|+ Useful rear button||- Only 4GB of storage|
|+ Intuitive interface||- No 4G|
|+ Good value|
|+ Decent camera|
"The Acer Liquid E3 is a great value mid-ranger with solid specs all round and a useful rear button, but limited storage and a lack of 4G hold it back from greatness."
The Acer Liquid E3 seems firmly positioned to take on the Motorola Moto G as the best value mid-range handset. With a price of just £135 and reasonable specs it certainly looks like it could be up to the challenge.
So is there a new cut-price king in town or can the Moto G breathe easy? Read on to find out.
As with most mid-range phones the Acer Liquid E3 is hardly a pinnacle of design. It’s built from plastic and looks thoroughly plain, while at 9mm thick it’s not exactly slim. But it feels solid and well-built and there’s one interesting thing about it- a button on the back.
This brings to mind the LG G2, but it’s not quite the same as most of the buttons, such as the volume keys, are still on the side, this is simply an extra button which can be used as a shortcut to an app of your choice, while holding the button down for a second or two will launch the camera.
It’s actually quite handy. It’s positioned to always be within easy reach and it speeds up getting to the camera and whatever app you set it up for. Plus it’s small and discrete enough to not stick out like a sore thumb. If you find yourself accidentally pressing it though there’s also an option to disable it, so you’re never reliant on it.
The Acer Liquid E3 has a 4.7 inch 720 x 1280 IPS LCD display with a pixel density of 312 pixels per inch. So it’s 720p rather than full HD and it’s hardly the sharpest screen around but it’s still reasonably crisp and at 4.7 inches it’s a good size, easily able to stand up to similarly priced handsets. The Moto G for what it’s worth is the same resolution and slightly smaller. The Acer Liquid E3 is also capable of some impressive viewing angles.
With a 1.2 GHz quad-core Mediatek processor and 1GB of RAM the specs of the Acer Liquid E3 are distinctly mid-range too, which is fine given the price and being quad-core at all gives it one up on some phones.
In general its performance is fast and fluid but we did notice occasional moments of slowdown, at times even when just navigating the home screens. The lack of 4G is also a disappointment as it leaves the phone stuck on sluggish 3G whenever Wi-Fi isn’t available. But at least its closest competitor, the Motorola Moto G, doesn’t have 4G either.
The Acer Liquid E3’s camera impresses thanks to a 13 megapixel sensor which is way better than we’d expect at this price range. While it’s not up to the standards of the snappers in most high end phones it can take far more detailed photos than most mid-rangers.
The front facing camera is worth a mention too as while it’s only 2 megapixels it has a flash, which is rare for front facing snappers.
Really the camera is the biggest thing the Acer Liquid E3 has going for it over competitors. If you want an affordable handset with a good camera and can live without 4G then this certainly stands out as a good option.
The Acer Liquid E3 runs Android 4.2.2 but supposedly Acer is planning to make Android 4.4 available for it somewhere down the line.
Overlaid on top of Android is Acer’s Liquid UI, which aside from being heavy on a slightly garish green colour is pretty good in that it’s almost identical to stock Android, an experience which is still superior to most manufacturer’s skins.
There are a few changes though, such as a Quick Mode, which lets you easily switch between the standard interface, one designed for children that limits access to things and a simplified one which is ideal for older users.
Acer has been quiet on the Liquid E3’s battery capabilities and we haven’t had a chance to fully test it out ourselves yet, but it seems to offer similar performance to the Motorola Moto G, which is to say it should just about last a day of moderate use. That’s not great but it’s not terrible either.
What’s more disappointing is that the Liquid E3 comes with just 4GB of internal storage, which is an almost uselessly small amount. It’s saved from redundancy by a microSD card slot which supports cards of up to 32GB, but it’s a shame that Acer has made a microSD card pretty much essential rather than an optional extra.
Connectivity options are pretty limited. There’s 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 but no 4G or NFC. That’s just about understandable at this price point but still disappointing.
The Acer Liquid E3 puts up a strong fight against the Motorola Moto G, by combining solid specs with a surprisingly decent camera, a good screen, a handy rear button and a low price.
It lacks 4G, but then so does the Moto G. However it’s also not as attractively built and has less internal storage (though there is a microSD card slot). Overall it’s hard to recommend this over the Moto G but then the same could be said for almost every other lower mid-range handset around and this at least has some stand out features like its camera and rear button.
It very nearly topples Motorola’s cheap champion, and while it seems to just fall short based on our early impressions it’s still an impressively good value phone in its own right.
Dimensions : 136 x 68 x 9mm
Weight: 134 grams
Screen size: 4.7” 720p IPS LCD
Screen Resolution: 1280 x 720 display resolution
Pixels Per Inch (PPI) : 312
Processor: 1.2GHz Quad core application processor
RAM: 1 GB
On-board Memory: 4GB (microSD support)
Camera: 13MP (rear) (2 megapixel front-facing)
Operating system: Android 4.2.2
Ultrafast / 3G / 4G LTE: Yes/ Yes/ No
Bluetooth / NFC : Yes/ No
Battery capacity: 2000 mAh
Colours: Black, White.
Launch Date: Out Now
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