Acer Liquid Jade review

Acer's best phone yet, at a mid-range price point

Acer Liquid Jade review
Functional is the word.

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The essentials

The phone dialler and contacts apps that Acer has put together here look smart and clear but behind the tweaked interface there are no real differences between these apps and the ones you'll get with stock Android.

The calls I made were loud and clear and I didn't suffer any drops, though it's worth pointing out that there's no ambient sensor on the Acer Liquid Jade, so it can't tell when you have your face up to the handset.

It's a small issue that isn't really a problem but it shows another area where you're getting what you pay for, something less than a top-of-the-range smartphone.

The 2MP snapper on the front of the unit is fine for video calling but that's about it, which is par for the course on the majority of phones out there. If you really want to look your best on Skype or Hangouts then you're going to need something like the HTC Desire Eye.

Acer Liquid Jade review

The dialler and contacts apps have been given a lick of Acer paint but there are no unique features

Hangouts is here for your text messaging needs but there is actually another messaging app that looks like it's been left over from the Android editions of days gone by. It's basic and functional but you're probably going to want to jump ship to Hangouts or indeed something else as quickly as possible.

The web is another place where you'll be spending plenty of your time: both the pre-installed browser app and Chrome worked smoothly, with no problems accessing sites over Wi-Fi or mobile networks (don't forget there's no 4G support here).

Moving around some of the flashier, more interactive sites was a sluggish experience, which is probably another consequence of the average internal specifications sported by the Acer Liquid Jade.


Back to that 13MP camera then, and the Acer Liquid Jade managed to take very good pictures in most lighting conditions, a summary you could apply to many a mid-range phone of recent times. Low light occasionally confused the camera software but I still managed to get decent results in dark areas with and without flash.

This is by no means a mobile camera up there with the very best, but it is a step above what you would normally expect for something at this price point. With Android phones typically struggling in the camera department, it's one of the Acer Liquid Jade's best assets.

Acer Liquid Jade review

The rear camera has 13MP

Given enough time to frame a shot and work out your settings you can get images that are sharp and well saturated. If you're trying to snap something quickly and the lighting is less than ideal then blur and noise are definite problems - the autofocus isn't particularly nimble.

Acer's own camera app comes with a bevy of different modes and settings, some of which are more useful than others: landscape, night, night portrait, backlight, backlight portrait and portrait modes are all here as well as the standard auto setting, and you can control white balance manually and apply a handful of colour effects too.

Acer Liquid Jade review

There are plenty of options and settings to play around with on Acer's own camera app

In terms of video you can capture 1080p clips and there's a time lapse feature here that's fun to play around with - you can even pause recording, Vine-style.

Like Samsung's proprietary photo app it's possible to switch from videos to photos with one tap rather than two which helps. It's a more feature-rich alternative to the stock Android camera, though a little less polished.

Acer Liquid Jade review

The camera generally impresses in terms of sharpness, colour and vibrancy

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Acer Liquid Jade review

If you give the camera enough time you can get some decent low-light shots, but it's sometimes hit and miss

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Acer Liquid Jade review

In most situations you'll get better pictures from the Liquid Jade than from other smartphones at this price

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David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.