The Acer Liquid is a lovely looking device with a good screen, but its chunky size and appalling battery life mean you'll still want to opt for an HTC Hero if you're looking for a decent touchscreen-only Android device.
Nice display; speedy processor.
Very poor battery life; bulky; unmarked keys; inconveniently placed power button
The Liquid is Acer's first attempt at an Android phone and, while it's an attractive phone with a few redeeming features, the company's lack of prior experience in this market is apparent.
Acer only stepped into the mobile market in 2009 following its purchase of E-Ten back in 2008. Since then it has released four Windows Mobile smartphones that failed to excite consumers, but it has plans afoot to launch a slew of new devices later this year. In between these we have the Liquid.
At first glance the Liquid is a good looking, somewhat bulky phone; at 12.5mm thick it's almost surprising that it lacks any kind of slide out keyboard. The curved sides, discrete keys and pleasant notification icons along the top, highlighting missed calls, messages and battery status, make it a very attractive smartphone.
The 3.5in display is bright and clear and boasts a 480 x 800 resolution capacitive touchscreen, making web browsing and similar activities nice and easy.
The four touch-sensitive buttons along the bottom - home, search, back and menu - are represented as rather obscure icons with no text, so they can be a little confusing at first if you're unfamiliar with Android devices. There is also a power button located about three quarters of the way up the left hand side of the Liquid, which is a slightly annoying position for trying to wake the phone up and use it single-handedly, particularly as you have to hit the menu button or input the gesture code once you've turned the screen on.
On the right hand side you've got the volume control and a dedicated camera button, something that's not present on most Android devices currently. Speaking of which, the Liquid packs in a 5-megapixel camera, and Acer has sprung for a good lens, so you'll get decent shots from it, although the lack of any kind of flash means you're restricted to well-lit shots only.
Thankfully there is a 3.5mm headset so you can use a regular pair of earphones to listen to music, and data transfer and charging are done over mini-USB, which is great for the multitudes who have at least one mini-USB charger lying around, but odd that Acer didn't opt for the increasingly standard microUSB option.
The Liquid runs version 1.6 of Android, dubbed Donut, and, according to Acer, there are no plans to provide an upgrade to Eclair - Android 2.0 - although it's quite likely that it will happen sooner or later if only to add support for features such as multi-touch, which the hardware is capable of doing but Donut does not support natively. This upgrade should be a relatively easy and straightforward process, judging by the automated over-the-air update Google provided to upgrade HTC's Magic and Hero range from 1.5 to 1.6.