Acer Liquid E1 and Liquid Z2 smartphones hands-on

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Michael Gorman
February 24, 2013 10:45 AM
Acer Liquid E1 and Liquid Z2 smartphones hands-on

Last week, Acer got out in front of the Mobile World Congress madness by reintroducing its Liquid E1 smartphone and announcing the new Liquid Z2. Well, we're on the ground here in Barcelona and we just got to see them both in person. A quick recap for those who missed Acer's first Androids of 2013: the mid-range E1 runs Jelly Bean on a 4.5-inch 960 x 540 IPS display, has a dual-core 1GHz processor, a 5-megapixel camera and a 1,760mAh battery. The entry-level Z2 also runs Android 4.1, but has a 3.5-inch 480 x 320 screen, single-core 1GHz CPU, a 3-megapixel shooter and a 1,300 mAh cell. Both phones come in either black or white and can be had in single- or dual-SIM configurations. Peruse our galleries of photos below, won't you? Then join us after the break for a video and our full impressions.

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Given that neither the Liquid E1 nor the Liquid Z2 are high-end devices, we weren't surprised to find that the handsets are constructed of relatively low-rent plastic. That said, fit and finish of the phones we lay our hands on were good -- pieces were fitted with tight tolerances and there were no unsightly seams or blemishes to be found.

The E1's skin is textured around the back, which makes it easy to grip, and its only two buttons -- a chromed plastic volume rocker on the right edge and power key up top -- had decent travel and were easily found by feel. According to Acer, the E in E1 stands for entertainment, and while it does have dual speakers embedded in the back and DTS audio, we weren't particularly impressed with the sonic output. It could pump up the volume louder than most phones, but the sound's still shallow and tinny like every other smartphone we've heard. Otherwise, performance was befitting a phone of it's caliber: the dual-core CPU kept screen swiping smooth and apps launched with little lag, and the IPS display had near 180-degree viewing angles and good, if slightly cool, color reproduction.

As for the Z2, well, it's an entry-level handset aimed at folks who are looking to leave featurephones behind and get their first smartphone. It is a largely unremarkable handset as a result, but Acer has put a bit of unique software to make the transition from dumb- to smartphone a bit easier. It's an app launcher that simplifies the Android interface and keeps users in a more comfy featurephone interface. If either of these new Acers strike your fancy, they are available now in Europe, where the Liquid E1 runs €199 to €229 depending on carrier and retailer whims, while the Liquid Z2 goes for €99 and €129.

Dana Wollman contributed to this report.

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Acer Liquid E1 and Liquid Z2 smartphones hands-on