Acer Liquid E review

Acer's second Android phone adds an Eclair 2.1 update

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After re-reading our review of the Liquid S100, there was always a worry of simply rehashing what had already been written. After all, we're looking at almost exactly the same handset.

However, here's an area where we don't have to worry about that. The sole reason for this phone's re-release is the incorporation of the Android 2.1 Éclair operating system currently tasting the good life on the HTC Desire, Google Nexus One and Motorola Milestone.

Couldn't that have just been handled with a firmware upgrade, we hear you ask? Yes, but it's hardly worth rolling out a update that no-one is going to download. A re-release with this tweak gives them that second bite of the cherry as a 'new' Android 2.1 handset.

Acer liquid e

So how does it shape up? HTC has the brilliant Sense UI to overlay and enhance the open source software, while Motorola has MotoBlur, Sony Ericsson has TimeScape, so what can Acer do? Well, not a lot really.

One of the beauties of Android is that any man and his (engineering-savvy) dog can build a smartphone and thanks to the open source operating system, instantly produce a handset boasting an excellent and familiar interface without putting any real work in.

Dell certainly put in a shift to customise the 1.6-toting Streak, but Android 2.1 on the Liquid E appears largely organic.

Acer liquid e

The only real differences that are instantly apparent from navigating around the phone are the bookmarks and media carousels housed at either end of the five Home screens.

Bookmarks enables you to flick between mini pages, in an attractive dovetail design. Positioned at the right-hand edge of the screen, it works really well.

Acer liquid e

Better still is the media fan, enabling you to switch between recent pictures, music and video, which is a convenient way of accessing that content without delving deep within the phone.

Acer liquid e

Another neat innovation is the neat main menu interface, which operates on a rolling belt, serving up your favourite apps.

There's a nice depth to it, since you can see the icons above and below your current screen, ready to be rolled into play.

It's one of the nicer ways of displaying the multitude of Android apps that come pre-loaded on the OS. It's a shame it stops at the end rather than continuing in a cycle though.

Acer liquid e

Once you select an app, there's a neat 3D animation which draws the app out from the icon to engulf the screen, ably assisted in this instance by the Snapdragon processor, which opens applications in an instant. When you're done and close an app, it's then sucked it back in.

This helps to add a much-needed bit of character to the Acer Liquid E.

But that's kind of it. The rest is very much Android 2.1 in the way the Google gods intended. But is that necessarily a bad thing? Not at all. It boasts so much of the great functionality that HTC Hero and Dell Streak owners are lacking.

Let's start with Live wallpapers, an added bonus that has proved so popular on phones like the HTC Desire.

Even though it's rather shallow of us, they really add a lot to the phone's enjoyability and look fantastic on the 480 x 800 screen, unlike the Vodafone 845 Android 2.1 phone that recently crossed our path.

Acer liquid e

The Live Google Maps wallpaper is especially satisfying, and kept much better track of our progress than it did on the Vodafone 845. That handset had us stranded in North Wales instead of sunny Shrewsbury, while the Liquid E's GPS maintained our actual position very well.

The Nexus, a cacophony of touch sensitive coloured lights, is so much fun that it's worth keeping a Home screen bear for.

Acer liquid e

The addition of Android 2.1 allows an additional two Home screens, bringing the total on the Liquid E to five customisable screens. Navigating between them is smooth, but it doesn't feel as slick as on HTC's newest handsets.

As with most new Android phones, there's a means of navigating back and forth without swiping all the way from left to right, and this is done by holding the on-screen menu grid, prompting mini Home screen cards to appear.

Acer liquid e

Multitasking is present, and holding the touch-sensitive home key prompts a menu of open applications and the underclocked Snapdragon processor handles many open applications relatively well.

The Android connectivity bar, which enables you to control Wi-Fi, GPS, brightness, Bluetooth and syncing, is also here, and is another area where Android just makes life easy.

Also on board is Google's voice-to-text functionality, which works wonderfully when conducting web searches. However when we tried to tell the phone to "Call Mum new", the handset Googled "cool mom nude".

Brilliant. That's how we found out that voice-to-text functionality didn't work on the rest of the phone. And found a website with Ma Radar on we didn't want to see.

Acer liquid e

The phone's general search functionality also takes note from Apple's spotlight interface, which searches the phone for contacts and apps before consulting online Google options.

Holding the touch-sensitive Search icon beneath the screen prompts the voice-to-text Google search functionality.

All in all, on this handset, the interface is basic, but very, very usable. There's no overly-customised skin like HTC's Sense or Motorola's MotoBlur, but the beauty of Android is that it just works, and works very well indeed.

With a fast processor and a great screen, the array of widgets and apps are always going to be a winner.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory512 MB
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameAcer
Battery Talk Time5 Hour
Product ModelLiquid E
Screen Size8.9 cm (3.5")
Screen Resolution480 x 800
Weight (Approximate)135 g
Maximum Video Resolution640 x 480
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.1 Eclair
Messaging TypeEmail, Instant Messaging, SMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service)
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height115 mm
Width64 mm
Depth12.8 mm
Battery Standby Time9601.92 Hour
ManufacturerAcer, Inc
Product NameLiquid E Smartphone
Processor Speed768 MHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Proximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberXP.H480Q.070
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Socialize in high definition

The all-new Acer Liquid E equipped with the latest Android 2.1 Éclair, even more easy-to-use features and ultra-smart menus. With ultra-fluid, high-definition multimedia, stunningly fast applications and endless socializing on the go, this is the phone that will take your social and multimedia worlds into a new dimension. This is Liquid. Only better.

Designed to be special

Simplicity reigns supreme with the Acer Liquid E. The large 3.5" high-definition screen dominates the front, while an integrated 5MP camera is all you'll see on the back. But don't let the simple, ergonomic design fool you. The clean lines of the exterior conceal one of the world's most sophisticated mobile devices.