Summary

Our Score

7/10

Pros

  • Powerful CPU
  • Big, engaging screen
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Not very stylish
  • Juddery backlight adjustment
  • Hardware not optimised for size

Review Price £300.00

Key Features: 6-inch 1080p LCD screen; Android with Float UI; Snapdragon 800 CPU

Manufacturer: Acer

What is the Acer Liquid S2?

The Acer Liquid S2 is a giant phone for people who think that 5-inch screens just aren’t big enough. It has a 6-inch screen. Large displays like this come in handy if you watch films on-the-go a lot, but don’t want to buy a separate tablet.

You can think of the Acer Liquid S2 as an alternative to higher-profiles phones like the Galaxy Note 3 and Sony Xperia Z Ultra. It’s not as widely available, and isn’t quite as good in several respects. But it is a little bit cheaper, too.


Acer Liquid S2 – Design

When you get to phones as big as the Acer Liquid S2, size becomes both a feature and an issue. If you’re looking into this mobile, it’s likely you want a whacking great big screen, but it’s not all that easy to wield for people with normal-size hands.

Make sure you’re willing to live with a phone that doesn’t feel at home in one hand before buying. It’s largely an issue of width – the Liquid S2 is a palm-filling phone, and you can’t really reach from one end of the phone to the other with your thumb.

It is not particularly slim either at 9mm thick, making the Liquid S2 a pocket-filler as well as a palm-filler. And its 231g weight feels pretty heavy among phones. These kinds of issues are common to most 6-inch screen phones, though.

More specific to the Liquid S2 is a characteristically quirky Acer look. The version we’re looking at has a bright red rear, and it’s eye-catching. But the phone is also somewhat less than stylish elsewhere.

All the little design inflections, the quad-LED flash on the back, and what Acer has done with the Liquid S2’s screen surround, are all slightly less coherent and, well, less cool-looking than you might expect from Sony or Samsung. It’s not a major issue, but a lack of design nous is something that has arguably held back wider distribution of Acer’s phones over the years.

Commensurate with this, the Acer Liquid S2 doesn’t really make many hardware usability concessions for its size. The power button is up top, for example, which is way out of reach when using the phone. Others put the power button on the side - within reach of your thumb.

There’s also no access to the Liquid S2’s battery as the backplate is sealed in place, and the nanoSIM and microSD slots are hidden under slots that live on the phone’s sides. Many of you will need to grab a new SIM from your network to get started with this phone too – the vast majority of mobiles use microSIMs rather than the nanoSIM used here. It seems quite odd that a phone this big would choose to use a SIM so small.

You might argue that there’s a slight lack of attention to detail in parts, but build quality is fairly good. This is a plastic phone, but it is solid.  The Acer Liquid S2’s shape works in its favour too. While huge, having a curvy back makes it about as comfortable as you could hope for.

Acer Liquid S2 – Screen

The Acer Liquid S2 has a 6-inch screen. In some slightly lower-cost, very large screen phones of the past year or so, 720p displays have been used instead of Full HD ones. But it’s 1080p all the way here.

The Liquid S2 screen is big, it’s sharp and it is fairly good. This is an IPS LCD display, the same kind seen in most higher-end phones.

Colour reproduction, contrast and viewing angles are all reasonable, but it is clear to more pedantic eyes that the display isn’t quite on par with this year’s real top-end phones, especially the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2.

Images don’t look quite as rich as they do in real top-performing phone screens, and you’ll be able to notice the difference in contrast and black level should you use the phone in a darkened room. That bit of before-bed browsing being the usual time we notice such things in day-to-day-life.

The Acer Liquid S2 has a special "ai" screen mode that claims to improve colour saturation. What it actually seems to do is to boost the intensity of whites to give the screen a bit more ‘pop’. But it uses more battery, so you might want to reserve it for when you’re feeling indulgent.

One slight annoyance is that the auto backlight setting is very juddery. It appears to alter its level when you move between actions too – we noticed a bit of backlight judder when switching to browsing the web at times.

Still, the display is perfectly good and you see these kind of minor compromises in several ‘phablet’ size phones. And we’d much rather watch movies and TV episodes on this screen than that of an iPhone 5S.

Simply being larger also makes playing many games a good deal more engaging. Candy Crush Saga is fine on just about any screen, but playing a game like Dead Trigger 2 really benefits from those extra inches.

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