While they are branding 2014 the year of wearable tech, there is another trend that is quietly building up its reserves and that is the mid-range smartphone.MWC 2014 is absolutely full of these phones, Acer has upped its own game with a mid-range smartphones that has interesting software, good design and a very low price tag. Here's our Acer Liquid E3 hands-on review. See also Samsung Galaxy S5 hands-on review.
In terms of design there is nothing overly different about the Acer Liquid E3. It has a decent sized 4.7-inch screen and not too much bezel to the left and right of the display. It's a nice weight too, at 135g, in your hands it feels solid, compact and impressive. See also: Sony Xperia Z2 hands-on review.
The 4.7-inch IPS screen is one of this phone's best attributes, boasting a really good 312ppi from its 720 x 1280 pixels. From our short time with the device we found the viewing angles of the Acer Liquid E3 to be good too. Take a look at the best smartphones of 2014too.
On the downside, the Acer Liquid E3 doesn't have an awful lot of physical storage. The 4GB it comes with will fill up in no time. Thankfully Acer has recognised this and has equipped the Liquid E3 with a microSD slot, so users can boost the space on the device by up to 32GB at time.
There's a good 1.2GHz Quad-core processor driving the Acer Liquid E3, which has been coupled with 1GB of RAM. This seems to be the industry standard for 2014 mid-range smartphones. The result is a smartphone that goes about its business in a timely fashion – opening and closing apps was a pretty speedy affair, as was generally flicking your way around the home screen and app lists.
Acer has decided to try and win the mid-ranged smartphone arms war with not only an above average display, but also good camera options too. First of all, the Liquid E3's 2MP front-facing camera has been equipped with a flash, so the selfie generation can now pout for Snapchat pictures in darker scenarios. Also, while most of this phone's peers come with an 8MP rear-facing camera, this one boasts a whopping 13MP.
The Acer Liquid E3 comes running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, which is a bit annoying since Kitkat has been out for a while now. The device also comes with a couple of neat software additions. First of all is the Rapid function, which is triggered by a physical key located in the rear of the phone. Press this and it acts as a shortcut to launch any app of your choosing, you can also press and hold to launch the camera. Second of all is a new sharing app called Acer LiveScreen, which lets you share a location or image with another smartphone – over 3G or Wi-Fi – and then doddle or write text on top of it. It's a cool app, but isn't something that I can imagine being used an awful lot until it can work with audio and video.
The Acer Liquid E3 is going to retail at €199 (£164) and is expected to hit the shelves in April.
Buying Advice We're incredibly impressed with what the Liquid E3 gives you for the money. If you don't mind having to fork out for a microSD card to boost the storage then you could do a lot worse than this smartphone.