Acer Liquid review: Android breed
The Acer Liquid comes with a capable GPS receiver which - coupled with A-GPS technology - gets a satellite lock quite fast.
It comes as no surprise that the only application you can rely on for navigation right out of the box is Google Maps.
Quick double-tapping can be used for zooming in but not for zooming out. Luckily, the two virtual buttons at the bottom of the screen are still here so you can use them for zooming in and out. As before, they are hidden when not in use and only appear when you touch the screen. Despite the little changes, this is still the familiar Google Maps app we know and like.
Quite naturally, the app also sports Street View mode. In fact, this mode is probably the best part of Google Maps. If the Street View is available in the area you're interested in, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the area. When the digital compass is turned on it feels like making a virtual tour of the surroundings!
Unfortunately, voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation isn't possible using Google Maps. Still, there is some kind of navigation: your route and current location appear on the screen so you'll reach your destination eventually... assuming you can read maps of course.
If you need a better GPS navigation solution you'd better go to the Android Market - it's just a few taps away.
Acer did a good job of the Liquid. A novice in phones, the company deservedly stands next to makers with obviously better track record like HTC and Samsung. The Liquid surely isn't the heavily customized device HTC would usually offer, but the hot looks and reasonable price tag leave no room for complaints.
Android-powered devices have long made their case and they all look alike on the inside. But design is the distinctive feature and Acer did well to make the best of it. The result is quite obvious - a beautiful and stylish smartphone that will stand out among its rivals. The Android OS runs smoothly inside thanks to the powerful Snapdragon core and looks great on the excellent high-resolution display.
Back to what we just said though, Android phones do look and act the same. In the end, they all share a set of limitations that are inherent to the very OS. The Acer Liquid is no exception and is equally handicapped in terms of DivX / XviD incompatibility, lack of Flash support in the web browser and poor video recording.
While the competition has been busy addressing some of those issues, Acer perhaps could not have been expected to sort them all out in their debut. But they at least tried to offset some of those disadvantages with features never seen before in a first-gen Android phone: a Snapdragon CPU and a WVGA screen.
HTC Hero is perhaps the ultimate first-generation Android. Released half a year ago, the Hero now has nearly the same price tag as the Liquid. It boasts the advanced Sense UI, multi-touch gestures and native Flash support over the Liquid. But it can't match the processing speed or the screen resolution of the Acer Android. These two are probably the best lookers in the bunch too.
The Samsung I7500 Galaxy, I5700 Galaxy Spica and HTC Magic come slightly cheaper. They all have similar specs, except the CPU - the Spica uses a faster 800MHz processor. The I7500 has an AMOLED capacitive touchscreen but it's nowhere near the Liquid's resolution. The Acer Liquid surely beats them in terms of performance, but if you are looking for a cheaper option within the same class - you may want to check these three out.
The scope and timing of the Acer Liquid make it a midpoint in the Android evolution. It won't stand comparison with the likes of the Nexus One of course but having the same processor and screen resolution as the top droids must be quite a morale booster.
It's easy to say Acer had better luck with Android. But luck or whatever you would call it, we did like the Liquid. It's a pretty close match for most of the first-gen Androids out there and brings some top-tier goodies as well. It looks hot and won't charge a fortune. Sounds like a good deal.