By Frank M. Lin
May 21st, 2011 Update – I notice previously I have not wrote about any negatives of this phone. Now I’ve added some cons of this phone.
April 12th, 2011 Update – I’ve added two outdoor videos both with plenty of natural lighting, added few additional comments in the end as well
March 12th, 2011 Update – I’ve added few more notes about the battery life which is near the end of the article…
Damn, I feel like a cave man checking out a modern city!! My Acer Liquid E ROCKS!!! I now have had my unit for about 2 weeks so I can give an updated review. I have learned that the Liquid E has nearly identical hard ware specifications as the original Acer Liquid A1 released in late 2009. The only difference is the A1 was Android 1.6 and now Liquid E is released offically with 2.1. Also I believe the A1 had 256 MBytes of RAM while the Liquid E contains 512 MBytes now. The vendor I got mine from updated my Liquid E from 2.1 to 2.2 before sending it out to me. The Android 2.2 is slick as hell. It is very easy to use and totally intuitive. This is actually my first Android device. I didn’t bother to read any manual and just started to play with it and I was able to figure it out quickly. There are plenty of useful free software 1 tap away and it’s downloaded and installed. Everything is so auto-magical. I have the white unit which some have called it storm trooper white. lol.
Originally I was actually waiting for a phone called the Altek Leo that was announced in 2010. Altek is the world’s biggest OEM/ODM for digital camera lens. Most smart phones are basically designed as a phone first, with a digital camera attached as a second thought. Well, the Leo is the opposite thinking – so think of it as a high end point and shoot camera 14 mega pixels with a zoom lens, but now add a functional phone and make it a full Android device. Just exactly what I want however since this is Altek’s first venture into a smart phone device they probably ran into many development issues and the release date kept on getting pushed back so I could no longer wait. According to the most recent news they showed it off again in Feb. 14-17, 2011 at Spain’s 2011 Mobile World Congress. But still, no firm release date yet. I was sort of in touch with their PR man about this product last year but he’s kept quiet so I gave up.
Lets get back to the Liquid E. The camera on the phone takes fairly good photos. It has no flash assist but its low light photos aren’t too shabby. Direct upload to facebook is quick and easy although I can’t seem to do batch uploads and have to do each one manually. But it’s not that bad, just gotta be selective I guess. I did end up taking a video under low lights and it is linked below. I will try to get some good out door day time video soon. It’s been mostly gloomy and rainy in Taipei. The Liquid E does not have a front facing camera which it not a deal breaker for me but I can see that is can be pretty useful sometimes. I got the phone for 9200nt ($306) including a 8 GBytes MicroSD card with out contract so I can’t complain too much.
Here are a few photos I took with the phone as you can see the quality is pretty good:
upstairs indoor gym @ Taipei American School in Tien-Mu
the two adorable and playful twin dogs at my favorite hot spring
from my favorite hot spring looking up on a beautiful sunny day recently…
lovely view into a valley looking at the Taipei basin from another hot spring call Cherry Hill
very colorful street art in an old school section in West Taipei
and here is a video clip sample under low lighting:
here are two new out door videos:
The Qualcomm QSD 8250 CPU (aka Snapdragon) running at 768 MHz is decently fast and keep everything snappy and quick. It comes with built in 512 MBytes of RAM and 512 MBytes of ROM storage. I have a dozen or more applications running and it is still smooth. A dozen or so applications nearly uses up all the available 512 MBytes or RAM. No big deal, just fire up an application killer to clear up some memory if needed. The 7Mbps d/l and 2Mbps u/l speed via. 3.5G is great and the unlimited data plan is only 500nt or $16.66! I can download 5 MBytes MP3 files in seconds!
The built in browser is pretty good and you can easily switch between mobile and full site. Having the Acer Liquid E with me is basically having a portable computer that does 95% of what I need at the finger tips. This is wonderful.
The 3.5″ WVGA TFT LCD is bright and crystal clear. 800×480 resolution is sharp. It has built in GPS and supports AGPS. Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g works well in the couple of places that I tested. Built in battery is Li-ion polymer rated at 1350 mAh. I tend to play a lot of MP3 when I carry the phone with me and I leave GPS and wireless data on (since I have unlimited data plan) so it only lasts about 5-6 hours it seems. I’ll either pick up a hi capacity spare battery there is a 1500 mAh one available here in Taipei… or I need to start turning off GPS and data to see how much better battery life I get. But for the most part it’s no big deal. I keep the USB cable with me so I can charge it randomly. Additional battery notes:
- with the most heavy use which is Google Maps with GPS navigation engaged, data streaming… 1.5 hour of that with display at about 30% brightness (because it was at night) it took the battery from 100% to 65%. So figure about 4 to 4.5 hours under heavy load.
- with data turn off and GPS off, a 30 minutes of MP3 full volume playing, the battery went from 100% TO 75% from 2:45pm to 7:30pm. so figure about 20 hours of stand by time with 2 hours of music playing.
- with data on (but not constant streaming), and GPS on, lot of MP3 playing the phone will last about 6-7 hours. So basically one spare battery should be good enough to get through the day with out having to turn data or GPS off.
I think all need is a portable qwerty keyboard and I’m all set. I’m getting a little better at tapping at the tiny on screen keyboard but I’m kind of considering picking up a pen for better accuracy. The auto word suggestion and correction helps a bit too. So typing speed is decent. Nothing like a full size keyboard of course.
The ACER interface is pretty decent. But lately I’ve switched to the default Android UI and I’ve been playing with a few widgets. My favorite so far is Elixir which does a lot of different things and it is highly customizable. Since the phone originally had a carrier contract it came with a bunch of softwares that either I can not use because I’m on a different carrier now or they are of no use to me. With out root I can not remove these programs and they are just taking up space in RAM, ROM, and a little bit of CPU time as well. Rooting is not an option I will do that next to get ride of these bloatware… or maybe I should go for a clean install?? Time to look into if I can run Android 2.3 on this. Under heavy load at 768 MHz the device can get pretty hot to 45 degrees Celsius which is warm enough for the battery to stop charging… perhaps that’s why this 1 GHz processor was slowed down on purpose to reduce heat??
Cons of the phone: 512 MBytes of internal storage is decent but not enough. I wish they would’ve include 1024 MBytess. Lot of applications are not happy on the external storage… I’m not sure where the phone stores the text messages but, I am only storing two tiny text messages, and I have ~15 MBytes of internal storage free, yet the phone no longer accepts incoming text because it keeps on saying no more storage. This is annoying as hell. The auto focus on the camera is really damn slow. So is the shutter speed when you leave it on auto. Any type of motion will get you a blurry photo, especially under moderate or low lighting. The camera is only good when there are lot of natural sun lights (outdoors). I have yet to root the phone to try to optimize the OS and keep it lean. For the price this is still a really solid phone overall considering its features. But if you want to take a lot of photos this phone is not that great.
- my Acer Liquid E update Oct. 2011 – now running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) review!! (ghettoracer.wordpress.com)