- Expandable memory
- Loud speaker easily covered
Acer phones haven’t historically generated too much buzz and hype amongst the Recombu readers, but things have changed and the Acer Liquid Glow in particular has fast become one of the most requested reviews. With a quick eye over the spec sheet it doesn’t take long to find out why, with Ice Cream Sandwich, a 1GHz processor and 5-megapixel camera all for £150.
Acer Liquid Glow – Design
Looking pretty fly for a £150 smartphone, the Acer Liquid Glow’s design is a far cry from the button-heavy eye strain that was the Acer Stream. Acer has balanced a smooth flat fascia with curved sides and a rich rounded backing. With four capacitive buttons below the screen and just a volume rocker and power button along the sides, things don’t look too busy. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack up top with a micro USB port at the base of the phone.
The 3.7-inch WVGA LCD screen looks great. Viewing angles are strong, it’s nice and sharp and brightness and contrast are on-point.
Acer Liquid Glow – User Interface
Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich is in a pretty stock state on the Acer Liquid Glow and that delights us (and Android purists) no end. Yes, there are still capacitive instead of on-screen buttons, and four of them no less with a wholly unnecessary search button in the middle. That said, we’ll take the hit if it means no custom launcher.
Stock Ice Cream Sandwich includes 5 home screens which can be populated with shortcuts and resizable widgets, a dock that you can load up with shortcuts and an apps drawer displaying all your applications. There’s also a pull down notifications bar for emails, messages, missed calls and any other activities your Android deems worthy of your attention. The pre-loaded keyboard is spacious enough to use comfortably, though should you prefer the stock ICS keyboard, you can revert back to that in the settings.
Acer Liquid Glow – Camera and Multimedia
With a 5-megapixel auto-focus camera and LED flash, optics are what we’d expect from the Acer Liquid Glow. There isn’t any HD video recording, but the 480p should suffice for casual use.
When taking a picture and things get off to a slow start. Despite packing the same stock ICS UI as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the Acer Liquid Glow doesn’t share its shooting speed with waiting times of up to a second. In its favour, touch to focus is usually pretty reliable.
As far as quality goes, the aptly named Glow’s shots do in fact have a glowy sheen, though rather than being a sign of a sharp lens and high grade sensor, it’s due to some of the most extreme softening we’ve ever seen. Even in good light, detail suffers from an almost dappled effect ravaging images beyond repair. This does however mean in low light shots are handled with less noise, but that doesn’t compensate for the detail destruction Acer’s post processing applies.
The inclusion of touch to focus mid-shooting video helps compensate for the lower than HD resolution. Perfect for enjoying on the phone and exporting to other mobile devices or YouTube, not hooking up to a 1080p TV.
Music through the rear speaker is tinny, but loud. There’s a single circular speaker on the bottom back which if covered, is completely silenced. This could pose a problem for a ringing phone in a bag or pocket and when the phone is rested on its back output is also muffled. Audio through headphones is really good with a rounded sound and good volume levels, though the curved top means headphones jut out at a slight angle.
Acer Liquid Glow – Connectivity and storage
For £150 we’re very impressed with the Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, 3G, GPS, Bluetooth and NFC on board the Liquid Glow. Thanks to both NFC and Wi-Fi Direct, you also have Android Beam at your disposal, making your Wi-Fi Direct pairing a simple tap.
With Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, you’ll also be treated to a great web browsing experience. The stock browser does a good job of surfing the web, but downloaded Chrome from the Google Play Store to get gesture support, synced bookmarks and more intuitive tabbed browsing.
There’s under 500MB of memory on board, so we wouldn’t bank on this for anything beyond apps. Thanks to micro SD card support, you can get up to 32GB of additional memory, so we’d recommend getting one when you pick up the phone.
Acer Liquid Glow – Performance and battery
The 1GHz single-core processor on the Acer Liquid Glow may not be a speed demon but it more than does the job of keeping the UI running smoothly and basic apps and games ticking over. Audio quality in phone conversations is loud enough and generally clear, though noticeably less premium than some higher end handsets.
We were slightly concerned about the 1300mAh battery being a bit small, however with a 3.7-inch screen it it’s passable. Conservative to moderate use will see you through about a day, though heavy browsing, gaming and syncing and you’ll be out of juice before bed, which is about average for smartphones today.
Acer Liquid Glow – Conclusion
The Acer Liquid Glow. Great design, wonderfully stock Ice Cream Sandwich UI, OK camera and fantastic connectivity options. It doesn’t have the best battery life and it’s low on internal memory out of the box, but thanks to its £150 price tag, we’re still impressed. The Glow really is a great all rounder at an affordable price and if it’s the shape of things to come from Acer, then we await the future with baited breath.
Thanks to Expansys for the review sample. For Acer Liquid Glow deals check out Expansys.com