updated 05:11 am EST, Tue February 25, 2014
Mid-range and budget smartphones from Acer offer mixed results
Last week, Acer launched the mid-ranged Liquid E3 and the entry-level Liquid Z4 smartphones, successors to the Liquid E2 and Z3 respectively. Both appeared to be low-cost devices for light or intermediate use, and unusually for the price bracket, offered a rear-mounted button for taking images. Electronista headed to the devices at Mobile World Congress to test both of them out.
Both phones felt a bit small to hold, despite the Liquid E3 having a 4.7-inch display and a 4-inch version in the Z4, with each display being bright and fairly viewable from wide angles. While the security devices used on the stand made it impossible to access the rear AcerRapid button on the E3, it seems to be located a bit too low down the back of the phone, but this is more down to personal preference.
Acer Liquid E3
In use, the Liquid E3 was quick to navigate through, thanks to its quad-core 1.2GHz processor with 1GB of RAM, with the 13-megapixel camera being quite rapid when taking photographs. By comparison, the Z4 seemed to be marginally lagged, despite having a relatively similar 1.3GHz processor. While the rear-mounted button brought the 5-megapixel camera up straight away when the phone was switched off, it still took a moment too long to take the shot.
Acer Liquid Z4
Acer's Liquid UI does try to balance the normal functionality of Android with Acer-produced items, though sometimes this works against the device. For example, bringing up the list of previously-used applications adds an extra set of icons underneath, offering more options and being quite a handy feature. Alternately, the addition of display modes for kids and seniors is hampered by the non-linear way of setting them up in the first place.
The Liqid E3 and Liquid Z4 are both useable devices for those looking to save money, and are fine for first-time owners of smartphones, with the E3 being the more preferable one of the two to recommend. More advanced users may find some use of either device as a temporary measure for a replacement phone, but based on the brief time spent with the devices, there's little to reason to retain them if the option of a more powerful handset becomes available.