Acer Liquid Z2 Duo

Acer Liquid Z2 Duo
Star rating
Pros :
• Android Jelly Bean • Diminutive form-factor • Low price
Cons :
• Cheap build materials • Poor display • Susceptible to lag

The full Acer Liquid Z2 Duo review

Sub £100 Android smartphone brings Jelly Bean to those watching the pennies
12 Aug 2013
12 Aug 2013

Those with even the slightest familiarity with consumer tech will have noticed the name Acer before, especially as it’s breaking ground in the mobile market.  Following the mid-range Liquid E1 and superb Galaxy Note-alike Liquid S1 phablet comes this capable Android device for the thrifty, the Liquid Z2 Duo. But can it still provide a solid smartphone experience at under £100?

 

Acer Liquid Z2 Duo review

 

No expense spent

 

Those expecting premium build quality will be sadly disappointed when first clapping eyes on the Liquid Z2, as the diminutive 3.5-inch body comprises mainly of plastics. That said, when you learn that this pocket rocket comes in at just £90 the decision to use these materials becomes less of a niggle and you might even commend Acer for managing to construct a reasonably good-looking smartphone that won’t break the bank.

 

Acer Liquid Z2 Duo review

 

A 3.5-inch display dominates the front facia with only the slightest of black plastic bezels enveloping it. So far, so nondescript, but hats off to Acer for introducing a bit of design flourish in the form of a tiny grille at both the summit and foot of the screen.

 

Acer Liquid Z2 Duo review

 

Round the back things get a little more interesting and the cambered rear panel is finished in a sort of metallic grey soft-touch plastic with the 3-megapixel camera module centrally positioned at the top. Directly opposite this at the bottom of the rear cover is a speaker grille exactly the same proportions but which has been designed in such a way that it looks like one of those hair-catcher things you put in the plughole of your shower.

 

Pay and display

 

Ninety quid won’t even get you a miniscule HD TV, so Retina Display-esque performance from the screen on this bargain blower just isn’t going to happen. Even so, the performance offered from the 320x480 resolution display leaves a lot to be desired and its small stature means that extended video streaming and gaming sessions are out of the question. App icons are squashed into the limited space available and look slightly fuzzy round the edges – pixel spotters will have a field day with this one.

 

Acer Liquid Z2 Duo review

 

It’s not all doom and gloom though – we’ve seen poorer displays on devices with much higher retail prices than this (Samsung Galaxy Ace, we’re looking at you) and unless you’re used to the display chops offered by the recent crop of 5-inch superphones, this does the job so long as you don’t ask too much of it.

 

Latest Android won’t cost you a (jelly) bean

 

The main draw here is the latest(ish) iteration of Google’s mobile platform, Android 4.1.1, which to find on a phone in this price bracket is unheard of. That means you don’t have to forgo the Orwellian delights of Google Now and sees the most up-to-date version Google Maps in situ (amongst other things).

 

Acer Liquid Z2 Duo review

 

There’s no Android skin of any sort, aside from a tweaked lockscreen that allows users to ping straight into one of four customisable apps which depending on your stance on this sort of thing, is an added bonus. Navigation can be slightly sluggish however, especially when multitasking, but on the whole, the 1GHz just about pulls it off. As we mentioned, processor-intensive gaming is nigh-on impossible, but if you’re a smartphone novice who just wants a quick bash on Angry Birds, you’ll find no trouble here.

 

Acer Liquid Z2 Duo review

 

Snap to it

 

Camera performance is as you’d expect from a device of this stature and the resulting snaps are just about good enough to post to Twitter and the like, but nothing more. There’s no flash but you do get a few shoot modes including Auto scene detect and Smile shot, although resulting images are washed out and lack sharpness regardless.

 

Verdict

 

The Liquid Z2 Duo won’t be troubling the smartphone elite any time soon but those making the jump from featurephones or wanting a cheap second device can do much worse than Acer’s latest low-ender.

 

Dean Quinn 

THE VERDICT
Star rating
The Acer Liquid Z2 brings Android Jelly bean to a functional low-cost handset that, whilst not ripping up any trees in terms of design or performance, is perfect for those making the step up to smartphones
Look and Feel
Ease of use
Features
Performance
Battery life

Look and feel

Premium build materials are conspicuous by their absence but nevertheless, the Acer Liquid Z2 Duo is well put together and won’t embarrass you if you pull it out on public transport.

 

Ease of Use

The small screen means that accurately tapping app icons and clicking web links can sometimes prove problematic, but a simple, unskinned Android interface does aid general navigation by removing unnecessary clutter.

 

Features

The Quick Mode feature sees a native app providing a basic layout comprising of key features only to help novice users to get to grips with the phone and the things it’s capable of. This device has clearly been designed with smartphone first-timers in mind.

 

Performance

A low-grade processor mean that video streaming and intensive gaming can be a struggle, however, for general tasks, the Liquid Z2 Duo is a more than capable handset.

 

Battery life

Acer claims that this can stretch to four hours of talk time and given that the novice users this handset is aimed at probably won’t do much more than that, we’d agree. General usage (checking emails a couple of times per day, a quick bash on Temple Run and sporadic posting to social media site) will see the juice last for over one full day, just about.

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