The Acer Liquid E2 does not come from Samsung or Apple, nor it is a bleeding-edge device, but - contrary to what you might expect - it is an extremely fascinating handset. The reason for that lies deep in its brain. The Liquid E2 is the first device to come in our hands featuring a quad-core chip from MediaTek that is extremely affordable yet very powerful.
The Acer Liquid E2 on its part has a spacious, but not too large 4.5-inch display with 540 x 960 pixel resolution, a surprisingly good 8-megapixel camera and dual-SIM card support. The little quad-core chip inside it makes possible some very cool features like 1080p video recording and that’s quite a feat for such an affordable phone. There is plenty beneath the not so pretty plastic surface of this phone, and we definitely encourage you to read on to see just how far affordable Androids have gone. It’s impressive.
We said there is plenty to get excited about the Acer Liquid E2 and we stick to our words. Let’s just make it extra clear that none of that excitement comes from its design. The phone is plastic, thick, looks kitsch and has a large bezel around the screen. It is generally unimpressive.
At even first glance, you’d notice the lack of attention to detail. The capacitive navigation keys are unevenly lit making the phone look even cheaper than it is. On the back, the plastic is soft to the touch and it feels rubbery which might turn out to be an advantage as it can help for a better grip. The back is also where the signature for Acer dual speakers are located - one on top and one on the bottom.
The snow white color of the front flows into a pearl white on the back. A thin chrome strip lies around the side. There is a volume rocker on the right and the lock key is on top which is always a bit of a stretch.
The Liquid E2 features a 4.5-inch qHD IPS display. That means the resolution is 540 x 960 pixels - just one step behind the coveted 720p high-definition. Pixel density is around 245ppi which is definitely decent. In reality the screen is sharp but you can definitely see the slight pixelization noticeable around the edges of icons.
Viewing angles on the IPS display are great, colors fade out only slightly even when you tilt the device to more extreme angles. The screen is reflective and this is something that makes it harder to read in direct sunlight, but if you avoid those reflections it is definitely legible even under the direct sunlight.
Having said all about its negatives, it’s time to take a look at the bright side of the Acer Liquid E2. Good news is the device lacks a heavy custom skin and counts on almost pure Android. We have an up-to-date version of it - Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean.
Going with stock Android was a safe decision as everything is perfectly well optimized to run lag-free. All the signature features of the latest Jelly Bean like lockscreen widgets and actionable notifications are on board.
The phonebook is a nearly pure stock affair adorned with dual-SIM functionality. To control which SIM card is used you simply swipe down from the top to bring the notification shade. While you’d usually get a regular notification window with no SIM connectivity toggles, in the phonebook and messaging apps you get a contextual shade where you can either pick a default active card or select to have the phone ask you every time which card to use. Acer has added slight modifications to the interface. In addition to static and live wallpapers, you can play a video as a live background. The feature is called video wallpaper and is accessed via a simple long hold on the home panel. Also, some stock apps like the gallery (in tile view) have been adorned with features like live preview of videos.
Processory & Memory
Overall the device feels very snappy. It is the first phone we get to review with MediaTek’s awesome 1.2GHz quad-core MT6589 and it comes with 1GB RAM and a PowerVR SGX544 graphical chip. The chip performs great in multi-thread oriented applications like the browser and that is evident in the AnTuTu test. When facing a heavy single-thread operation though the device does not perform well and you can clearly see this in its comparatively low Quadrant score.
Looking at the graphics alone, we see the PowerVR SGX544MP1 or single-core version of the graphical chip clocked at 300MHz.
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