Back at CES 2015 Acer revealed its new flagship Liquid Jade S and only two months later it has felt the need to come back with an even cheaper version called the Liquid Jade Z. I managed to get a little hands-on time with the device at MWC 2015 and here's what I thought of the new device.
The Liquid Jade S had a big selling point in its price offering an octa-core handset at the cheap price of €299.
The Liquid Jade Z has dropped that all powerful processor in order to knock the price a little bit lower and bring in a few more customers into the Acer fold.
The Liquid Jade Z is going to cost €199 (about £145, $220 or AUS285) and will be available from March 2015, but Acer has yet to reveal exactly which countries will get it.
Upon first glance of the Liquid Jade Z looks identical to the Liquid Jade S but when picking it up you'll notice a few subtle differences. The back panel is plastic with a textured feel giving impressive grip and a nice touch on the rear, whilst there is a chrome effect around the plastic edged bezel.
It can be a bit difficult to get a good look at the back with this ugly security tag in the way so I took one a little closer up to show the effect.
It's much lighter than you'd expect, picking up the handset was a shock to find it so light, it doesn't feel premium at all. It weighs 110g and is only 7.9mm thick – an impressive feat meaning it'll feel light whenever you've got it about your person.
Down the left hand side is a drawer to put in your SIM card and on the left hand side is the volume rocker. It slightly protrudes a little too much suggesting it can be pulled out.
I even found myself picking at the volume up button for a while thinking it was another drawer to put in a microSD before being told off by an Acer representative for almost breaking it.
Colour choices are either white or black but there are no choices for the accent colours. I much prefer the white edition pictured throughout the review, it has a good looking back panel but the black would suffice as well.
On the front is a 5.0-inch IPS LCD display with a pixel resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels – that's 294ppi. It's much the same affair as on its more expensive sibling and does the job but doesn't stand out amongst the rest of the competition in this market.
Acer should be commended for keeping the same display on this cheaper version of the handset though, it would have been easy for the company to drop the resolution down even further to save on cost.
The phone is running Android 5.0 Lollipop, a nice touch from Acer, but it also includes the company's own overlay. It's not a particularly attractive design and makes it look like something from back in the days of Android 2.3, it'd be better off with the stock Android look.
All the normal Android Lollipop features are here though, which is a big benefit.
Under the hood sits a 64-bit quad-core MediaTek processor with 1GB of RAM. It's a completely different set up to the Liquid Jade S but Acer has openly said it won't offer a big difference in performance from the original handset.
We've yet to put it through its paces to find out whether that was true though.
Storage options are either 8GB or 16GB with microSD support of up to 32GB more. As for the battery it's a 2300mAh pack, the same as the Liquid Jade S.
As for the camera set up it's quite impressive with a 13MP shooter on the back and a 5MP selfie snapper on the front. Features on the rear include autofocus and LED flash as well as the ability to record 1080p video at 30fps.
We really enjoyed the Acer Liquid Jade and the S version seemed like a step in the right direction for Acer's phone division. The Jade Z has a strong price point at sub-£200 but doesn't really lose any of the big features the Liquid Jade S supplied over the original.
The drop in processing power will likely be a bit of a problem for some but those buying in this range are unlikely to need a processor capable of high intensity tasks.
If you're looking for something a little cheaper with a good amount of storage, a solid battery and an alright design, the Acer Liquid Jade Z may end up proving one of the more attractive options on the market.