For about 5 years now I’ve been using an old school Motorola V551 flip-phone. It worked as a phone, took a surprising amount of abuse, and didn’t do much else and didn’t do anything with any kind of style. So, I upgraded to the Acer Liquid E and I’ve been playing around with it for about a week now.
The Acer Liquid E is a modern smart phone running the Google Android 2.1 mobile operating system. It has an underclocked CPU compared to other Android phones (1ghz reference specification compared to the E’s 768mhz) but, trust me, you’ll barely notice. And with Android 2.2 hopefully coming to the E (you better be listening Acer), it will increase performance even more. Even with the out of the box experience, this unit is very usable and enjoyable.
The Liquid E is an underrated phone, in my opinion, maybe because its predecessor wasn’t as polished and maybe because of the Acer name which isn’t a triple-A brand but, after researching a lot, I took the dive and I’m having a very pleasant time at a very affordable price (free when entering a contract).
The package comes with the phone itself, a little cloth pouch for the phone, a hands-free pair of headphones, a 2gb MicroSD card (nice throw in!), a standard USB cable (on both ends, I like that!), and manuals. Big thumbs up to Acer for using a cable with standard connectors on both ends! That’s one of my pet peeves about eletronic device these days. If they’re not standard and you need another cable for any reason, you’re screwed over and have to pay a hefty fee if you can even find it still.
The Android UI is slick. It also feels like the right operating system for a smart, intensively used mobile operating system. Multi-tasking, settings, flexible customization, etc, it’s usually all in there if you explore the menus enough.
Wifi usage is a breeze. When you see a network, that you can jump on, set it up the first time and whenever you’re back in that area, the unit will prefer that wifi network over the cellular network, saving your data plan. I have wifis saved for home, Home Depot, my dad’s house, and soon my work, and I’m sure I’ll have one at each family member’s house, church, and anywhere else I frequent. I like the operation of wifi usage on Android, it works very well.
Let me just say at this point that I really appreciate Acer not messing with Android too much. They have some apps but it doesn’t look like they strayed too far from the reference specification – this is a good thing. Thank you, Acer! It means you can go to other phones without it feeling like a completely different operating system.
Another bonus about Android phones is the transparent USB storage mode. Plug the standard USB cable into your computer and the Android phone pops up as a USB storage device. Brilliant. I can now manage the music on my phone like I want to and not tied down to any brutal software like iTunes.
Your stock applications are probably sufficient for most people but the Android Market is there any time. Installing and running apps from the Android Market is a breeze, very enjoyable and painless. The only downside is finding high quality apps. You’ll have to check ratings (you should probably only install 4 star ratings and above) and you should google around for the best apps.
Stock apps include YouTube, Gmail, a music player, camera, camcorder, messaging, and a whole slew of other apps. Rogers throws some of their own in and their My Rogers Account is actually not bad – although it requires you to be on the cellular network rather than wifi, but data is free for that app, so it’s okay.
Browsing the web is very usable and some of the features are really nice. The one feature I like is intelligent zooming of paragraphs. The browser doesn’t have to have a specially crafted page to be readable, just use the zoom icons and it will try to zoom in, usually successfully, on the actual content of a page, ensuring that menus, ads, and any other components are off screen so you can actually read quite well.
The E can handle a MicroSD card up to 32GB. That’s sweet and more than most people need. I’m one of those people that uses a lot of it for music so I picked up a 16GB and I’m doing fine. Speed of the microsd slot is quite good, no complaints.
As for apps, I’ve installed:
- AcroBible Lite
- Android System Info
- StopWatch & Timer
- Google Maps
- My Rogers Acccount
- Top application
One complaint I have about a lot of the free apps is the proliferation of ads. They take up a small portion of your screen. If an app is pittily and it’s available for free, let’s just leave it that way. The ads are a little annoying. But the apps are fully usable otherwise and the ads aren’t a problem. I just wish authors wouldn’t worry so much about it.
Battery life is good. Yesterday, my father and I were traipsing all over the city trying to get his Acer Liquid E and we were using my E the whole time with Google Maps. Just at the end of the day when I was nodding off to sleep, the battery started showing the orange caution highlight. Pretty good going for a whole day of pretty intense on/off usage.
Customizability is a big plus on this unit, as well. There are lots of settings to make it the way you want it. There are live backgrounds which are unique to Android (animated backgrounds, very impressive).
And, yes, talking on the E just for phone usage works fine. No complaints. Good voice quality, typical cellular delay (50ms-100ms? nothing unique about the E), operation is decent.
The Acer Liquid E is a great phone and it’s definitely underrated. I wouldn’t call it a top of the line phone but it’s not a low-end phone either, not by any means. I would actually say it’s upper-middle quality. This is a great phone, I’d recommend it to anyone.