As you would expect the handset uses the standard Android web browser and this benefits greatly from the multi-touch zooming support letting you more accurately zoom in and out on pictures and columns of text. The zooming is slightly faster and more jumpy than on the iPhone, but it still makes navigation of complex web pages much more intuitive than the double tap zooming on non multi-touch handsets. Thanks to support for both HSDPA (up to 7.2Mbps) and Wi-Fi, web pages are also fast to load no matter whether you’re on the move and using the mobile data network or at home browsing via Wi-Fi.
The phone’s Google Maps app also benefits greatly from the multi-touch zooming, allowing you to effortlessly use your fingers to zoom in and out on different areas on the map. As you would expect, the handset has onboard GPS so it can pin-point your position, and with a quick trip to the Android Market you can download the Google Navigation update for Google Maps, which gives you turn-by-turn navigation support complete with synthesised voice instructions.
Sensibly, Acer has kitted the phone out with a standard headphone jack (located at the top of the chassis) and although the bundled headphones are merely average, the sound quality from the jack is impressive when you use it with a decent set of cans.
On the rear is a 5-megapixel camera. This does have auto-focus, but unfortunately, there’s no flash. However, there’s relatively little shutter lag when taking photos and outdoor shots generally look sharp. That said, it does have a tendency to slightly over saturate the colours at times. Furthermore, it’s not all that hot when working indoors as photos tend to look quite dark and grainy. The video mode is a bit lacklustre, too, as it has a maximum resolution of 640 x 480 pixels, which is somewhat behind the 720p capabilities of the likes of the Samsung Wave.
The main reason that Acer has decided to underclock the Snapdragon processor is to preserve battery life and it certainly seems to have helped. We managed to get about two and a half days out of it before it needed a recharge, which is impressive by smartphone standards.
Some of the Snapdragon-equipped phones we’ve tested have suffered from call quality problems where voice calls would descend into robotic warbles, but we thankfully had no such problems with the Liquid E. We found that the earpiece was loud enough to makes itself heard above the din in noisy bars and the mic delivered consistently crisp audio. The phone also seemed to hold on to a signal pretty well, even in less robust signal areas.
We’re not overly keen on the Liquid E’s design as it’s a little too plasticky and a tad too wide for our liking. However, if you can get past the design issues you’ll find a very capable handset with a fast processor, great capacitive screen and good all-round specification. At present, we think it’s priced a little too high in comparison to the likes of the HTC Legend, but if the price falls soon it may be worth serious consideration.