- Powerful for the price
- Just 4GB internal memory
The Acer Liquid E2 is an attractive package for the £170 asking price. While it may not be the prettiest, it isn’t the most powerful and it’s anything but the skinniest, quad-core internals, an 8-megapixel camera and DC-HSPA help sweeten the deal. Packing Acer’s take on Android 4.2 and being the first phone we’ve reviewed sporting MediaTek’s quad-core processor, it could go either way – so which is it, liquid gold or wet blanket?
Acer Liquid E2 review: Design and screen
A slightly bulbous design meets quirky accents and a pearly matte backing. The front is all about the 4.5-inch qHD display, front facing camera and capacitive buttons while the back is all about the loud, circular metalic speaker grilles.
To the right is a volume rocker, at the top a power button and 3.5mm headphone jack while at the base is a microUSB port.
The back of the Acer Liquid E2 is where you’ll also find the 8-megapixel camera and dual LED flash. Remove the pearly matte back cover to reveal the 2000mAh battery, microSD card slot and full sized SIM slot.
Measuring just shy of 10mm thick and weighing 140g, it’s beefy. With the red accents and young styling, it’s also louder than most mid-rangers, suggesting it would feel at home in a teen’s pocket.
With the screen packing IPS LCD tech, quality is fair with mediocre to respectable angles of view. Bright sunlight does cripple the Liquid E2 though, while the qHD resolution is something of a let down.
Acer Liquid E2 review: Operating system
Android 4.2 is amongst the latest version of Google’s OS, so we’re impressed to see it on the Acer Liquid E2. More impressive is the fact that the Liquid E2’s Android is relatively untarnished by manufacturer customisations.
There are a couple of Acer widgets, Acer apps and Acer quick-settings, but on the whole, interaction with the UI is virtually identical to a Nexus 4.
For any uninitiated, this means five home screens, an apps tray, a widgets tray and a pulldown bar displaying notifications or quick settings.
Acer has actually managed to surprise us with a very handy feature, ‘Scheduled power on & off’. This lets you automate when the Liquid E2 turns on and off. This is a great feature for anyone who wants their phone off at night to conserve battery, but still wants an alarm to sound the following morning.
The Liquid E2 also affords you access to the full extent of Google’s Play servies, ranging from Play Store apps through to games, movies and music.
Acer Liquid E2 review: Camera and multimedia
8-megapixels is a good number for a £179 phone, and with the zero shutter performance Acer touts alongside it, specs read well.
Unfortunately, the zero shutter functionality is a sure fire way to get blurry pictures. We’d suggest you turn this off as soon as you get the phone – something Acer makes easy enough to do.
While the actual shutter speed then becomes a fair bit less impressive, picture quality improves significantly.
While better, especially in strong lighting, results are still soft and noisy as soon as you step indoors. Night time performance is an undeniable weak point, though is helped along by the decent flash. Good for the money, but not compared higher-end 8-megapixel camera phones.
The Acer Liquid E2 also records Full HD video, which fairs well on the whole. Detail levels are good, noise handling is respectable and video is recorded at a cool 30fps. In spite of a slightly juddery image therefore, as you’ll see from the sample, not too shabby for a £179 phone.
Other multimedia capabilities include the loud stereo speakers around the back, perfectly positioned for landscape hand holding, not to mention the quad-core processor’s clout in terms of gaming and HD movies.
Speaking of, HD movies are handled well, though with the qHD display, aren’t shown off to full effect on the phone. Games too run smoothly, even the more demanding games like Nova 3. Once again though, the screen lets down the premium experience with its 245ppi.
Acer Liquid E2 review: Connections and storage
Available on Three’s Ultrafast network, the Acer Liquid E2 is set to offer DC-HSPA. Something of a 3.5G service, this delivers optimum download speeds of about 42Mbps.
The Liquid E2 also packs virtually every other Android connectivity mod con such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a GPS, with physical ports including a microUSB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Despite the paltry 4GB onboard memory, with around 2.35GB user available, the microSD card slot means you can expand the Liquid E2’s internal memory by a whopping 64GB.
While not ideal for 3D gamers who will need to install large apps to the internal memory, it will be perfect for any casual users out there.
Acer Liquid E2 review: Performance and battery
Quad-core, powered by a 1.2GHz MediaTek processor, we weren’t really sure what to expect, but we’re impressed. The processor benchmarks well and day to day performance is smooth.
Probably in part thanks to the low processing demands of the qHD display, even custom launchers like Nova run without any stutter, making the phone ideal for anyone looking for an affordable device they can customise to the nines.
With its 2000mAh battery lasting a full day with moderate use, but little more, the Acer Liquid E2 fares slightly better than an average smartphone, but only just.
Acer Liquid E2: Conclusion
We make no bones about the fact the Acer Liquid E2 isn’t a looker in our eyes. Whether you’re talking about the design or screen, it’s all very middle of the road.
Where it does excel is everywhere else, at least for the price. Up to date version of Android, intelligent customisations to the OS, fair stills and video camera quality, respectable performance and connections – not bad for £179 offline, or £17 per month.
If you’re not convinced, you may want to opt for a Nokia Lumia 620, an altogether better looking Windows Phone. If however Android is your bag, the Acer Cloud Mobile packs a better looking body and a 720p display.