Acer’s new mobile phone range effortlessly spans a range of different customers with some neat new features and improvements that apply across the spectrum.
From the highly anticipated Liquid Jade and the heavy-user friendly E700 to the kid and senior friendly Z200 it seems that Acer is aiming to be able to kit out the whole family in terms of both function and price.
Debuted at Computex in Taipei, the company's approach on the higher spec devices is slightly more holistic in terms of considering how users can pair up their device with their computers.
A good example of this is the Acer Extend application which allows the mobile to be wirelessly paired and mirrored on your computer screen. Users can fully control their applications from the computer screen using touch where available or the mouse or trackpad.
One great use of this appears to be the ability to get around company blocks on social networking sites in the office without appearing to be slacking – provided that you are on an independent connection on your mobile.
While heavy Whatsapp users will no longer necessary to divert their attention to their mobile to respond to a message either. In more work-orientated terms documents and files can easily be drag and dropped from the desktop to the device too which saves faffing around with other transfer methods.
Other software timesavers include the Acer Snapnote, which premiered on the Liquid E3 back in February, but automatically adjusts the angle of photos of slides from, for example, a lecture or presentation and allows conversion to PDF/PPT format.
The AcerFloat feature, which also came out in February, allows for on screen multitasking without having to back out of applications, while FloatCaller allows for an incoming call to appear on a small transparent tab over running apps. Another handy addition is the Close All panel which as the name suggests closes all running apps with a single action.
The Acer Rapid button features on most of the new range and allows for one handed operation in terms of photo taking, particularly useful for selfies if that’s your kind of thing, plus phone wake-up and music player control.
Acer really seems to be going for the something-for-everyone model with this range with expected release dates for the range are around the back-to-school time. Acer
Acer Liquid E700
This E700 has comes with a 3500mAh battery that promises 72 hours use, 24 hours of voice time 12 hours of video playback or the equivalent of a “Paris to Tokyo inflight entertainment”.
As you might expect the increased battery life has led to a slightly thicker design of 9.9mm, but at just 155 grams it is only 10 grams heavier than the Galaxy S5, and 1.1 mm thicker which seems a fair trade-off. The 5-inch screen with IPS gives good viewing angles and the display seemed nice and bright. Zero Air Gap means that the readability should hold up well in bright conditions. The speaker is located just below the screen, a feature which common to all the handsets showcased today aside from the Liquid Jade, which amongst other advantages offers a better hands free experience.
The front facing 2 megapixel camera is accompanied by an LED flash ending the woes of those who wish to take selfies in darker conditions. The rear facing camera, also with an LED flash, is 8 megapixel, but bear in mind that this is essentially a mid range smartphone. The most noticeable feature of the E700 however is the tri-SIM set up- so globe trotters or those wishing to take advantage of various deals on airtime/talktime/cheap calls overseas through the use of multiple SIMs have the ability to do so.
The Liquid E700 has 2GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage (which can be increased with a micro SD), runs Kitkat, and the operation seemed reasonably smooth. At just £179 this seems to pack quite a lot in and offer a solid device for heavy users.
Acer Liquid E600
The biggest draw for the E600 is the 4G-LTE capability which can run at a healthy 150mbps. Other than that the display specs and camera specs are similar to the E700 with a 5 inch screen. The less powerful battery means a slimmer build, and like the E700, although the housing is plastic it is pleasant in the hand. A nice touch is the swipe keyboard; great for heavy social network and messaging users. This device seems focused on connectivity with a rather low 1GB RAM and 4GB of internal storage and an expected similar price tag to the E700.
The Acer Liquid Jade
The Liquid Jade looks really pretty. It first came on the radar at an Acer event at the end of April with a teaser showing, but no hands-on.
We were able to play around with it- however the version we saw is for the Asian market and not quite finished. It ticks all the right boxes in that it is slim at 7.5mm thickness, light- with a projected weight of under 140g; and has a reasonable 5 inch, 720p IPS screen with anti-fingerprinting coating and good viewing angles.
The rear is encased in a super glossy plastic – which has yet to be finalised. The current finish - which won’t go to market - felt a little sticky and was a total fingerprint magnet. If they can resolve this problem it is conceivable that the aquamarine version, which wasn’t available to view, would make for a very opulent looking jade-esque finish.
This is the only device in the range without the Acer Rapid button on the back which seems to be an aesthetic call based on the finish.
This is an upper mid range device that is firmly targeted at the aesthetically conscious. It runs Kitkat and offers the Acer Float software, with all the multitasking options this allows for plus the Acer Snapnote.
The model we saw had 1GB RAM and 8GB of flash storage, plus a 2 megapixel front facing camera and 8 megapixel rear camera with LED flash.
Acer says it plans to up the specs for the European version most probably to 2GB of RAM, 16GB of flash and a 13 meapixel rear camera- although these specs are not confirmed. The battery is 2,100mAh, but since the processor for the European version has yet to be finalised it’s hard to draw any conclusions from that info. Unsurprisingly with so much still up in the air for the Liquid Jade we weren’t able to ascertain the expected price.
Acer Liquid Z200
The Z200 looks inexpensive and cheerful – but then again with an expected price tag of under £69 one would expect it to.
The bright colours, chunkier build and textured plastic backing offer an easy grip and point towards an inexperienced user market.
The screen is 4-inch putting it in line with the ‘mini’ trend of the flagship brands. The camera is just 2 megapixel but fine for snaps with various functions such as Autosmile, Panorama and Continuous Shot Mode.
There is passcode-protected mode choice, with basic call and text function intended for younger users; quite useful for limiting use of games etc to leisure time, and a senior mode which offers a larger tile screen, quick call contacts, preset text options and a magnifier. Somewhat surprisingly it runs Kitkat and has a dual SIM option.