Acer's known for its influence in the PC and tablet markets, but it actually has a pretty solid Android smartphone lineup too -- and the company is starting to focus more intensely on it. Take the Acer Liquid S2, for instance: it's a 6-inch Android smartphone with 4K recording capability, a Snapdragon 800 processor and a 13MP camera, and we had the opportunity to check it out here in Berlin ahead of IFA 2013.
The unit, which is hitting Europe in October for 549 euros, will come in both black and red hues. Reps indicated to that the units they had on hand are still pre-production, so both firmware and hardware are subject to change between now and the phone's launch. With that said, we didn't notice any bugs or issues with general performance, but let's face it: even when it's not fully optimized, a device packing Snapdragon 800 still feels incredibly fast. Head past the break for our first impressions.
The S2 takes advantage of a 5.98-inch 1080p IPS display and has a 2.5-dimensional curved piece of Gorilla Glass 3 covering it. It's sufficiently bright with smooth font and solid imagery, though it's not the best 1080p-caliber display we've seen. Still, you're not going to have much to complain about with a panel of this particular size; it's also quite comfortable for a large-screened phone, though it's not going to convert fans of smaller devices, either. Compared to other jumbo handsets like the Galaxy Mega and Xperia Z Ultra, we didn't grow as tired of holding it.
Even more important than the screen size is the S2's ability to record videos in 4K resolution, a feature largely dependent on the Snapdragon 800 processor inside. It records 4K by default, though lower-resolution footage is still possible -- you just need to change the settings if you don't need the higher resolution -- and with the relative scarcity of 4K monitors and TVs, it's probably not necessary for most people. If you still want to record at that max resolution, you'll get 24fps and up to a 20Mbps bit rate.
The build quality on the S2 seems solid, with only a minor amount of give when squeezed. Indeed, Acer appears to have put a lot of effort into making sure the device doesn't feel cheap or will fall apart after some rough handling, and that it feels great without being too heavy.
In terms of specs, you can expect a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 with 2GB of RAM, a 13MP rear camera and a 2MP front-facing cam, 16GB of internal storage with microSD support (up to 64GB, an important bit for anyone shooting 4K videos), Android 4.2.2 and a hefty 3,300mAh battery. It features Dolby Digital Plus audio tech, which is a step up from Acer's use of Dolby Mobile 3; the biggest improvement is that when headphones are plugged in, the phone is capable of cranking out 7.1-quality audio. It also features four mics equipped to handle noise cancellation and voice commands. Lastly, the Snapdragon 800 chipset nabbed us a Quadrant score of 20,765 and 545ms SunSpider score, which are par for the course for such a processor. We have a gallery of images and a hands-on video above, and check out our interview with ST Liew, Acer's President of Smartphones, as we discuss the Liquid S2.
Zach Honig contributed to this report.