Hands on: Acer Liquid E3 review

Acer announced the Liquid E3 smartphone at Mobile World Congress 2014, featuring a 4.7-inch display and quad-core processor under the hood. We got our hands on the new device at the show to see what it brings to the table.

Good design

The Liquid E3 features a slim body measuring 8.9mm thick and the device feels comfortable to hold and a good size. It weighs 135g which is reasonably light, but feels well built and we liked it.

The edges are curved, there is a headphone jack and power button on the top and it features a smooth matte finish on the rear which completes the all-round nice design.

You will find the AcerRAPID feature on the back of the device under the camera lens, which acts as a quick way to launch the camera, apps, take a phone call or turn the display on. It is in an easy-to-access position and makes one-handed operation more manageable, but we couldn't test it at the show as the alarm tag was in the way.

There is also a front-facing speaker that is supported by DTS Studio Sound which claims to boost the audio performance.

Reasonable display

The Liquid E3 has a 4.7-inch HD IPS display that offers good viewing angles from what we could tell with our brief time with it.

We compared it side by side to the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact that we had on us and we found the whites on the Liquid E3 were not as white as the Z1 Compact but we weren't overly disappointed with it. The colours were bright and punchy though and the image was clear.

Hardware

Inside the Liquid E3 is a 1.2GHz quad-core processor that keeps everything ticking along smoothly. There is no lag between switching tasks and it seems to perform tasks quickly and efficiently.

There is only 1GB of RAM supporting the processor but we weren't disappointed by the way the device reacted when we moved from one app to another. The 4GB of internal storage is a little disappointing though as it certainly won't last long if you download a couple of big apps such as Real Racing 3.

Simple but effective camera

The Liquid E3 has a 13-megapixel rear camera with an f/2.8 lens and 2-megapixel front camera with a front LED flash so you should get some good selfies and other shots with this device. A 13-megapixel camera for a device at this end of the market is pretty good so we are looking forward to seeing what quality of images it produces.

The lighting conditions were pretty poor and our time was limited with it so we didn't get a chance to take any snaps but we will test the camera fully when we get it in for full review.

The rear camera also features an ultra-fast focus. We liked the camera from our first impressions, it responded quickly and it was easy to use, plus we haven't seen many devices that bring a front LED flash to the party, if any.

Software

It runs on Android 4.2.2 which is slightly dated now but an update to KitKat is said to be coming soon to the device and it also offers the new Acer Liquid user interface and AcerFLOAT interface over the top, as well as Acer SnapNote.

The Acer user interface is layered over the top bringing a bright green background for the apps and widgets tabs, as well as a number of other variations on top of Google's Android system. The green might be a bit much for some but the interface itself is easy enough to navigate.

First impressions

The Acer Liquid E3 is priced at €200 and will be available exclusively from Three initially, launching in April. For a mid-range device we liked it.

The design was simple but effective and we liked the matte feel of the rear when we held it. The display isn't the best out there but the colours look good and the viewing angles are also good.

We were also fans of the camera and its simplicity, as well as the addition of a front-facing LED flash, but the lack of internal storage will mean you have to be selective with how many snaps you take. Overall it's a nice device that serves its purpose well.

READ: Hands-on: Acer Liquid Z4 review



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