Acer Liquid E Android smartphone

Acer's Liquid E offers good performance and all the features of Google's Android OS, but lacks any real wow factor

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Acer Liquid E
  • Acer Liquid E
  • Acer Liquid E
  • Acer Liquid E

Pros

  • Impressive performance, curved design, notifying LED icons, upgradeable to Android 2.2, battery life

Cons

  • Flimsy build quality compared to competitors, lacks wow factor, glossy screen hard to see in direct sunlight

Bottom Line

Acer's Liquid E offers good performance and all the features of Google's Android OS, but its questionable build quality and the fact it lacks any real wow factor makes it a tough sell - especially without a carrier.

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Acer's Liquid E smartphone, part of the company's first foray into the Australian mobile phone market, is a capable Google Android handset with respectable performance and a reasonable list of features. However, it lacks any real wow factor and will struggle to compete with established players in the market.

Acer does deserve credit for the Liquid E's design — its curved, wide plastic body is distinctive and it fits nicely in the palm of your hand, and the glossy white finish makes it look different to most of the other Android smartphones on the market. Build quality feels reasonable, but pales into comparison to the likes of Apple's iPhone 4 and HTC's Desire. The plastic casing creaks uncomfortably when pressed, the rear cover feels flimsy and the rubber flap covering the mini-USB port feels cheap. The Liquid E is also quite a thick smartphone.

We like the fact that Acer has only included the necessary touch-sensitive keys below the Liquid E's display: home, search, back and menu. A dedicated camera button, external volume controls and a power key are the only other physical keys on the Acer Liquid E, keeping its design minimalist. A handy feature is the hidden, white LED icons integrated into the top of the Liquid E, notifying you of missed calls, SMS messages and battery levels. The Acer Liquid E has a responsive 3.5in capacitive touchscreen that produces bright colours and crisp text, but its glossy finish makes it hard to see in direct sunlight.

The Acer Liquid E runs the 2.1 version of Google's Android operating system and it includes all the regular features and functions of the OS including access to the Android Market for third-party apps, an excellent notifications taskbar and automatic and seamless synchronisation with Google services. Acer says the Liquid E will be upgradeable to the latest 2.2 version of Android (called Froyo) but hasn't specified a timeframe. Froyo will add full Flash support, built-in wireless tethering, and the ability to store third-party apps on your SD card, as well as a range of other improvements.

Unlike many other Android smartphone manufacturers, Acer hasn't customised the standard Android UI. It has included a few widgets including an Acer clock and a "web player" widget that displays a rolodex of your browser bookmarks, and the Liquid E comes preloaded with Facebook and Twitter (Twitdroid) applications. Acer has also included Documents To Go for handling Microsoft Office files and RoadSync calendar and mail applications for enhanced Microsoft Exchange support, and the phone offers a customised on-screen keyboard as an option. We prefer the standard Android keyboard as the Acer one is small and cramped.

The Acer Liquid E smartphone has a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus but no flash, and it doubles as a video recorder. The lack of a flash makes photography in low light conditions near impossible, while the video recording quality lacks the clarity of many competing models. Other features include a built-in accelerometer, a GPS receiver, a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and a microSD card slot for extra storage.

The Acer Liquid E's general performance and battery life are both impressive. We didn't encounter any lag or slowdown during regular use, while the battery lasted notably longer than many similar Android smartphones, going almost two days without needing a recharge.

Acer environmental policy

According to Acer, the company helps "reduce waste and the impact on the environment by introducing initiatives such as 'Plant 1 Million Trees', 'Take Back Program' and Carbon Offset Programs with education departments." More information about the company's green initiatives can be found on its Web site

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