Acer Liquid E3
25th Feb 2014 | 13:29
Acer's got back
Some of you laughed when LG mixed things up by putting buttons on the back of the G2. Acer didn't. Acer actually quite liked the idea.
At MWC it's rolling out its high-speed Liquid E3, a nice little package at an affordable price of €199 (around £165), which will land in the UK in early April. Acer's not saying anything about a release beyond that.
With a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage and a microSD slot, there's plenty of power in the specs of this mid-ranger.
But back to one of the big talking points of this phone - that rear button. The E3's rear-mounted pressy has clearly taken some inspiration from the LG G2, working here as a shortcut function that Acer calls Acer Rapid.
It's a twofold feature. You can assign an app of your choosing to boot up when the button is tapped once, offering a handy shortcut. Or, hold it for a few seconds and the E3 will start up the camera. Unfortunately you can't change the latter one.
However, the feature can be turned off completely if you're someone who finds themselves accidentally firing up apps because Acer decided to obstruct your finger's favourite resting place.
And if you weren't a fan of LG's button relocation, you'll be pleased to know that Acer is keeping the volume controls are remaining firmly on the side of the phone.
The next feature worth talking about is the screen. That 4.7-inch 720p display might not hit 1080p, but one of the E3's proudest features is its wide viewing angles and the screen definitely impressed us when we played some videos on it.
On the back of the phone is a 13MP camera but Acer is more excited about the 2MP snapper on the front, which also gets its own flash to produce better quality shots.
Onto the software, and you'll be getting Android 4.2.2 out of the box - but Acer tells us that you'll be able to upgrade to 4.4 KitKat at a later date.
On top of Android you'll be getting Acer's Liquid UI, adorning your phone with a lick of green paint. On the face, it's not too much of a far cry from stock Android, but makes a few changes to the drop-down settings.
However, there's another feature buried in here - Quick Mode. This adaptive feature lets you switch between standard Android to builds designed specifically for kids (letting you limit to calls and texts) or older people (by making the main features more obviously accessible).
But you obviously won't be using this if neither of these categories applies to you. Jumping around the UI in standard mode, things were nice and zippy for the most part though there was the occasional bit of sluggishness when switching between apps.
The Liquid E3 is a nice handset that doesn't rely too much on its rear-button feature (or "gimmick" as some people will call it). With its 720p screen, decent front-facing camera flash and Android 4.4 on the horizon, there's a lot of the good stuff going on. And (sigh) yes, it's a good one for the selfie lovers.