Acer has been making top notch midrange smartphones in recent years. The company always manages to offer a lot for the money you're paying, and the latest additions to its line-up, which were announced at the MWC 2016 are no exception.
The Acer Liquid Jade 2 is basically a Jade Primo, but instead of running Windows Mobile, it has Android 5.0 Lollipop at the wheel. Just like the Primo, the Jade 2 is very well built. Made out of plastic, Acer has given the Liquid Jade 2 a nice curve for a better grip and handling the phone is comfortable.
At the front, the Jade 2 features a 5.5" AMOLED display. With a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, it offers an adequate pixel density of 401ppi. For an upper mid-range smartphone, this is more than enough - sharpness and color reproduction are good. In fact, Acer boasts its display to support 100% of the NTSC color gamut.
The performance of the Liquid Jade 2 comes from a Snapdragon 808 chipset with a hexa-core processor and 3GB of RAM. Thanks to the oomph, Acer has been able to fit a 21MP snapper at the back with 4K recording.
Although Acer has modified Android 5.0 Lollipop that's running on the Liquid Jade 2, the phone is quite fast on its feet. We didn't feel any stutters in the performance. A cool feature Acer is marketing is its "hybrid" storage space. The phone comes with 32GB of internal storage, and you get up to 1TB of cloud storage, which Acer has seamlessly integrated into the user experience so that you can access content from the cloud as if it's on the device.
Acer has always turned particular attention to sound on its new devices. The Liquid Jade 2 uses DTS Headphone:X technology as well as DTS Play-Fi. The former simulates the 3D environment of the audio's original mixing stage while the latter allows for streaming music to any Play-Fi-enabled speaker in your home.
The phone's battery is 3000mAh, but Acer hasn't given official estimates of how long it can last on a single charge. The phone's pricing is also yet unavailable.
The Liquid Zest aims the more budget-oriented crowd and as such comes with tamed down specifications. Despite this, the exterior is quite stylish. It's still all plastic, but like the Liquid Jade 2 is finished in brushed steel design. Thankfully, the plastic is nice to the touch and doesn't feel cheap at all. The Liquid Zest also feels good in the hand, and its 5" display is more manageable than the bigger Jade 2.
The Liquid Zest comes in 3G and 4G flavors. Both pack 720p IPS LCD and an 8MP snapper at the back. Speaking of the back, we have to note that the Zest comes in black and white flavors, but the front is always black, no matter the color variation you choose.
The 3G flavor of the Liquid Zest packs a MediaTek MT6580 chipset with a quad-core 1.3GHz. There's 1.5GB of RAM on both and 32GB of internal storage, expandable via the microSD card slot.
Acer has equipped the Zest with DTS Sound Studio, which makes music sound a bit more immersive. Still, the phone packs a single speaker at the back, as per the usual Acer design language we've become accustomed to. Sadly, Acer decided not to pack Play-Fi support here.
The Liquid Zest 4G features the same build as its 3G brother but packs a more recent MediaTek MT6735 chipset with a quad-core 1GHz CPU. To give it an edge over the 3G version, the Zest 4G features DTS-HD Premium Sound, instead of the regular DTS Sound Studio. The upgrade gives you a better audio decoding technology and, as a result, a better enhanced sound.
Acer has announced the pricing of the Zest and Zest 4G, and it's €109 and €149, respectively.