The Acer Liquid Jade Primo is equipped with a 21MP f/2.2 primary camera, which shoots still images up to 5,344 x 4,016 pixels in a 4:3 native aspect ratio. That sounds an awful lot like the imager on the Moto X Play and Moto X Style, though coupled with a dimmer lens.
The app interface is very much identical to the one on any other Windows-powered smartphone. It's minimalist, yet you have all the important features. Sure it would be nice to be able to select resolutions instead of just the aspect, and even as it is, it would be helpful to know the resolution that corresponds to the selected aspect, but that must be asking too much.
The Camera app is available across all Windows 10 Mobile devices and shares an identical interface - a top expandable bar with settings, plus an additional pop-up ring-based interface on the right side of the screen.
You can access all of the rings simultaneously by sliding the on-screen shutter button to the left. This will stack sliders for all six settings next to one another allowing you to easily fiddle with them all at the same time.
The settings (white balance, focus, ISO, shutter speed and exposure) you modify are kept at the values you chose, with the others adjusted accordingly by the software. We really like this interface - it's intuitive and powerful at the same time. It would have been splendid if the various framing aids were actually properly aligned - they aren't.
The shooting experience is far from ideal. The camera feels rather sluggish, and there's a noticeable delay between the moment you press the shutter and the phone actually taking the shot. After a shot the camera scans the entire focus range again, in anticipation of the next shot, and should you fire during that period, you get whatever focus distance the camera is at at the moment. You're best off waiting for the entire ordeal to end and snap then.
Often times you would point the camera at a subject, and it wouldn't autofocus until you tap somewhere in the frame. Take the first shot though, and it would do its post-shot refocus routine and subsequent photos will be fine.
Now, as for image quality, the Acer Jade Primo is capable of some stunning results in good light. Sharp images full of detail, albeit with some more noise than ideal. The auto exposure does a good job at handling high-contrast daylight scenes, and coupled with the wide dynamic range, the Primo makes wonderful casual snaps in the proper settings.
HDR mode comes with a pretty big setback before you even look at the output - it's slow. We understand that it involves heavier processing, but it's not like the Snapdragon 808 is exactly lacking in computing power.
Anyway, HDR shots are usable, but the effect is probably a touch too dramatic, particularly in the shadows. Some of the sharpness is lost along the way, though nothing to worry about.
When the light levels drop, things get messy pretty quickly. To the point that night-shots are an exercise best avoided.
The poor performance in low light can be examined further in out Photo compare tool, and it makes for a curious contrast with the excellent output in good light.
The front camera of the Liquid Jade Primo is a fixed-focus 8MP unit with an f/2.2 aperture. While it does resolve a lot of detail, it has pretty limited dynamic range, and very often struggles with white balance. That sometimes means dull colors with a strong cold bluish tint to them, and in other occasions it leans towards too warm reproduction (though it was sunset at that time).
The Liquid Jade Primo is capable of recording 2160p (4K) video at 30fps, 1080p at 30fps and 720p at 30fps. That's it, there are no fancy slow motion or high framerate 1080p@60fps modes.
The 4K videos have a bitrate of about 52Mbps and audio is recorded in stereo at 192Kbps.
More important than the numbers, UltraHD videos shot on the Liquid Jade Primo are just astonishingly good. The level of resolved detail is simply unrivaled, and there's no smartphone that has come to headquarters to match the Liquid Jade Primo in this respect. The overall texture, the preservation of intricate detail in the roof tiles and foliage in every frame, it all makes it look like a still shot, or a frame from a high-end camera's 4K video.
And that doesn't come at the expense of unnecessarily large files - the 52Mbps bit rate is identical to the one on the Lumia 950/950 XL, and a marginal 8% higher than the Galaxy S7's 48Mbps.
It's hard to find fault with other areas of the Primo's 4K output either. Fine detail is nicely rendered, saturation isn't unnecessarily pumped up and colors are reproduced conservatively, but yet faithfully.
For all its peculiarities in still image autofocus, there's not much to complain in the video department. If anything, the shadows may be a touch too dark, but that's really nitpicking.
1080p footage is very good, but very good 1080p capture isn't that hard to come by. Captured at a rather standard 18Mbps bit rate, the videos have largely the same properties as their 4K counterparts, only the level of detail is not as trend-setting, there are sharper FullHD videos out there.