred from engaging in their social ‘app’ lives. The battery is only 1300mAh but lasts a surprisingly long time when you are only covering the basic tasks. The storage is abysmal (4Gb) as the OS takes up approximately 2.6Gb which doesn’t  leave much to play with and also makes the microSD option an automatic extra.

Currently packing Windows 8.1 Acer has promised that Windows 10 will be an upgrade when available. Whether the phone will be able to cope with the system upgrade is yet to be seen but it could be the enhancement to give it that little bit of zing which is currently missing.

The device is surprisingly well built considering the price but isn’t going to win any beauty prizes. The textured back is a nice touch as it gives it that extra bit of grip in the hand. In all this device is decidedly underwhelming but serves its purpose well. I can see a lot of people using it as their second device or as solely a business phone. As consumer and business worlds continue to collide and people are looking to unclutter their pockets it remains to be seen if this a smart move from Acer.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine