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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In terms of performance and design, Acer has improved upon its flagship from last year with the Liquid Jade S. Yet it is still far from the finished article and exhibits a number of issues that, unless you are looking for a dual-SIM device, are hard to overlook.

We liked

Thanks to the octa-core processor and Acer's minimal software tweaks, the performance of the Liquid Jade S is simply stellar. For just over £200, it's arguably one of, if not, the most powerful mid-range smartphones currently available – and even gives flagships a run for their money.

Design is another major high point with the lightweight, curvaceous build resulting in a solid and comfortable in-hand feel. The dual-SIM card slot is well integrated into the phone's aesthetic and, while the feature is not essential for everyone, it's incredibly handy for many businesspeople and frequent travellers.

Expandable storage in the form of a microSD is a welcome addition, although you do have to sacrifice one of the nanoSIM card slots for the privilege.

On the software side of things, Acer's Liquid UI is functional and includes the useful 'Float Apps' multitasking feature, allowing you to use multiple mini apps at once on one screen.

We disliked

The rather quiet pair of speakers on the Liquid Jade S really hampers the overall core experience. If you're in a loud spot you'll be hard to pushed to hear anything through the earpiece, and due to the muted output of the rear-firing unit, it's easy to miss a call or notification.

Even DTS enhanced audio cannot save the rear speaker from sounding faint and a little tinny. If you want acceptable audio, you have to slip on a pair of headphones.

Battery life is average at best and only light-to-moderate users will make it through the day without needing to charge. Power-saving mode is present, but heavy users will definitely rue Acer's decision not to go for a removable battery.

Linked into the issue of battery life, Android Kitkat is currently on-board the Liquid Jade S and despite being stable, it doesn't include optimisations for the 64-bit processor. An update to Lollipop will rectify this, but at present it still hasn't been released for the Liquid Jade S.

Considering the promising optical specs and impressive camera app, results are disappointing. Both the primary 13MP unit and the 5MP snapper up-front produce noise-filled images and videos that lack clarity as well as detail.

Final verdict

Acer is heading in the right direction with the Liquid Jade S, showcasing its ability to combine an impressive design and blistering performance with an affordable price tag.

That being said, there are still a few key areas where it suffers in comparison to other mid-range offerings, and as a result, the Liquid Jade S may not be at the top of everyone's wish list.

However, if you are in the market for an affordable dual-SIM smartphone that is powerful and well made, you'll be hard pushed to find one better than the Acer Liquid Jade S.

First reviewed: April 2015