• Acer
When Acer decided to try its hand at smartphone manufacturing, its fans were thrilled. Unfortunately, two of its offerings, the beTouch E130 and Stream failed to impress. Its latest offering, the Acer Liquid Metal is a reflection of Acer’s perseverance and shows just how hard it is willing to work to establish itself in the industry. And it intends to achieve this goal by employing the strategy it knows best – manufacturing feature-packed yet affordable products. Thus, buyers can expect the Liquid Metal to be bang for the buck. But is it really?

The design of the Liquid Metal won’t tickle everyone’s fancy. While its curved back makes it fit more snugly into the user’s palm, it also makes the phone rock like a canoe on choppy waters when users tap on it while it’s resting on a flat surface. The front is also very slightly curved, the reason for which is to make the image on the screen look sharper, so Acer claims. In case you’re wondering where the Liquid Metal got its name from, it is named after the stainless steel battery cover at the back, which comes in brown or silver. The rest of the phone is made out of plastic; its edges surrounded by a chrome band. The plastic is not of the best quality, but this comes as no surprise considering the handset’s price. The screen’s lustrous black coating is a nice touch; however it makes the screen a fingerprint magnet. The phone measures 63 x 115 x 13.5mm – pretty good in terms of pocketability; and weighs 135g. The 3.6’, 800 x 480 pixel capacitive touchscreen displays 16 million colours. Due to the relatively high resolution for a 3.6’ screen, images appear crisp, bright and vibrant. This also means that users will not have to squint to read small text. Other than that, the screen is pretty standard – sunlight legibility and viewing angles are average.


The Liquid Metal runs Android 2.2 and features an 800MHz 3G Snapdragon chipset (the very same one used in the HTC Desire) which supports downloads up to 14.4Mbps and uploads up to 2.0Mbps. Some users have even gone as far as to claim that it’s clocked at 1.9GHz. Combined with an Adreno 205 GPU and 512MB RAM/ROM, the processor peacks a mean punch. Users can expect smooth running of applications and minimal lagging. One minor shortcoming is its tendency to heat up when running tasks with high graphic requirements.

Acer has chosen to employ its Breeze user interface over the Android 2.2 in the Liquid Metal. Users will either love it or hate it. If you happen to be in the latter category, you can always turn it off and activate the stock Android interface instead. Users get five homescreens which can they populate with various widgets, although placing application shortcuts on the screens is impossible. It will take a little getting used to but it is not difficult to get the hang of it. Although a little confusing initially and not as customisable as some of the other UIs like HTC Sense UI, the Breeze UI’s strength lies in its ability to confer quick access to the phone’s various features.

The Liquid Metal covers the basics pretty well – in-call quality is good, and the loudspeaker is quite capable as well. When it comes to texting, the Liquid Metal gets the job done, but it is far from being a standout messaging phone. Its on-screen keyboard isn’t the most comfortable to use, but users will find it a lot less of a hassle to text in widescreen mode.

As with most smartphones, the Contacts App comes with social network integration. Nothing groundbreaking there. The Social Jogger app which allows users to switch between Facebook and Twitter, is a nice touch though.


The handset’s camera comes with a variety of settings like anti-shake mode and face-tracking mode, but when it assessing a camera, it all boils down the image quality. Unfortunately, the Liquid metal’s 5 mega-pixel autofocus camera fails to deliver. Images are noisy, colour looks very unnatural and the level of detail is disappointing. The camera’s LED flash doesn’t help matters either – it is far too weak. The camera is capable of video recording as well, in high definition (720p) no less. At 30 frames per second, videos run quite smoothly but sadly there are no positives about video quality.

To access saved pictures, music and videos, Nemo Player is the place to look. It has all media under one roof. Alternatively, users can access the Android media gallery. All formats of 720p HD videos can be played on the Liquid Metal, excluding, for some reason, DivX files. The simple solution to this would be to download a player that does support DivX files from the Android Market. However, these videos don’t exactly play without a hitch; they sometimes glitch.

The supplied headset comes with Dolby Mobile surround sound, therefore using it to listen to music promises to be an enjoyable audio experience. The Liquid Metal’s shake control is more of an afterthought than a feature thrown in to impress, mainly due to its low sensitivity. Users can switch songs and silence alarms by shaking the handset, but will find that they need to give it a few good hard shakes to get it to respond.

As with all Android 2.2 handsets, the Liquid Metal’s browser comes with flash support. And herein lies one of the Liquid Metal’s quirks – There is no pre-installed Adobe Flash Player. Users have to get it from the Android Market themselves. However, it delivers in terms of video streaming so there is no question about its performance. The browser itself is pretty good. Web browsing is a breeze as page load time is short and zooming is easy.

The Liquid Metal delivers in terms of connectivity, although there isn’t anything in particular to write home about. Standard features like Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), Bluetooth (2.1+EDR) and A-GPS are present. Because it runs Android 2.2, the Liquid Metal can act as a portable Wi-Fi hotspot that supports connections from other devices. The phone also comes with DLNA support, which means media can be streamed via Wi-Fi to DLNA compatible devices like the Playstation 3 and Xbox360. GPS satellite lock time is approximately 4 minutes initially, which is pretty standard.

The Liquid Metal is powered by a standard 1500mAh battery which provides up to 450 hours of 2G) and 550 hours (3G) of standby time; and up to 11 hours (2G) and 8 hours (3G) of talk time.

Pros and Cons
The Acer Liquid Metal, on paper, appears to be a good buy, as it is attractively priced and quite well-rounded. However, some of its features are sort of an acquired taste. The Breeze interface might not sit too well with users and the camera simply does not cut it in the world of cameraphones. It has everything you expect to see in a smartphone, but users who are particular about presentation and ease of use might give the Liquid Metal a miss.


With the Liquid Metal, users can expect hits and misses. Having said that, the Liquid Metal still appeals to those who want a decent smartphone that will not leave their wallets considerably lighter. In conclusion, Acer’s latest offering shows that Acer has to continue working hard to iron out a few problems that have plagued its handsets before it can pose a serious threat to its fellow android manufacturers.

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