Acer Liquid Jade S review

S for speed: Acer's mid-ranger receives a welcome performance boost

Acer Liquid Jade S review

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The essentials

Unfortunately, despite it's snappiness, the Liquid Jade S does only a mediocre job of providing the core smartphone features.

Call volume, rather than call quality, is the major sore point here. The earpiece on the Liquid Jade S looks elegant and delivers a crisp sound. Yet, due to the low maximum in-call volume, it's extremely difficult to decipher what the person on the other end of the phone is saying when you're in a loud spot.

The problem can be alleviated by using a hands-free headset, but that's a compromise you shouldn't have to make.

Acer Liquid Jade S review

Extra features are available in Acer's stock dialler, contacts and messaging apps

The rear speaker's quiet output is also not the greatest when you're listening out for notifications and calls. While the speaker is difficult to muffle, the low maximum volume often results in missed calls and notifications if you don't have the vibrate setting enabled.

On a more positive note, Acer's decision to subtly customise the stock Android dialler, contacts and messaging apps, rather than adding features for the sake of features, results in a functional if not spectacular core experience.

Some of Acer's pre-installed apps, such as the FM radio, torch and file manager are handy in day-to-day use. However, a number of Google apps, also pre-installed, offer better options than the Acer alternatives.

Prime examples include Google Chrome and Photos, which are far more refined and feature-full than the stock browser and gallery apps.

That being said, you'll encounter little slowdown when browsing the internet via Google Chrome or the stock browser on the Liquid Jade S. Webpages load up in a flash and swiping through multiple tabs is a fluid affair.

Acer Liquid Jade S review

The pre-loaded keyboard apps are not the prettiest but they're functional

Being able to save webpages for offline viewing is certainly a useful feature of the stock browser; although it's not one that would persuade me to switch from Chrome, as I prefer the integration with Google's ecosystem.

Typing in the stock browser, or in any other app for that matter, is swift using either of the two pre-installed keyboards.

Swipe is enabled by default and while many prefer to type via swipes, the on-board Google Keyboard offers better English prediction and well-spaced keys.

Even though the 5-inch display on the Liquid Jade S is not the most pixel dense, consuming media should be at least a satisfactory experience. This is unfortunately not the case due to the poor, muted output of the rear speaker.

The microSD card slot in the SIM tray does offer media junkies extra storage for music and movies, yet in order to get audio of an acceptable quality, you'll have to slip on a pair of headphones.


One of the most common misconceptions is that if a smartphone camera has more megapixels, it will produce better images. While megapixels are important, they're not everything and the Liquid Jade S certainly illustrates this point.

A rear-facing 13-megapixel shooter with a f/1.8 aperture and single LED flash, combined with a 5MP snapper up-front sounds respectable for a mid-range device in 2015. Yet both cameras on the Liquid Jade S ultimately flatter to deceive, producing pretty grainy results that display a fair amount of noise upon closer inspection.

Acer Liquid Jade S review

Shots taken with 13MP rear camera are adequate for sharing on social media, but no better than that

In order to squeeze the most out of the protruding camera on the Liquid Jade S, you'll have to change the aspect ratio from 16:9 to 4:3. That's not ideal for those who enjoy taking landscape snaps on a regular basis, but the increase in resolution is noticeable when bumping the megapixel count up from 10 to 13.

Feature-packed, rather than elegant, is how I'd describe the camera interface on the Liquid Jade S. There's an impressive array of shooting modes and options, akin to those on high-end flagships such as the Sony Xperia Z3. Although, I feel that inclusion of a dedicated manual mode, like the one found in Lumia Camera on the Nokia Lumia 930, would have been a handy.

Acer Liquid Jade S review

Shots taken with 13MP rear camera are adequate for sharing on social media, but no better than that

The majority of capture and scene modes are useful, especially HDR and Night Mode. More unconventional modes such as 'Beautification' and 'Presentation' seem to work well enough, but will appeal only to a niche group of users.

Hitting the cog icon in the top left-hand corner of the the camera app opens up yet more tweakable settings. The menu here includes toggles for options such as continuous shutter and video stabilizer, two that arguably should be enabled by default.

Being able to select your preferred capture mode for the "Favourite shot" button to the left of the main shutter key is also a nice touch.

Much like the voice control feature of the Galaxy S6's camera app, voice command on the Liquid Jade S allows you to control aspects of the camera without having to touch the screen.

Aside from being unable to start a video recording via voice, the feature on the Liquid Jade S has more functionality than its Samsung counterpart.

As well as being able to snap a shot by saying one of the three trigger words, switching between the front and rear camera, selecting capture modes and even taking selfies, with the countdown timer, can be accomplished using your voice.

Thanks to the f/1.8 lens on the Liquid Jade S being able to let in more light, high ISO values can be used, resulting in fast shutter speeds. Autofocus is also pretty nippy and tap to focus is always available if needed.

Despite the competent camera app and promising specs, the Liquid Jade S manages to deliver only mediocre results. In well-lit conditions, you can take some passable shots with the 13MP rear snapper. Colours are not particularly vibrant and images are soft, lacking detail. Zooming in reveals a large amount of noise, and in general they're not the kind of photos you'll want to crop.