Acer has unveiled its first smartband; The Liquid Leap at Computex in Taipei and Pocket- was at a preview event to get a hands-on experience with the new wrist band, but does it have what it takes to appeal, and more importantly stand out form the gluttony of bands already available on the market.
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Acer’s first step into the "wearables" market, the Liquid Leap is straightforward and simple. The devices seems aimed at the entry-level market with minimal basic fitness functions like a pedometer, sleep recording capability, and calories burnt, however there’s no heart monitor and therefore no way for band to differentiate between more strenuous activities and less so. However with an IPX7 waterproof rating (can withstand up to 30 minutes immersion at 1 metre) users need not worry about missing a message while doing a few lengths in the pool or skipping to a more cheery track during your morning shower.
At present the Liquid Leap doesn’t offer API solutions so the notifications are limited to regular incoming calls and text messages rather than getting any old notification from your favourite apps. With no typing or voice functions users cannot reply on the fly using the band either.
On the plus side the pricing point is reasonable (around £80) and the design is discreet (depending on the colour chosen). The band is made of rubber with a texturised finish on the outer side and a smooth inner surface and a slim brushed metal panel by the display gives it a little extra panache.
The pop-in pop-out fastening mechanism is unfussy and secure. Meanwhile, branding is subtlety placed on the underside of the band on the metal fastener. It felt light and comfortable to wear and as there was no need to have skin contact for a heart rate monitor, you could easily wear it tighter or looser depending on personal preference.
The duotone 1-inch touchscreen was easy to navigate and responsive, albeit very simple. As a result of this simplicity users can expect the battery to last around a week before needing to recharge. The charger wasn’t on hand, but we are assured that although Acer envisages users opting bedside charging they have made sure that it is small and light enough to be mobile with minimum fuss.
There’s a choice of five colours from neutral to neon which are designed to match the range of handsets which were also launched by the company at the show. Surprisingly the Vivid Orange was our personal favourite, although that might just be because it was reminiscent of wearing luminous wristbands at festivals. Initially the Liquid Leap will be bundled with the Liquid Jade handset in the Asian market, however by the time of its release in Europe it should be available as a separate device and is compatible with any Android device running KitKat (4.4.2) upwards.
All-in-all although the Liquid Leap doesn’t offer anything ground breaking, but seems like a fairly decent device at the price point. As this is Acer’s first wearable, and based on our discussions today, we expect an API enabled version to be on the horizon in the not-too-distant future.