It's curved design, array of different coloured shells and dinky form factor will appeal to the fashion conscious, though the screen is not the most illuminating
A largely familiar Android UI, with some good additional optional customisation, and an intelligent history page that lets you easily return to your previous steps
The excellent history page joins Wi-Fi, HSDPA, A-GPS, a five megapixel camera and Acer's own social networking feed Social Jogger
The screen is responsive though there can be a slight lag when opening up some applications
An average battery life of 390 minutes talktime and 480 hours standby
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 4:00:33 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
A dinky form factor that?s home to a host of features all running on Android 2.2. Froyo
The 600MHz processor means an amount of patience is required when opening up applications and features
Hats off to Acer. Since they embraced the Android phenomenon they've been consistently churning out decent affordable smartphones. Decent, without being exceptional. That said, the recent Acer Liquid Metal upped the bar suggesting the manufacturer was taking the next step needed if they want to turn the heads of those Android fanboys who have traditionally gone for more recognised mobile brands such as Samsung and HTC. Does the Acer Liquid Mini support this theory?
There's no prize for guessing that the Acer Liquid Mini is on the small side. Despite its small credentials there's still enough room for a 3.2-inch capacitive touch-screen and a virtual QWERTY keyboard whether held vertically or horizontally. It's clear Acer has put a great deal of emphasis on how the Liquid Mini looks. It has curved edges both on the top and sides of the phone and though our review sample was a familiar piano black colour, the handset is also available in more eye-catching shades such as silver, blue, green and pink. That said, the display is not the most vibrant with only 256K colours.
Nor is the touch-screen the most responsive we've ever encountered. Props to Acer for opting for the preferred capacitive rather than resistive variety, but what may partly be down to the lacklustre 600MHz processor there was a degree of lag. Again, it's important to acknowledge the price point the Acer Liquid Mini is available for before casting too much judgement, but there was often a slight delay from pressing the icon of a feature to it actually firing up and with haptic (vibrating) feedback only present when using the virtual QWERTY keyboard or the four touch-keys sitting below the display there's often a moment of uncertainty as to whether the phone has recognised a key press.
Though the Liquid Mini is an Android phone, Acer has maintained it's own feel to proceedings. The homepage for example has six shortcut icons that sit at the bottom of the screen. These can all be changed depending on your most used features. However, what really caught our eye was the fact that if you swipe from left to right you'll see a list of thumbnails from your most recently used applications and webpages. It's a great way of revisiting an article you were just reading online, calling someone you just spoke to, or firing up those directions again on Google Maps.
Talking of Google Maps, our sat nav experience with the Acer Liquid Mini was most impressive. You can view your maps in any number of ways such as terrain or satellite, but we particularly liked the 3D affect which coupled with the digital compass and accurate A-GPS maintained our sense of direction perfectly.
Browsing the web was generally a problem free experience, bar the odd occasion when a text bar such as Google search would be obscured by the popup QWERTY keyboard. It meant that you were effectively typing blind, unable to check that you had entered all your text correctly. As with the Acer Liquid Metal, Social Jogger merges your Facebook and Twitter feeds into one continuous stream displayed on a virtual wheel.
The camera is a five-megapixel affair that has plenty of settings to toggle with pre-snap that can both improve and jazz up your shots. However, post-snap there's not a great deal of tweaking you can do before you post them directly to your preferred social networking site.
The Acer Liquid Mini fails to meet the same high standards of the Acer Liquid Metal. However, it continues the manufacturer's recent vane of producing decent affordable handsets. If you're after a prudent smartphone in a dinky form factor then the Acer Liquid Mini is well worth a look.