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Acer Liquid Mini Reviewed: A Good Thing in a Small Package

written by: Robert Faustus•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 5/24/2011
4

The Acer Liquid Mini is a miniature Android powered smartphone aimed at the entry level market. In a heavily saturated environment does the Liquid Mini glide through the competition or does it quickly boil over and simmer to the side?

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    A Miniaturized Version of Liquid

    The Acer Liquid Mini is, as the name suggests, a miniaturized version of the Acer Liquid Metal. Most people would look at Acer and assume it's the cheap laptop company, but the Taiwanese company is branching out into various other electronics. Enter the Liquid series, with the Acer Liquid Mini being the smaller version. The Acer Liquid Mini is taking the smaller approach and also the colorful approach, offering five different colors in the series, ranging from the usual black to a more vibrant pink. But is a touch of color, a bit of stylish design and a miniature size enough for this phone to compete?

    Specifications:

    • Dimensions: 4.35 x 2.26 x 0.51 inches (110.4 x 57.5 x 13 mm)
    • Weight: 4.23 oz (120 g)
    • Display: 3.2 inch capacitive touchscreen display
    • Memory: 512 MB with expandable up to 32 GB MicroSD slot
    • OS: Android OS 2.2
    • Processor: 600 MHz Qualcomm MSM7227
    • Camera: 5 megapixel camera
    • Connectivity: GSM 850, 900, 1800, 1900 / UMTS 900, 2100
    • Data: EDGE
    • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 2.1
    • GPS: GPS with A-GPS
    • Battery: Li-Ion 1300 mAh

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    Design and Display

    Rating Average

    Acer Liquid Mini Reviewed The Acer Liquid Mini comes in an attractive, rounded, candy bar design. Dominating the front is a 3.2 inch capacitive touchscreen, with the four familiar Android shortcuts for home, search, back and menu residing underneath. The left side of the Liquid Mini is plain and empty, while the right side holds the volume rocker and camera shutter button. At the bottom is the microUSB and up top is the 3.5 mm headphone jack and power / lock key.

    The slight difference the Acer Liquid Mini offers is the curved back cover and five colors, black, blue, pink, green and silver. The different colors only cover the back, not the entire smartphone. The front is glossy black plastic, which does attract quite a lot of fingerprints. As a whole, the phone looks very attractive for an entry level smartphone and when put side by side with an LG Optimus T, a competitor, it looks like it's in another class.

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    User Interface

    Rating Average

    The Acer Liquid Mini runs on Android 2.2, but the interface will look a bit unfamiliar to people used to Android, due to the fact that it has Acer's proprietary overlay, Breeze UI 4.0. Breeze can be turned off and the phone can be reverted back to the stock Android interface, which is extremely handy. Breeze UI itself does alter quite a few items, such as placing the notification bar on the bottom and adding 12 shortcuts to the most used applications. Pulling up the shortcuts brings up all applications. It's a definite different interface, but once you get used to it, it becomes very functional.

    As the entire interface is a touchscreen, it's easy to learn at any age. Breeze UI is meant to help the user experience and it does its job, but if it isn't for you, stock Android is also very easy to use and learn. The 3.8 inch screen is large enough to use and to interact with and interestingly enough, it doesn't feel scrunched. Even users with larger hands won't feel claustrophobic with the interface.

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    Performance

    Rating Average

    The Liquid Mini has a 600 MHz Qualcomm MSM7227 processor and is preloaded with Android 2.2, which it runs fairly well. There is noticeable lag when scrolling through the menu and when loaded with multiple applications, the Liquid Mini does have a hard time running them all. This is very much similar to the lag found on other entry level smartphones such as the Motorola Citrus and Samsung Galaxy Prevail.

    The call quality was decent and incoming calls came in fairly clear. There was a bit of occasional echoing or static, but it could have been the market. Outgoing calls were also decent and people receiving calls were able to hear fairly clearly. The Liquid Mini was able to handle 3G fairly well but once again, your mileage may vary depending on the market.

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    Features

    Rating Average

    The Acer Liquid Mini comes with a 5 megapixel camera, which is pretty impressive for an entry level smartphone. Pictures come out fairly crisp and clear, but note that the camera is a fixed focus unit. This means that macro shots are nigh on impossible, as anything within a 20 inch range blurs out of focus. On the other hand, images outside of the 20 inch range can be focused on easily.

    All Android powered handsets have access to thousands upon thousands of applications and the Acer Liquid Mini is no exception. The phone was able to process most applications available on the market with very little problems, though the more memory intensive ones did lag. For an entry level smartphone that is to be expected.

    The phone also comes with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 and GPS, meaning it can easily be an all-in-one electronic device. Couple these features with the 5 megapixel camera and you can alleviate the stress of carrying multiple different devices. One quick con, the Liquid Mini, even though it runs Android 2.2, was unable to render Flash files on the browser, which seems to be a common problem on lower end handsets.

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    The Final Verdict

    Rating Average

    Overall the Acer Liquid Mini ranks in as a 'Good' entry level smartphone. The design of theAcer Liquid Mini Features  smartphone makes it pop out slightly in a line up of Android handsets and the various color options make it slightly more enticing. The curved design of the back also gives the Liquid Mini a slight different look than other candy bar, Android powered handsets. The user interface is also an area where the phone has differentiated itself from its competitors and it does a decent job in that arena. Performance wise, the Liquid Mini was easily comparable to the LG Optimus series such as the LG Optimus T, and like them, was unable to render Flash in a web browser.

    The feature set of the Acer Liquid Mini is where it shined through with the 5 megapixel camera. While it wasn't able to record in HD, the camera was decent and with the addition of a dedicated camera button, it easily replaces a separate digital camera. For an entry level smartphone, the simple addition of a 5 megapixel camera makes it a stronger competitor. The biggest competitors the Liquid Mini faces are the Samsung Galaxy Mini, the aforementioned LG Optimus series and the Samsung Galaxy Ace.