Acer liquid e review

How many Android phones are there on the market at the moment? Thirty? You can count the ones with good cameras on one hand. The Dell Streak and HTC Desire are the ones that spring to mind, but nothin else really stands out.

The inauspicious tradition continues here with the Acer Liquid E. The 5MP sensor is exactly the same as the one housed on the Liquid S100.

Auto-focus is on board, but we would have really liked to have seen an LED flash and touch-to-focus, but it's difficult to expect a lot from a company with less photography experience than it has smartphone experience.

In good light, the camera can churn out some very decent results, with good colour reproduction and a decent amount of detail, but without the sun's help, it's very much a lame duck.

Trying to get up-close and personal is a waste of time, as the lens just cannot handle any kind of attempt at macro photography.

Taking pictures takes a long time, either through the on-screen shooting button or the hard button, neither of which incorporate a two-step focus that we've become accustomed to on some Android phones.

You have to really push the hard button right in to take a snap and it's a slippery customer, so taking pics isn't the most pleasurable experience in the world.

There's also a bunch of Android-imposed shooting settings, which can be summoned from a tab in capture mode. They include white balance, colour mode, location storage and ISO, but 99 per cent of the time you'll be using the custom setting.

Mono can produce some decent black and white pics however, while the Daylight WB setting improves contrast in your pictures.

Acer liquid e

DARKNESS: The phone struggles to let in light, even though you can see clear blue skies above

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Acer liquid e

LANDSCAPE: Contrast is very heavy, restricting brightness in this shot

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Acer liquid e

SUNNY: There's a much better showcase of natural colour and light when the sun peeks through the clouds

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Acer liquid e

MACRO: It's extremely difficult to get up close and personal with subjects from a close distance. The focus always tends to the background

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Acer liquid e

ZOOM: Images become extremely noisy when zoomed right in

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Acer liquid e

DETAIL: The camera can still showcase a decent amount of detail in the right light

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The Liquid E does put the geotagging to use more prominently than many of the latest smartphones. After taking a picture, you can instantly select a 'Show on map' option, which quickly prompts a Google Maps positioning of your snap.

This also crosses over into the brilliantly-designed custom Gallery application, that we first saw on the Google Nexus One, rumoured to be inspiring the design of Android 3.0 Gingerbread.

It's packed full of pretty animations, transitions and slideshows that would not look out of place on the Apple iPad.

Acer liquid e

Pictures load in a folder that also gives you the location of the pictures if you have it enabled (in this instance Shrewsbury, Shropshire) and options to share, crop and show on a map.

The NemoPlayer gallery, which isn't nearly as pretty, even gives the exact longitude and latitude co-ordinates. Fancy.

VGA video is also on-board, recording in customary 3GPP, which is basically an MPEG4. There's some similar video settings to the stills functionality, and the quality is pretty much as you'd expect from a basic Android phone.

Footage is surprisingly clear, however, and detailed. Although at just 20 frames per second, it's quite choppy. Again, everything is hugely dependent on natural light.