You probably know Acer for its good-value laptops, but with the Liquid Leap it's having a crack at the big noise in lifestyle tech: wearables. The Liquid Leap is a fitness tracker with a hint of smartwatch functionality.
At £80 it's not a price for a band with a full display. However, with a fiddly fit and only surface-level features in each of its areas, it's best used as a simple watch and pedometer.
Design and Screen
The great thing about opting for a fitness tracker rather than a full-blown smartwatch is that it'll likely be a good deal smaller. At about an inch wide, the Acer Liquid Leap's face doesn't bogart your wrist and doesn't scream for attention either.
Of course, it doesn't look like a normal watch either. A rubbery plastic strap snakes around the front to meet a rectangular display. There's no curved glass Samsung-style flashiness here, and, in the white version at least, the great difference in tone between the screen and the strap is a bit jarring. The Acer Liquid Leap is not an especially stylish device, although the black version does seem to look a bit better, and is less likely to show up grime.
Like many other fitness bands, the Acer Liquid Leap uses two little metal prongs that jam into slots on the other side of the band to secure the band on your wrist, rather than a more traditional watch strap. Get the thing on and it's very secure, though doing so can be easier said than done at times.
As the Acer Liquid Leap rubbery-plastic strap is a little on the hard side, you have to push very hard to get the prongs through. This gets a little better as the strap wears a bit, however, and should become easier with practice.
The rival Sony SWR30 is a good deal easier to work with, and a bit more comfortable. Where the back of the SWR30 is curved, the Acer's rear plate is pretty flat so doesn't hug your wrist.
However, it's pretty comfortable regardless. The Acer Liquid Leap weighs just 15g meaning it pretty much disappears on your wrist unless you do the thing up tight enough to make your hand turn blue.
There are also zero buttons to worry about. The Acer Liquid Leap uses only gestures and its teeny-tiny touchscreen for operation.
Two taps turn the band on, with a little metal bit next to the screen acting as a suggestion of where you might tap. This gesture takes a bit of getting used to, though. As it seems to rely on the accelerometer rather than a capacitive sensor, you have to give the Acer Liquid Leap a fair old whack to make it wake up. Two tiny taps won't do.
Still, the screen is one of the Acer Liquid Leap's best bits. The £80 price makes this one of the cheaper fitness bands to offer a proper screen, and it's about as crisp and clear as one of those blue-sky winter mornings where your breath comes out like freezing fog.
The Acer Liquid Leap has a 0.9-inch OLED screen of 128 x 32 pixels. Resolution is very, very low, but as the screen is monochrome it's able to look crisp and pixellated at the same time — as if deliberately lo-fi.