Acer is more known for its laptops than their mobile phones so when they lent us their flagship Acer Liquid E smartphone, we got curious as to how this compared with the other established Android smartphone brands out there. We got the Ferrari special edition which is quite a looker and comes with its own Ferrari accessories.
Read along as we take you for a ride on our Ferrari.. phone that is.
First thing you would notice with the Acer Liquid E Ferrari phone is its fiery red color. It’s definitely eye-catching. Upon scrutiny though, you will see that the chassis is made of hard plastic. However, the Liquid E still feels robust and solid to handle. It has a slightly thick form (12.5mm) which has its purpose (more on that later) and the top and bottom edges are curved out with the button-less front having a black-tinted glass.
Below the screen just under the Acer logo are touch panels for the default Android buttons but Acer wants to be different so they mixed the placement up. From left to right is the Home, Search, Back and Menu.
Topside we’ll see a black glass and the 3.5mm audio jack. The glass actually has LED indicators that will show you if you have unread messages, missed calls or the charging status without having to bring out your phone from its case. Really useful. On the left side is just the power/sleep button and on the right side are the volume rocker and a dedicated shutter button for the camera. The buttons lies flat on the phone’s body so you will find it a bit tricky to press.
Underside of the phone you will see a covered miniUSB port for charging and PC connection. Take note it uses miniUSB and not microUSB which most smartphones use so you’ll have a harder time borrowing cables if you need a charge. At the back you’ll see the slightly protruding 5.0 megapixel camera lens beside the recessed speaker designed like an air intake. Embossed at center of the back plate is the Scuderia Ferrari logo. Removing this panel is a bit complicated since there are no latches or any physical indications on where to start.
The Ferrari Special Edition of the Liquid E comes with a matching fiery red synthetic hard pouch, a Ferrari red mono Bluetooth headset and an 8GB microSD card.
Display and UI
The Acer Liquid E has a 3.5-inch display screen (480 x 800) and uses the Acer UI 3.0 layered atop Android 2.1 (Eclair). Actually the Acer UI doesn’t change the stock Android UI much except for a few Acer widgets and a rotating thumbnail view of media files flushed on the edge on one of the 5 homescreens. Application view shows the default Android layout. The screen looks good though, colors are bright and crisp but hard to look at when under direct sunlight.
You think that a phone called Ferrari would be blazing fast as the car right? Unfortunately for the Liquid E, it only comes with a 768MHz processor speed (actually an underclocked 1GHz) which is a letdown for a phone this big. It took a full second for the display to come out from Sleep mode and that is slow. Other than that I couldn’t complain much when running apps probably because the 512MB for both ROM and RAM helps a lot.
UPDATE: Had a friend who had his Acer Liquid E Ferrari updated to Android 2.2 and the lag from coming out of Sleep mode was fixed.
Browsing on the Liquid E runs pretty smoothly. Pages are being rendered the way they are and scrolling around, zooming in and out are being handled by the device without a hitch. Unfortunately, being only Android 2.1 means it has no support for Flash 10.1. You’re missing a whole lot of Flash content from just having a Flash Lite player. There’s an upgrade for Android 2.2 available at the Acer site though.
The Liquid E uses Android’s standard music player. It will automatically scan for mp3’s including tags, playlists and album art from your microSD card and will organize your music for you within the player. Do note that there’s no FM radio on this phone if that’s important to you.
There’s also no built-in DivX/XviD support for your downloaded videos. What you can do is download an app that plays these AVI files but the quality won’t be as good as when viewing on DivX capable phones so you’re still better off down-converting your videos. Sound quality is decent but not top-notch.
I’ve been using different touchscreen phones for almost a year now so I had no problems touch typing here except when hitting the letter “œo”. For some reason, it’s the only typing error I get on this phone. I don’t know if it’s because the keys are oddly spaced but downloading an app like Handcent SMS solves that problem. I have to point out that the built-in keypad is missing the Return key to get to the next line. Again, Handcent SMS app takes care of that.
The Acer Liquid E has a 5 megapixel autofocus camera at the back. It doesn’t come with a flash and has a few shooting options like White Balance, ISO and Color Effect adjustments. What’s odd here is that the volume rocker doesn’t work as zoom controls for the camera. You can zoom in or out using the onscreen buttons.
Here are some photos taken with the Acer Liquid E. Sadly, they look pretty washed out despite having good light.
The rear camera can record video in MPEG-4 and H.263 format and there’s no front camera for video calling.
Gaming looks really nice on this phone’s gorgeous screen and the underclocked processor surprisingly didn’t affect the experience much at all. Well I was just playing Angry Birds. It wasn’t as snappy as compared to playing on an iPhone but it still runs quite smoothly. Those playing the game for the first time won’t notice it. It tends to get a bit warm when playing games for quite a while though unlike other phones and I guess this is the main reason why they didn’t use the full 1GHz its processor is capable of.
There’s a handful of apps pre-installed in this Ferrari edition of Liquid E. Some like Sniplets (online music listening) and urFooz (avatar generation) you probably won’t use but others like RoadSync for your MS Exchange mail and Documents to Go are quite useful productivity apps.
The Acer Liquid E has a respectable 1350 mAh battery which would last you for a day and a half on average use which is pretty decent for an Android phone of this size. Only drawback is the miniUSB cable you need for charging. Most smartphones use microUSB so you can’t just borrow a cable from anyone.
The Acer Liquid E by itself looks like a phone that was a bit late in the scene with the Android 2.1 OS and some missing features like DivX support, mobile internet tethering/hotspot and LED flash. Upgrading to Android 2.2 will give you mobile hotspot though. The Ferrari Special Edition gives the Acer Liquid E a fighting chance in the market with its very eye-catching design and matching accessories but is limited to race fans or Ferrari fans.
Overall, it’s a decent smartphone (not a camera) which can be made better if you upgrade it to Android 2.2. There’s the option though of rooting this phone to install the upgrade. The 768 MHz processor is not slow at all once you start navigating and using the apps. Handling is nice and the LED indicators on the top for missed calls and unread messages is a nice touch. Oh, have I already mentioned that the phone looks stunning? Well for a race fan’s point of view anyway.
Acer Liquid E Ferrari Special Edition Specs:
- 3G: HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps
- 768MHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 200 GPU, Qualcomm QSD8250 Snapdragon chipset
- Android 2.1 OS with Acer UI 3.0
- 3.5″ / TFT / 16M / WVGA capacitive touchscreen display (480 x 800)
- 5 megapixel autofocus camera w/o LED flash
- Video playing & recording (MPEG4, H.263, H.264)
- 512MB RAM, 512MB ROM, expandable storage up to 16GB via microSD
- GPS + A-GPS Support
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
- Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP
- 1350mAh Li-Ion battery
- Weight: 135g
- SRP: Php23,900 (standard Liquid E), Php29,990 (Ferrari edition)