Unlike HTC, Acer hasn’t really gone out of its way to tweak the basic Android interface. The phone runs version 1.6 of Android (sadly there seems to be no plans to upgrade it to 2.0, at least at the moment) and the only real tweaks are a couple of carousel-style widgets for flicking through photos, music tracks, videos and bookmarks directly from the home screen; some basic integration of social networking features into the phone’s contacts book; and a new settings screen that’s more user-friendly than the native Android version. However, as the Android interface is already so well designed we don’t think manufacturers really need to mess around with it as much as Windows Mobile. And the lack of extras certainly keeps things rocking along at a lightning quick pace.
In fact, if there’s anywhere that this handset really excels, it’s in terms of raw speed. The Snapdragon processor (which is under clocked to 768MHz) really does work wonders here and in combination with the responsive capacitive screen makes the handset a pleasure to use as every touch, slide or tap is responded too virtually instantaneously. Compared to the sometimes-sluggish Hero it really is a revelation, despite the fact it’s working with only 256MB of RAM.
Some Snapdragon-based phones have had less than impressive call quality, but thankfully, we experienced no major issues with the Liquid A1 in this department. Speech from incoming callers holds together well and isn’t prone to warbling like on those other devices. Equally callers reported no problems, as audio from the mic was clear and distinct. However, the speakerphone mode isn’t wonderful as it does tend to sound brittle at higher volumes, but the Liquid is hardly the first smartphone to suffer from this issue.
Although you’d think the Snapdragon processor would be battery hungry, it’s actually not that bad in this department. We got between a day and a half and two days of usage out of it before it needed a recharge depending on how heavily we used features like GPS and 3G browsing, so in this regard it offers up similar performance to the majority of other Android handsets on the market.