Editor's Review of the Liquid E
We're not too convinced on this handset's controversial branding, and were hoping that Acer had moved on since their previous release, the Liquid A1. Sadly, the Liquid E proves to be almost identical to its predecessor, with a few added tweaks that managed to raise a smile.
Design & Build
If you've seen the Acer Liquid A1, you've seen the Liquid E. Bizarrely, both handsets have an almost identical clunky design, and we were hoping that Acer would release a more slimline version. At 64mm thick, we found the handset to be quite uncomfortable in the palm, and it was a tight squeeze to get it to fit in our pocket. We didn't struggle with its weight though, as at just 135g, it tips the scales at 2g lighter than the iPhone 4.
Nonetheless, it's sort of worth the bulk when you set your eyes on the 3.5 inch capacitive touchscreen display, boasting a 480 x 800 pixel resolution. It's a fantastic screen, which underneath houses 4 backlit capacitive Android keys, for: Home, Search, Back and Menu.
Our favourite little feature is the illuminating lights on the top of the handset, notifying you of your battery status, missed calls and new messages. It can get a bit irritating if you're trying to sleep, though!
OS & Interface
Unlike its identical twin, the Acer Liquid E comes equipped with Android 2.1 onboard, a much welcome upgrade from the Android 1.6 platform sluggishly operating on the A1.
Acer have created a custom skin for the handset, and have done a surprisingly good job. It appears extremely vibrant on the large WVGA display, unless subjected to direct sunlight, and we were pleased to see the handset packed in 5 separate homescreens. Scrolling through these was pretty smooth, although not as slick as on HTC's Android packed handsets. At the end of the multiple homescreens are two media carousels, providing you with instant access to your favourite websites and multimedia, which we thought was a nice little touch.
With a 768MHz processor onboard, we experienced no lag when opening applications, and quite enjoyed Acer's animated effects that add a bit of much-needed character to the handset.
One thing we really didn't like however, is the onscreen keypad. Although its large and relatively easy to use, we were unable to turn off the haptic vibrations, which slowed the whole messaging process down. The built-in dictionary was a pain too, which kept correcting unnecessary words.
Multimedia & Storage
We were a bit disappointed to see the same 5 megapixel camera on this handset as on its older sibling, which still lacked any form of flash. It does however, come equipped with autofocus, which allows it to churn out some decent images when assisted by natural lighting. Although not the best camera we've seen, we were impressed with the geo-tagging function, which appeared much more prominent than on other Android smartphones. After taking an image, which can take some time, you are presented with a 'Show on Map' option, which prompts Google Maps to locate your photo, which is a nice touch.
The video camera produces surprisingly clear footage, however, at just 2 frames per second, it can be a little bit choppy. As with the camera, it's hugely dependant on natural lighting.
You have the choice of both Nemo Music Player and the official Android music player on this handset, and we preferred the Nemo option, which offered a better visual experience. The same can't be said for the audio quality, as the external speaker is pretty terrible. Once coupled with some decent headphones however, we were almost won over.
Browsing the web on any Android phone is always painless, and the Liquid E performs just as well as we were expecting. With HSDPA and WiFi connectivity onboard pages render quickly, and the integrated Android browser copes well with multi-touch gestures. Emailing is a breeze too, and you can add Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo accounts easily, without having to fiddle about with the server details. Each inbox is colour coded too, which proved very handy indeed.
Sorry to end this on a bad note, but we were extremely disappointed with the Liquid E's battery life. After 8 hours of use, the handset was dead. Once we plugged it in to charge, it needed half an hours worth of juice before it would even turn on.
It has to be said, the Acer Liquid E certainly has its flaws, be it its poor battery life or disappointing camera. Although it shows Acer are trying, we're not sure they've tried enough this time round. If you're after an Acer handset, we'd recommnend the Acer Stream, a device that shows the manufacturer at their best.
Acer Liquid E Specifications
115mm x 62.5mm x 12.5mm
Full capacitive touch screen
Type: TFT LCD
Size: 3.5 inches
Resolution: 480 x 800
Interface: Acer UI 3.0
External: microSD up to 32GB
GPS with maps
Up to 7.2 Mbps download speed
Up to 2 Mbps upload speed
Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g
Audio: 3.5mm stereo jack
Data: Standard miniUSB
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
A2DP for wireless stereo headsets
5.0 megapixel camera
At 20 fps
Battery Capacity: 1350 mAh
Talk Time: 300 minutes
Standby Time: 400 hours
Audio supported formats
Playback: MP3, 3GP, WAV, MIDI, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA
Video supported formats
Playback: MP4, H.263, WMV, DivX, XviD