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Acer Liquid Metal review

Acer's follow up to the Stream brings Android 2.2, but dials back the specs slightly.

Acer liquid metal

If we sit the Acer Liquid Metal next to its own stablemate the Acer Stream, we think we like the Stream more. A bigger screen, faster processor, more pleasing physical design and FM radio give it a lift. But then, it's a little more expensive.

Looking further afield, the (soon to be) Android 2.2-toting HTC Wildfire is still a good buy and considerably less expensive than the Stream, while the Samsung Wave, though not an Android handset, might be a viable alternative for some people.

Our top alternative choice, though, has to be the Motorola Defy. With its toughened glass, water resistant design and generally shockproof credentials, it adds in Motorola's MotoBlur social networking system and gives the Acer Liquid Metal a good run for its money for a roughly similar price.

We liked

The screen, while small, is clear and sharp, and very responsive. A definite plus.

Facebook and Twitter are integrated into contacts, and it was great to be able to start making calls and posting on walls within minutes of powering up. Note, though, that the contacts app refused to pick up our Twitter contacts, indicating an early glitch.

Sound quality is relatively good thanks to Dolby mobile, and video playback smooth. We could easily fritter away time on YouTube.

We disliked

We aren't too sure we like the physical design of the Acer Liquid Metal a great deal. That curved back causes desktop usage problems without having a strong plus point.

The user interface, despite being called Breeze, is a bit of a pain to get used to. Some people may like it, but we found it rather convoluted.

The camera seems to have trouble focusing and dealing with light variations. Maybe it was just a problem with our sample, but if you really care about your phone's camera, give it a try before you buy.

We didn't appreciate having to install Flash for ourselves or to needing to sign in to Facebook and Twitter twice.

Verdict

Acer has followed up its Stream with another smartphone that doesn't quite live up to expectations. The price is attractive, and the screen is very good, but there are some irritations too. We aren't sure we like Breeze as a user interface, the camera needs some work, and for all its social media integration we don't appreciate how convoluted the process is.

This is a step in the right direction for Acer, but we still struggle to see how this phone really differentiates itself from the rest of the Android crowd. Its mid-range price and standard specs are pretty consistent in the market these days, and although Breeze is a different UI, it's hardly a Breeze to use.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory512 MB
Built-in FlashYes
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 1900, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourBrown
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameAcer
Battery Talk Time8 Hour
Product ModelS120 Liquid Metal
Screen Size9.1 cm (3.6")
Screen Resolution480 x 800
Weight (Approximate)135 g
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.2 Froyo
Messaging TypeEmail, Instant Messaging, SMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service)
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height115 mm
Width63 mm
Depth13.5 mm
Battery Standby Time550 Hour
ManufacturerAcer, Inc
Product NameS120 Liquid Metal Smartphone
Processor Speed800 MHz
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer
Manufacturer Part NumberXP.H58EN.011
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.acer.co.uk
Marketing Information

Premium quality, industry leading design. Next generation wireless with HD video capture. The Acer Liquid Metal is designed to fit perfectly into your life.

Subtle Chic

The Liquid Metal has been engineered using the finest materials; glass and metal have been moulded so perfectly that you'll think this smart phone was carved from one solid piece. The vivid, curved 3.6" screen beautifully displays photos, videos and the web in colour and clarity. Clever notification LEDs on top of the device blend in with the design, illuminating to inform you what you've missed. Liquid Metal goes beyond a phone and becomes a part of your style.