By December 28, 2009

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

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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