Archive for December, 2009

By December 31, 2009 Read More →

Tracy and Matt give the Nokia E72 a thorough testing

Our great friends over at Tracy and Matt have just published a review of the latest Nokia messaging device the E72. This handset is running Symbian still but apart from that it has a great form factor, superb QWERTY front facing keyboard and packs in 3G and WiFi.

Check out the full review here.

Posted in: Phones
By December 31, 2009 Read More →

Documents to Go Premium now supports Gmail Attachments

Word To Go Landscape on iPhone with Documents To Go!One of the most wanted features of Documents to Go for iPhone was the ability to get access to your Gmail attachments, sure we had desktop sync software and Exchange attachments, well from today via an update Docs to Go now supports accessing your Gmail attachments.

Also updated is the name, its now called Documents to Go Premium but if you paid for the original Exchange version it is a free update.

Get it from the App Store here.

Posted in: Phones
By December 31, 2009 Read More →

Nokia E72 Review

Back in June 2008 Nokia released the E71 which has been a massive success in most parts of the world. Will the new and improved version, the E72, continue that success? Read on to find out what I thought of it and more importantly if you think you will like it.

Is it a good alternative to a BlackBerry or the other front facing QWERTY devices?

E72-angled-left

Nokia E72

 

What’s in the box:

  • Device
  • Battery
  • Charger
  • USB Cable
  • Plastic Case/pouch (non belt clip)
  • Headphones
  • Cleaning Cloth
  • Wrist Strap

Please check out Matt’s unboxing video  to see the Nokia E72 in action.

 

The ten second review:

Device: Nokia E72

Price: £399.99

Summary: A hardcore messaging device with a superb QWERTY keyboard.

Best of: 3G, Wi-Fi, Keyboard, GPS< Camera.

Worst of: Symbian OS, Web Browser

 

 

Nokia E72 Specification:

  • Dimensions: 114 x 59.5 x 10.1mm
  • Weight: 128g
  • Battery: Capacity: 1500 mAh
  • Talk Time: 12.5 hrs
  • Standby Time: 576 hrs
  • Display: 320 x 240 pixels/2.36 inch
  • 2G: 850/900/1800/1900 (Quad-Band)
  • 3G: 900/1900/2100 (Tri-Band)
  • Camera: 5 mega-pixels (auto-focus)
  • LED Flash
  • FM Stereo Radio (RDS)
  • Visual Radio
  • Nokia Music Store
  • SMS / MMS (with video)
  • E-mail (POP3, SMTP, IMAP4, MS Exchange)
  • Memory: 250MB (internal)
  • microSDHC (external)
  • microUSB
  • Nokia 3.5mm AV connector
  • Bluetooth (2.0)
  • Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11g)
  • AGPS
  • Electronic Compass
  • Nokia Maps

 

 

 

General:

The top of the Nokia E72 houses the 3.5mm headset jack as well as the power button.

E72-top

Nokia E72 Top

 

On the left side is the MicroUSB slot and also the MicroSD card. Both are covered with plastic doors.

E72-left

Nokia E72 Left Side

 

The right contains the up/down volume rocker and also a voice command button.

E72-right 

Nokia E72 Right Side

On the back of the device you will find the camera lens and flash and also a speaker grill.

E72-back

Nokia E72 Rear

The front of the Nokia E72 is how you would expect a messaging device to look. Jam packed with buttons.

E72-front

Nokia E72 from the front.

 

 

Highlights:

  • Connectivity
  • QWERTY Keyboard
  • GPS
  • Design

 

Lowlights:

  • Operating System
  • Web Browser

 

Review:

 

Without doubt the Nokia E72 is a nice looking handset. I have always been a big fan of front facing QWERTY devices and this one is no exception. The combination of black plastic and shiny metal really give the Nokia E72 a quality look. The metal battery cover is quite unique as its silver and not black like on most phones. The Nokia E72 is a business tool and its snazzy design will be well suited to business professionals. The device feels very well built. It feels fairly heavy in the hand but sturdy and robust. It almost feels a bit odd as its so thin at only 10.1mm but that odd feeling is a good thing.

As well as the full QWERTY keyboard, the Nokia E72 has a further eight hardware keys under the screen.

E72-keyboard

Nokia E72 Keyboard

 

These comprise of two soft keys directly under the screen which select the onscreen options. Under these are four shortcut buttons. These are home, calendar, contacts and email. Finally under the shortcut keys are the call send and end. The buttons themselves are a softer plastic than the QWERTY keyboard keys and require very little pressure to press. They feel nice to use. Between all these keys is the optical track pad. I was pleasantly surprised by this as to look at it I just thought it was a D-pad which would allow for up/down/left & right with a select button in the middle. I was wrong. The centre is a proper optical track pad so you have two options for navigating the screen. You can either click up/down/left/right on the hard outer rim of the pad or use the inner optical part like a mouse so this will allow for diagonal movement. Handy in the web browser me thinks. Nice work Nokia.

Most users of the Nokia E72 will be getting the device for the QWERTY keyboard. Any what a nice keyboard it is. The keys are very similar in size to the ones found on the BlackBerry Bold 9700. The plastic keys are softer and require less pressure to make them click, however typing on the BlackBerry 9700 feels a wee bit easier and I think this is due to two features. The first of these is that the keys on the Nokia seem to be flat where as on the BlackBerry 9700 each key has a slight divit giving the feel that there is a bit more space between each key. The second difference I noticed is the materials used. As the keys on the Nokia E72 are a softer plastic they are not as shiny and for this reason I find that my thumbs seem to glide a bit better on the BlackBerry. Small differences I know but that’s what we are here for, to help highlight the small differences between devices.

Comparisons aside I cant actually fault the keyboard on the Nokia and I was able to use it as easily and mistake free as on my other devices. I have not used the Nokia E71 so its hard for me to say if its better or worse but what I can say is its real sweet!

 

The Nokia E72 runs Symbian Series S60 third addition and although extremely popular I really don’t like it. Don’t get me wrong, it works but I just find it a bit dated compared to other operating systems out there at the moment. One of the reasons its so popular is that a lot of users don’t even know they are using Symbian. They just think they are using a Nokia!

The home screen on the device gives quick access to a lot of features.

E72 HS

Nokia E72 Home screen

 

As you will see in the picture above this home screen is not bad in terms of how easy it is to scroll and access these features but cosmetically it is really not nice. If you compare this screen to Windows Mobile, Android, iPhone and even BlackBerry it really is not as attractive to look at. Such a shame as the device itself is so snazzy to look at yet it is let down by the home screen.

So lets now have a look at the Nokia E72s main features and see if they are good as they should be?

Within the main menu of the E72 is the media tab. Entering gives you a list of a further ten tabs. These are radio, media player, music store, recorder, gallery, camera, share online, realplayer, video centre and music search.

The media player is where you can listen to music. The music interface is straight forward and nothing special. I was expecting a decent sound quality from the Nokia E72 and I was not wrong. The headphones supplied with the device are really good and the “Metallica test” was a big success. It was loud, crisp and bassy, just the way I like it. There is also an equalizer so you can tweak the sound settings to your liking. Good job Nokia!

The added bonus with the music player is that you can use your own headphones if you want. The Nokia E72 comes with a 3.5mm headset jack. Cool!

The gallery option allows you to view photos and video clips. Again this was a decent area for the E72. Although not the biggest screen the images were crisp and bright and scrolling between them was simple with the optical pad. Watching video was also pretty good. The screen is vibrant and radiant producing a respectable viewing experience. Out of the box you will be limited to the video formats you can watch but a different video player can be downloaded which will allow for DivX support.

 

Its great having the Nokia Music store at your fingertips. I had not tried it before but it looks pretty good. Its easy to use and the prices are reasonable, on par with iTunes. In addition if you do have a large music collection on the device then the music search feature will be handy. Once launched you just say the name of the artist or track and the device finds it for you. Clever.

 

Onto the web browser. Browsing on a non touch screen device is never my favourite experience but I will give the Nokia E72 a fare crack of the whip.

I found the browser on the E72 to have good bits and bad. The positive bits were that the pages seemed to load quickly and scrolling down the page was extremely fast therefore allowing you to get to the bit you want. The device comes with both 3G and Wi-Fi so you can have the best download speeds available. On the downside, i could not get the browser to display the web page so I could see the whole of the page from left to right. This meant if i was reading something I would have to keep scrolling to the right to get to the end of the sentence. I could not put up with that on a daily basis. The browser overall performed well though and people that have not used a touch screen device will most likely not be as frustrated with it as I was.  I actually prefer browsing on my BlackBerry Bold 9700 to the E72. Sorry Nokia!

 

Business users of the device will be pleased that their is an Office section within the menu. Here you can create notes, view PDFs, use a dictionary and calculator but the best bit is QuickOffice. On previous Symbian handsets I have reviewed it has required a paid upgrade to create word and excel documents and I was expecting the same on the E72. How wrong I was. I opened the app and straight away created both a word doc and excel. A worthy bonus all round. 

 

With that nice QWERTY keyboard, messaging is one of the main things I would imagine is top of the list of features that prospective buyers of the Nokia E72 will be looking at. Its easy peasy to use on the E72. SMS is obviously straight forward but so is email. When you first start the device it will prompt you to input an email account and once that’s done you are up and running.

How does messaging on the Nokia E72 compare with other platforms?

Windows: Its certainly on par with Windows Mobile although I do prefer the interface on WinMo.

Android: Android is better and not only with Gmail.

iPhone: iPhone is better again but no option here for hardware keyboard.

BlackBerry: Silly question. The BlackBerry wins hands down!

 

So overall messaging on the Nokia E72 is adequate but certainly not the best. It works flawlessly but its not as simple to use as some of the other platforms.

 

Nokia normally do a reasonable job with the cameras on there devices and the 5MP camera on the E72 was pretty good. It was dead easy to use and the settings and options were simple. It was really just a case of point and shoot. It does not have the nicest camera interface but the sample shots I took were of decent quality (please bare in mind I had no sunshine to test it out with!) For indoor and low light shots the Nokia E72 comes with a LED flash which did a respectable job.

09112009013 09112009010

Nokia E72 camera test. With flash on the right image.

 

Conclusion:

The Nokia E72 is a nice phone. It could be a lot better if it was not running Symbian but that’s just my opinion. If you are a Nokia user already you will love the E72 and be very happy. Is it as good as the other front facing QWERTY devices out there at the moment? I would probably say so, apart from the BlackBerry smart phones. I think if you want the ultimate messaging device the the BlackBerry Bold 9700 is still the best, but not everyone will agree with me!

 

Posted by: James

Posted in: Reviews
By December 31, 2009 Read More →

Orange to launch mobile HD Voice in 2010

Here is a very interesting press release just in from Orange, looks like voice quality will be significantly improved on Mobiles in the future.

London, 31st December, 2009:  Orange today revealed it will be launching HD Voice nationwide for customers on its mobile network in 2010 – the first such announcement by a UK operator, and testament to the company’s focus on innovation.

With its crystal clear, superior sound quality, Orange’s introduction of HD Voice will herald a new era for mobile communications and a new standard for the telecoms industry.  HD Voice delivers excellent audio quality to mobile calls and will be available to Orange customers with a HD Voice enabled handset. Orange is already working with leading handset manufacturers on the development of devices to be rolled out next year.

The 2010 launch follows two years of considerable investment in the Orange mobile network with expansion and technology upgrades across large areas of the UK. Orange currently provides high speed 3G coverage to more than 93% of the UK’s population – more than any other UK operator – and was voted ‘Best Network’ by the readers of What Mobile magazine.

Tom Alexander, CEO of Orange UK, said:  “Orange is proud to be leading the industry into the next decade by announcing a new standard in voice innovation that will transform the mobile experience for customers in the UK.  HD Voice really does inject a level of innovation into mobile phone calls, making it sound as if callers are actually in the same room.  Once people have tried it, they won’t want to go back.”

HD Voice uses the WB-AMR (Wideband Adaptive Multi-Rate) speech codec.  This provides excellent audio quality due to a wider speech bandwidth of 50–7000 Hz compared to the current narrowband speech codec of 300–3400 Hz.  The WB-AMR (Wideband Adaptive Multi-Rate) delivers significantly enhanced sound quality whilst utilising the same network resources.

Further details on the Orange HD Voice roll out will be made available in 2010.

Posted in: Phones
By December 30, 2009 Read More →

Windows Mobile 7 and Xbox Live games linked

thumb_30-Dec-2009_xbox-live1

Our prayers have been answered over at Mobiletechworld. Microsoft’s biggest success recently is Xbox. Finally, it appears, that Microsoft has decided to link their flagging operating system to their prized piece. It’s a no brainer really and it will be interesting(or disappointing) as to what will come out the end of the of their mincing machine. If Microsoft can make an operating system that is is appealing to their legions of games console fans then they will corner one heck of a large percentage of the market. Check after the break for the complete article.

Posted in: Phones
By December 30, 2009 Read More →

HTC Confirms that HD2 Gets Windows Mobile 7 on Twitter

HTCHD2

Quickly becoming the most updated mobile in Windows Mobile history, the HD2 is getting Windows Mobile 7 making it the Windows Mobile phone to buy. I was notably impressed by the device on launch with only a couple of quibbles but now it has hit that the Windows Mobile 7 upgrade will occur possibly around this time next year. Bit of a wait but something for all those who managed to buy it to look forward too.

We just got an interesting news tip pointing to the HTC Twitter account from Russia. The tweet mentions that the only HTC device currently on the market to receive a Windows Mobile 7 upgrade will be the HD2. And we’ve suspected this for a while, considering that the HD2 meets Microsoft’s hardware requirementsfor Windows Mobile 7. Here’s what they said:
for Diamond 2 firmware is not planned. Of the existing communicators on the market, only the HD2 firmware to get WM7.
Hopefully what we see here is a true (and considering that this was said by an official HTC rep, it should be), because the HD2 is going to turn out to be one of the most popular smartphones of all time. If it’s getting an upgrade to 7, this will make a lot of people happy.
Thanks for the tip, av8612.
(via: HTC Russia Twitter)

[Source Pocket Now]

Pretty important update to this story here: It’s not quite true.

Technorati Tags: ,,
Posted in: Phones
By December 30, 2009 Read More →

WebOS 1.3.5 hits

browser_2009-02-12_1452192121212

Making good with their updates Palm has released a tidy looking update to WebOS. Reports are that the OS is notably faster, especially the browser. Have a read after the like for the update list.

Posted in: Phones
By December 30, 2009 Read More →

LG GM750 Review

Having just reviewed the Samsung Omnia Lite, there seems little point in reviewing the LG GM750, as on the face of it they are pretty much the same device, the Omnia was overall capable and usable is there anything about the LG to set it apart and make it stand out in the crowd?

Exclusive to Vodaphone let’s see how the GM750 compares…..

The LG GM750

The LG GM750

What’s in the box?

  • The LG GM750
  • User manual.
  • 3.5mm connecting headset
  • MicroUSB connection adaptor for the headset
  • AC plug with a USB to microUSB connection lead

Take a look also at Matt’s LG GM750 unboxing video for more.

 

LG GM750 Specification:

  • Operating System – Windows Mobile 6.5
  • Processor – QCT MSM7200A 528MHz processor
  • Memory – 250MB Internal
  • Display – TFT resistive touchscreen, 262K colours, 240 x 400 pixels, 3.0 inches
  • S Class Touch User Interface
  • Accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate
  • Operating Frequency – GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900  3G Network HSDPA 900 / 2100 
  • 3G HSDPA, 3.6 Mbps
  • WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, DLNA
  • Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP 
  • microUSB
  • GPS Integrated with A-GPS
  • microSD (TransFlash), up to 32GB
  • Camera – 5 MP, 2560 x1920 pixels, autofocus
  • Battery – Standard battery, Li-Ion 1500 mAh
  • Dimensions – 109.8 x 56.5 x 11.9 mm
  • Weight – 103 grams with battery

General

On the top of the unit is the lock/ power button

LG GM750 Top View

LG GM750 Top View

 

Left hand side is home from top to bottom the loop for connecting the stylus or charms, followed by the covered microUSB sync/charge/headset slot, next the volume up/down rocker.

LG GM750 left side view

LG GM750 left side view

 

Nothing to see on the bottom

 

The right hand side, from top to bottom are a covered microSD card slot, next the ‘Multitasking’ key which is essentially a Task Manager launcher shown in the review, and finally the dedicated camera button.

LG GM750 right side view

LG GM750 right side view

 

On the rear of the LG there is the 5 Megapixel autofocus camera with a tiny mirror, but no flash.

LG GM750 back view

LG GM750 back view

 

Around the front of the phone is an earpiece (which on the review unit has a rough edge) a proximity sensor and a forward facing ‘inner’ camera, below which is the 3″, 240 x 400 pixels touchscreen, underneath this is the call/answer key and the end/home key, which flank the optical joystick button.

GM750-front

LG GM750 front view

 

 

Highlights

  • Simple to use
  • 5 megapixel camera
  • Fully customisable User Interface
  • Good spec including optical joystick

Lowlights

  • Build quality
  • Unresponsive screen

Review

Out of the box the LG GM750 looks good and feels solid the rounded edges of the device make it feel nice in hand. I was slightly disappointed by the rough edges of the earpiece, but that could just be the review unit.

The ‘Home’ screen on the revamped LG style UI is divided into 5 separate screens similar to the android devices and also Touchflo. The first screen is for Notifications such as missed calls, text, email and also appointments. This very much does away with the traditional Windows interface and does it well, although you can always use the traditional menus of you wish.

clip_image002 clip_image004 clip_image006clip_image008clip_image010

The second screen is intended for widgets, the third for media, forth for favourite contacts and finally one for applications. Although there are a lot of choices they do appear to be easy to use and to customise, with large, clear icons.

The interface is speedy and rotations of the screens seem smooth and there is only a minimal lag in presenting the applications. After my comments about the screen on the oh so similar Omnia Lite, the LG doesn’t seem to suffer from the same screen resolution problems, I am not sure if it is the UI or the settings but this screen seems sharper and more focused, possibly due to the 262K colours?

Texting is fine when using the LG based keyboard

clip_image012clip_image014

The phone call side of life is just as easy and there were no issues here either as long as you keep your ear off the sharp edges of the earpiece! Clarity was fine and no surprises in this area I have included the LG version of the phone keypad for your delectation.

clip_image016

It was good to see that LG have included the 1500 mAh battery to give that much more capacity, I had read reviews stating 1000 mAh which would have been a mistake.

This device has exactly the same annoyances as the Samsung Omnia Lite in that I found myself having to jab at the screen several times to get a response and the ‘x’ at the top of the screen more often than not brought up the appointment pop up instead of closing the screen which was the desired outcome, frustrating! The need here for a stylus is obvious but as with the Omnia it is a standalone unit that can be attached via the loop at the top of the device. Not good, for me.

I have to say that the upgraded camera appears to be better than that on the Samsung, coming in at 5 megapixels and with one of the smallest mirrors I have seen, still no flash unfortunately. The pictures are better but still no match for a dedicated camera. For some reason I did notice that there is a zoom facility on the camera but you cannot use it if the camera is set at 5 megapixels there is only a pop up that states ‘Zoom function cannot be applied at 5M pixels.’, not being a camera expert could not figure out why this would be, perhaps Matt the camera junkie could let us know?

Another demonstration of one-upmanship shown by LG is the inclusion of the optical joystick, for scrolling and entering this works well and is definitely preferable to the back button option found on the Omnia. It is also customisable with the option to have a virtual mouse if required, as well as speed options.

GPS worked well, I was unable to tell what the Vodaphone version of the Navigation was like as they did not provide a sim to be able test, no Google maps or bundled software included but N drive and Google both worked fine and where responsive and useable.

The multitasking button brings up a surprise that I haven’t seen before in a Task Manager there is either List or picture which is Windows aero stylee as seen in pictures 1 and 2. Also swiping the menu at the bottom of the Home screen brings up a new scrollable menu rows seen in picture 3 which looks confusing but proved to be really easy to use.

clip_image018 clip_image020 clip_image022

Conclusion

Setting aside the build quality that could be the review unit, I feel that LG and Vodaphone have done a better job with the GM750, it is a very capable device with a great spec, it has extras over and about the Samsung Omnia in the camera and optical joystick, so for me appears to be a better option to buy on that basis. The downside is that it is exclusive to Vodaphone and will mean locking yourself in to an 18 month or 24 month deal to get your hands on one of these devices.

So if you are due an upgrade or you are looking of a new high spec device, take a look at the LG GM750, you will have to deal with its small annoyances though, these I am sure can be remedied in time.

What’s next? Oh, the X2, no rest the wicked….don’t seem to be being offered the more interesting stuff lately like the Droid, Glisten from USA, or Omnia Pro B7330…..Grrumph! J Was it something I said? Perhaps I’ll have to wait for the X10?

 

Review by: Steve

[ Post Tags: LG GM750, Windows Mobile 6.5, Vodafone, smartphone, tracyandmatt.co.uk ]

Posted in: Reviews
By December 29, 2009 Read More →

Sony Ericsson W995 unboxing video

We’ve looked at several phones from the Sony Ericsson Walkman range in the past and this, the W995, is pretty much the top end Walkman handset available at the moment.

W995-angled-open

The Sony Ericsson W995 Walkman phone

 

The W995 has some decent features such as the dedicated media controls, 3.5mm headphone connector and a decent 8.1 megapixel camera. You also get built in GPS that can be used along with the camera to geotag the images you take too. The screen slides open to reveal a decent numeric keypad and despite the sliding mechanism the handset is still relatively slim and light.

One disappointment perhaps though is that there’s only 118MB of internal memory and although there’s an M2 micro memory card socket and 8GB card supplied that’s the max memory card that this phone can take and perhaps not enough for hardcore music fans?

We’re reviewing the W995 at the moment and will have the full review online for you soon. For now check out the unboxing video below where I quickly tour the hardware too.

 

Sony Ericsson W995 unboxing video

 

Sony Ericsson W995 specification:

  • Dimensions (mm): 97 x 49 x 15 mm
  • Weight (g): 113
  • Screen Size: 2.6 inches, 240 x 320 pixels
  • A-GPS chipset
  • Internal(MB): 118 MB
  • Memory Stick Micro (M2), 8GB card included, up to 16GB
  • Battery Type: Li-Ion
  • Stand-by (hrs): Up to 370 hours
  • TalkTime(min): Up to 540 minutes
  • 2G Network: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
  • 3G Network: HSDPA 900 / 2100
  • Primary camera: 8.1 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
  • Accelerometer sensor

 

Posted by: Matt

Posted in: Videos/Unboxings
By December 28, 2009 Read More →

Acer Liquid review

Acer Liquid (A1) (S100) Review

Acer are back again with another innovation for them in the form of their first Android based device. Is it any good and a contender in this growing popular market?

Take a look at Matt’s Acer Liquid unboxing video for the hands on view.

The Acer Liquid (Acer A1/ Acer S100)

The Acer Liquid (Acer A1/ Acer S100)

 

What’s in the box?

  • Acer Liquid (A1)
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Warranty booklet
  • CD based User Manual
  • Screen protector
  • 2 Gb SanDisk memory card
  • AC wall socket with MiniUSB connection
  • USB to miniUSB sync charge lead
  • 3.5mm Stereo headphones

Acer Liquid specification:

  • Operating System: Android 1.6 (Donut)
  • Processor: Qualcomm 8250 768 MHz
  • Memory: ROM: 512MB / RAM: 256MB
  • Display: 3.5-inch touch-sensitive screen with WVGA resolution
  • Network: Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • Bluetooth 2.0 with Enhanced Data Rate and A2DP for wireless stereo headsets
  • Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g
  • 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Internal GPS antenna
  • microSDHC (supports up to 32GB)
  • 5.0 megapixel colour camera with auto focus
  • Talk Time: Up to 300 minutes
  • Standby Time: Up to 400 hours
  • Battery: 1350mAh Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery
  • Dimensions: 115 x 62.5 x 12.5 mm
  • Weight: 135 grams with battery

 

General

On the top of the device is only the 3.5mm socket, handy for playing music while keeping the phone in your pocket. The rest of the top is just shiny black plastic, but on further use there are embedded indications in the top so when charging, a battery light glows, missed events are also displayed in the black strip with notifications such as a message icon for email and text, a phone icon for missed calls and once again handy if in your pocket.

Acer Liquid top view

Acer Liquid top view

 

The left side is home only to the power button.

Acer Liquid left side view

Acer Liquid left side view

 

On the right side  dedicated camera button and the up/down volume rocker.

Acer Liquid right side view

Acer Liquid right side view

 

At the base of the Liquid can be found the miniUSB connector and a small microphone all housed in the same shiny black plastic strip.

Acer Liquid bottom view

Acer Liquid bottom view

 

The rest of the casing very plastic and very white, on the back there the 5 Megapixel autofocus camera with no flash or portrait mirror, also there is a speaker grill and battery cover.

Liquid-back

Acer Liquid back view

 

Finally on the front there is the impressive 3.5-inch touch-sensitive screen with WVGA resolution (480×800 pixel) display, above which is the phone speaker, below which is the touch sensitive 4 button configuration of, from left to right, the ‘Home’ button, a ‘search’ button, a ‘back’ button and finally a ‘Menu’ button.

Liquid-front

Acer Liquid front view

 

Highlights

  • Fantastic screen
  • Responsive and quick OS and Processor

Lowlights

  • Poor battery
  • For me a tad too wide
  • Slippery plastic

Review

Straight out of the box (and don’t tell Matt) I dropped it. The Liquid is on the wide side at 63ish mm, and as it made of shiny, smooth plastic with rounded edges it is a little difficult to grip, I was showing friends how slippery it was and dropped it again!. It certainly does look the part with a completely smooth front due to the flush fitting screen and the touch sensitive buttons.

I was greatly impressed with the 3.5″ capacitive screen, it is bright and clear, and I found that this is one of the first devices that I have used quite a bit to watch the unboxing videos etc. That in its self speaks volumes. Over the Wifi connection this coped really well.

G&S Web

Web browsing also on the larger screen is also easy and a pleasure to use, which is a little confusing as I have read views that the screen is not as sharp as it could be, yet I have no complaints at all. Hopefully this can be picked up on the screenshots. I would be interested on others view in this matter.

On the subject of screen capture, and I sure Matt will bring this up as well, what a palaver! Download the SDK then the drivers that this and then that….got there in the end, but can someone develop MyMobiler for Android sooner rather than later, please.

The phone functions themselves are pretty standard the OS is Android 1.6 Donut, and as far as I can tell there are no plans for an upgrade to 2.0 Eclair let alone the upcoming 2.1, this could be a mistake on Acers part as in this day and age the ability to upgrade is becoming a must. I have to admit the dialler is not the most attractive one I have seen but it is functional and coupled with the responsive screen works well.

Dialer

Texting is OK, with the onboard keypad, I did tend to use it more in landscape rather than portrait as the bigger keys did help somewhat.

Keyboard Land keyboard portrait

The call quality I also found to be fine the conversations where clear and plenty loud enough. I have heard tell that there is an issue in that if you lose a signal the Liquid won’t reconnect automatically, hopefully Matt can give us a heads up on this as where I live I don’t lose my signal, with Matt living in the middle of nowhere he is able to replicate this problem with ease, so I await his findings, or of course anyone else who has had is experience, fortunately I can’t comment on this one.

It has been a while since I have played with Android and it was good to see the ‘Market’ is growing and moving from strength to strength, I found ‘beebplayer’ the unofficial iPlayer worked well for catching up while on the move and other newer apps like the Seesmic Twitter app for Android also released recently, all of which makes Android a ever more attractive option, I think that even the diehard Matt ‘Windows Mobile’ Davis is starting to see the benefits.

Acer has left this edition of 1.6 in a fairly standard format, there is the addition of the likes of Acer settings, Acer sync and Acer registration, but by far the joy of Android, for those who use it, is the Market to adapt and customise your device as you want it.

Menu

I have heard that the camera is supposedly poor also, it is 5 megapixel and it is autofocus, so there are no other real bells and whistles, but I wouldn’t say it was poor, it is certainly on a par with others especially the likes of most HTC devices, not great but useable and adequate for day to day use, it does seem to take an age in saving the image, in no way will it replace a dedicated digital but I am yet to see a phone camera that will.

With regard to the battery life I agree with James on this point, there are so many variances in how people use their devices that it is practically impossible to demonstrate a good and bad battery, the only thing I will say is don’t forget to charge it over night or you could well wake up to a flat battery if it has been on all day.

GPS worked exactly as expected, no bundled software but Google maps joined with the great screen and the snappy processor (no pun intended) made it great to use, if this where mine I would definitely be downloading CoPilot for Android as I am sure that would be a great all round combination.

I do have an issue with the screen lock as it seems to be on all the time, which I accept prevents accidental screen presses etc. but it did get on my nerves having to press the power and then the menu to unlock and get going.

I never noticed before that on the Android system the clock is white during the day and black at night is that new? I must have missed that in the past if it is standard.

Liquid-angled-left Liquid-angled-back

Conclusion

I liked my time with the Acer Liquid, the overall performance of the device and the high end spec make it well worth a look in this type of field, those in the market for a larger screen in my opinion won’t be disappointed, the other issue is the price, at around the £330 mark it has to be great value for money, I can’t help feeling that the extra spent on the Motorola Milestone could be a wiser investment, but hey, not everyone wants a physical keyboard.

As I mentioned, the apparent inability to upgrade to future legitimate issues of the OS could put me off enough to disregard this device, so come on Acer do the decent thing!?

 

Review by: Steve

[ Post Tags: Acer Liquid, Acer A1, Android, Snapdragon, tracyandmatt.co.uk ]

Posted in: Reviews
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