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Could do with more speed and sound

Acer’s attempt to bring out a moderately spec’ed Android phone is a hit and miss. It does everything, but not well enough for our liking.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2011 19:00 IST
Shayne Rana

The Liquid Metal is merely a sleeker version of Acer’s existing Liquid Android mobile handsets. It features a 3.6-inch touchscreen with a 480x800 resolution. The phone is not very resistant to scratches, and without a guard will garner nicks very quickly. It comes with 512MB of internal memory and a microSD card slot. The 5-megapixel camera sports an LED flash and autofocus. Even with its 800MHz Scorpion processor running Android 2.2, the Liquid Metal is a disappointment as far as smooth UI is concerned.

Response time is very slow and screen calibration is not very well-managed, making typing a bit of a chore even in landscape. Multi-touch zooming is also a bit slow in response. Plays all videos When it comes to media functionality, the Liquid Metal is well equipped. Apart from the standard Android player for audio and video, Acer has preloaded Nemoplayer that reads virtually all video file formats including DivX and XviD.

However, playback is not smooth. Audio playback is also not up to par. The volume levels are quite low and sound quality is just about average. Highs tend to crack a bit while the bass is weak. The lack of FM radio is also an issue. Acer has also thrown in the Spinlets apps for accessing music online. Think of it as an online visual radio station with quite a few great tracks to listen to. However, if you’re not on 3G or Wi-Fi, it’s not easy to use on the fly. Wi-Fi with tethering From 3G, EDGE and Wi-Fi (with tethering and hotspot capabilities), to Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, the Acer Liquid Metal has connectivity covered. Adobe Flash 10.1 is supported too so browsing through flash websites won’t pose as a problem.

A variety of apps are preloaded in the device. For instance, SocialJogger showcases all of your Twitter and Facebook updates from a single interface that also allows you to select which social network you’d like to post an update to. UrFooze, also included, is a cute and customisable option for social networking that allows you to create an Avatar that can be displayed on your Facebook or Twitter profiles. Acer Sync and Roadsync are also provided to assist you in data backup on your computer or online. Acer has also thrown in a media server application to share media content with the computer or laptop. Slow shooter The Acer Liquid Metal is equipped with a five megapixel camera that supports face detection, macro mode, white balance, colour settings and a few other features. The start-up time can drag on for up to eight seconds sometimes so forget about those candid, spontaneous shots. Video capture goes up to 720p at 30fps. Quality is not impressive and the camera hangs frequently.

Weak battery Sadly, the handset doesn’t manage power well. Even with a 1,500mAh Lithium-ion battery strapped in, we found ourselves charging the handset by the end of the day. Usage included a very limited amount of music playback, minimal calls, SMSes, push mail and a little internet browsing. The problem is that the UI tends to run too many apps in the background so a task killer app is much required. But that doesn’t prove to be very helpful either.

What we like
Well designed user interface
Plenty of handy apps preloaded n Camera produces decent images n Froyo OS out of the box

What we don’t
Response time is slow n UI is too sluggish
Video playback is too jittery
Video camera keeps hanging
Audio player volume isn’t loud enough

Verdict

With a price tag of Rs 20,990, the Liquid Metal had the potential to be quite a competitor for the Motorola and Samsung handsets available in the same range. Although it has a lot to offer, it just lacks the functionality like its predecessors to get the job done smoothly. So if you give this handset a pass, you won’t be missing out on much.

Rating ***

For more reviews visit tech2.in.com