Acer Liquid review: Android breed

GSMArena team, 04 February 2010.
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Phonebook has fields for everything

The phonebook can store quite a lot of information. It lets you input numbers for work and home, and you can even create custom labels. There is of course an email field and you can assign a custom ringtone.

You can also add IM nickname info to the contact as well as a postal address, company and job title, several notes, you name it. Quite interesting is the option to redirect calls directly to voicemail.

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The phonebook

There are many info fields that you can assign to each contact, but it still remains perfectly organized. You have all the types listed (numbers, email addresses, etc) and there's a plus sign on the right - clicking it adds another item of that type. Pressing the minus sign under it deletes the unneeded field.

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Viewing and editing a contact

When viewing a contact, the various details are displayed in sections. There is a Dial number and a Send SMS/MMS tab with the numbers for the contact listed. Each number fills an entire horizontal row so that it's more thumbable.

Email also has a dedicated tab that works just like the ones for numbers. The rest of the information (if any) is displayed underneath.

You can "star" a contact, which puts it in the Favorites tab. Also, in each Gmail account there's a special group called "Starred in Android" where these contacts go automatically.

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Dee Dee's a star

Adding a photo to a contact is quite easy: when you select a photo, a cropping tool comes up allowing you to use any part of the photo you want. Adding a photo has another pleasing "side effect" - if you put a dialing shortcut for the contact on the screen, it uses the photo as an icon.

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Cropping made easy • contact shortcuts on the homescreen

Searching for a contact in the phonebook is quite easy - just hit the search key and a search box pops up.

Still no smart dialing

Acer Liquid's reception is quite good, as is the voice quality.

Alas, the telephony part of the Liquid has a slight problem - there's no smart dialing. In Android the phonebook, call log and dialer are all part of the same application. You can search the phone book but that's still not as convenient as smart dialing. The HTC Hero had it, so we guess that Acer just couldn't be bothered to make the effort.

The call log shows all the dialed, received and missed calls all in one.

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Dialing • searching for contacts • all the calls are stored and displayed en masse

As for loudspeaker performance, the Liquid scored a very good mark. Here it is alongside some of the other devices we have tested. You can find more details about the test itself as well as the full list of tested devices here.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOverall score
Apple iPhone 3G66.1 62.171.7Below Average
Nokia N90066.766.670.5Average
Nokia N9772.867.375.8Good
HTC Touch Pro274.670.078.1Very Good
Acer Liquid72.0 72.583.5Very Good
LG KF900 Prada77.175.782.0Excellent

Messaging the simple way

The SMS and MMS department is quite straightforward and simple at first - there are no folders here, just a new message button. It doesn't stay like that for long - under that button is a list of all your messages organized into threads.

When viewing a thread, the newest message is placed at the bottom, just like with the iPhone. At the bottom of the display is the tap-to-compose box and the send key, of course. There is a counter on the right which shows the number of available characters as well as number of parts the message will be split into for sending.

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Composing a message

Composing a message is a little frustrating since even if you hide the keyboard, the text box with the message still occupies the same small part of the screen giving you quite a small part of the text to work with.

To add message recipients, just start typing the corresponding name or number and choose from the contacts offered. The list of recipients is displayed by name too, which is a welcome improvement over version 1.0, which used to only add the numbers.

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This is much better

Any unsent messages and drafts are marked with a red "Draft" label. What we really like is that each thread keeps the text in the tap-to-compose box even if you exit without sending it or explicitly save it. There are no "undelivered messages" anymore.

If you wish to manage a specific message in the history, you can press and hold a message to bring up options such as edit, forward and delete as well as view details and copy message text.

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A draft message to Dee Dee • managing a specific message

When you get a new message, your whole messaging history with that person is pushed to the top of the messaging menu, no matter when your last conversation took place.

A press-and-hold in the tap-to-compose area gives you access to functions such as cut, copy and paste. You are free to paste the copied text into any other application like email, notes, chats, etc. and vice versa.

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Copy, cut and paste are available

Converting an SMS to MMS is logical and easy. Once you have added multimedia content to the message, it is automatically turned into an MMS. You can just add a photo or an audio file to go with the text or you can choose to go into a full-blown MMS editor if the need arises.

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Attaching a file turns the message into MMS

When it comes to the Gmail functionality, we really like the batch operations, which allow multiple emails to be archived, labeled or deleted.

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The batch operations are a boost to usability

There is also a standard email app for all your other email accounts and it can handle multiple POP or IMAP inboxes. Sadly, the emails are not displayed in a threaded pattern like those in the Gmail app, but you still have access to the messages in the original folders that are created online, side by side with the standard local ones such as inbox, drafts and sent items.

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The standard email app in action

And by the way, the folders are organized in a tree structure - one click over a specific folder reveals its contents and the second click closes it.

Google Talk handles the Instant Messaging department. The G-Talk network is compatible with some popular clients like Pidgin, Kopete, iChat and Ovi Contacts.

The user interface of both the Gmail and the generic Email apps has been slightly polished with several icons in the menus changed since the previous versions of the Android OS.

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Composing an email with the onscreen keyboard is decently comfortable

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