It might not be as head-turning as the latest Android flagships, but Acer's doing a lot right in its latest mid-level offering.
Acer isn't a brand name you'd typically associated with fast, pure Android handsets with a minimal amount of software bloat. But the Taiwanese company's latest Android phone, the Liquid X2, delivers impressive performance, a near-stock Lollipop experience and the possibility of epic longevity. We got an early look at the phone today at Computex 2015 in Taipei. Check past the break for more.
Externally, the Acer Liquid X2 draws more than a little inspiration from Sony's Xperia Z line of premium Android phones, with a flat, glossy back and rounded, metallic sides. However unlike that line of phones, the X2 is fashioned entirely out of plastic, not glass or metal. While it looks reasonably good for a mid-range phone, the illusion is shattered when you pick it up.
It's also remarkably light for its size, and considering the fact that it's rocking a 4,000mAh battery. Paired with a 64-bit octa-core MediaTek CPU (Acer isn't saying which one), the phone should boast phenomenal battery life.
Around the front, there's a 5.5-inch "HD" display — and yes, the lack of any qualifier next to that means it's 720p. It doesn't look horrible — in fact the colors are vivid enough and the brightness was sufficient to contend with the overbearing show lights. But make no mistake: you're not getting the cutting edge of smartphone display tech — not by a long shot.
Acer's new UI is basically stock Android, augmented by the lightest sprinkling of custom apps.
Acer's new software might be the most interesting part of its latest phone — in part because there's not a whole lot to see. The UI is basically stock Android 5.1 Lollipop, with very little of Google's OS encumbered by unwanted software. Acer has added its own extra panel to the home screen launcher, however, in what's essentially a clone of HTC BlinkFeed. The "left panel" as it's called shows you calendar appointment, news and weather alerts and social feeds, complete with customizations to tweak the amount of each on offer. Beyond that and the Acer camera app, the X2's software is very, very close to Google's vision of Android.
Acer is the latest manufacturer to decide that front cameras matter just as much as their rear-facing counterparts — local rivals ASUS and HTC have already taken a crack at selfie-centric phones with the ZenFone Selfie and Desire EYE respectively. And now Acer joins them with 13-megapixel cameras on the front and back. Photographic capabilities are difficult to judge at a trade show, but Acer's customized camera app was quick to load and speedy to capture photos from either camera.
We don't have pricing or availability details for the Acer Liquid X2 yet, nor any confirmation of a release outside of Asia. What we do have, however, is an example to other manufacturers targeting the mid-range space: speed and UX quality are of paramount importance — and there's no reason a less expensive phone should have to settle for second-rate UI and performance. Throw in an enormous battery, and it's easy to see why Acer could be onto a winner with this intriguing new mid-range handset.