Acer’s venture into mobile phone territory has so far been limited to handsets based on Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system. Certain models, such as the tasty S200 and F900, were pretty impressive, but there have been misses, too, including the very disappointing E101. However, with the Liquid the company is finally venturing beyond Microsoft to give Android a try. On paper, the results look exciting as the Liquid boasts a Snapdragon processor and capacitive screen. As a result, we were keen to see whether it could give the likes of the HTC Hero a run for its money?
It has to be said that first impressions are a little bit disappointing. Some of Acer’s past efforts have been found lacking when it comes to build quality and the Liquid suffers in this department too, although thankfully not to the same degree as the company’s E101. The shiny white plastic used on the Liquid’s rear and sides looks quite cheap and the side-mounted buttons, although finished with metallic paint, suffer from the same problem. It is a shame Acer hasn’t achieved a better finish, as the handset actually feels quite sturdy to hold, and is certainly better in this regard than some of Nokia’s recent models, such as the X6 (which we’ll be looking at very soon).
Nevertheless, there are some nice design touches here and there. For example, we like the way the front touch buttons are mounted flush with the screen and the fact that Acer has also added three handy indicator icons to the top edge of the phone. These remain hidden most of the time, but light up when the handset is charging or you’ve got a missed call or unread message. What’s more, Acer has also sensibly kitted the phone out with a standard headphone jack so you can easily swap the supplied headphone for your own. The mini-USB port is also completely standard so you’ll have no problem topping it up with juice if you find yourself around a mate’s place when the battery is running low.
One of this phone’s key features is its capacitive screen. As far as we’re aware this is Acer’s first stab at using a capacitive rather than resistive display, but the results are very impressive. It is a pleasure to use as it’s every bit as responsive to finger presses and swipes as the Hero or even the iPhone. However, unlike those two models, Acer hasn’t added support for multi-touch so you can’t pinch to zoom in on pages in the web browser. This is a shame, but not a complete deal breaker. And while the display can only show 256,000 colours rather than the 16 million offered by the Hero and iPhone, in use this isn’t really all that noticeable as colours still look very vibrant and images and text look nice and sharp thanks to the display’s crisp WVGA resolution.