2014 has been an exciting year for the Indian smartphone market. We saw quite a few great affordable smartphones and new manufacturers and now, Taiwan’s Acer is re-entering the country to repeat what the likes of Motorola have achieved in the past year.
The company has introduced its Liquid E700 smartphone in the country. Priced at INR 11,999, the phone seems like a great budget smartphone on paper, but does it pack what it takes to compete with the much-successful Moto G (2014) and Asus Zenfone 5 smartphones. We will find out in this review.
Made of polycarbonate, the Acer Liquid E700 sports a simple design. While, it might not win any design awards, the phone looks decent and is well-built. It feels sturdy in hand and the rubberised matte back helps with the grip.
Acer has included curved top and bottom edges on the front, which give the phone distinctive personality. These edges pack micro-drilled speaker grills, which give the impressions of being stereo speakers, but only the bottom edge sports a speaker, the grills on the top edge hide the ear-piece and notification LED.
The back of the Liquid E700 is rather bland apart from the presence of the AcerRapid button, which not only wakes and unlocks the phone with a single tap, but can also act as a shortcut to a predefined app and camera (on the long press). Within the camera app, it also works as shutter button, quite useful when taking selfies. The noise-cancelling secondary microphone has also been placed on the back of the smartphone.
The company has placed the power button on the top of the smartphone, which is not an ideal spot for such a big device and it is often hard to reach.
Coming to the display, the E700 features a 5-inch 1280x700p IPS panel, which offers nice colours, good viewing angles and decent under-sun visibility, but it is highly reflective. The touchscreen response is good, however the lack of backlight in capacitive Android navigation buttons is an issue.
Acer Liquid E700 comes powered by 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6582 processor, which is quite common in this budget segment in the country. The processor is capable and the presence of 2GB of RAM helps with the overall performance of the smartphone.
E700 is snappy and I did not experience any jitters or lag during the testing. Even with process-intensive operations like playing full HD videos or games like Dead Trigger 2 or Riptide GP 2, the phone was smooth.
One of the USPs of the phone is the triple-SIM support and it works as expected and there are plenty of options for you to set everything as per your choice. The Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS also function nicely, however I did find the cellular network strength to be comparably poor. While I normally get three-four network bars inside my apartment on my primary phone – Nexus 5 (and most reviewed smartphones), with Liquid E700, I would get one bar or sometimes no bars.
Among other specifics, the phone speaker gives good output and comes with support for DTS Surround Sound enhancements.
On software front, the Liquid E700 runs on Android 4.4.2 with Acer’s Float UI. Unlike most manufacturers, Acer has not tweaked the whole system user-interface and stock Android is still visible at most places. You will only see the Acer UI on the home-screen, lock-screen, notification shade, and in the pre-loaded Acer applications.
The icons and colours used in the Float UI remind me of the older HTC Sense iterations and feel outdated and far from the modern flat design trends. I wish, Acer had simply gone full stock in the phone, which would not only make the phone easier to update, but also look nicer software-wise.
In terms of the noteworthy software additions over KitKat, Acer has included Float apps on the phone, which are mini applications and can run atop any other application. These apps are helpful when you have to quickly take a note of something or calculate or time something. There are a total of eight float apps. In addition, Acer has pre-installed its Cloud-based Office suite, Backup and Restore app, Polaris Office, Acer Snapnote and more.
Camera is one area of disappointment in the Liquid E700. It falls behind its competing smartphones. The images are filled with noise and lack any detail. Even with the best lighting conditions, the 8MP rear camera only takes average shots. The situation is particularly sad in low-light conditions.
There is also a 2MP front shooter on the Liquid E700, which is accompanied by an LED flash, clearly targeted to the selfie crowd. The front camera takes decent images and the LED flash is useful in the low light conditions.
The Liquid E700 camera app packs all basic features like effects/ filters, smile shutter for selfies, time-lapse video and timer support.
Thanks to 3500 mAh battery present in Acer Liquid E700, the phone leaves little to be desired on the battery front. During my testing, I found the phone to be lasting around two days with moderate use and even the heavy-users will be able to get through the day easily with E700. In our Wi-Fi browser battery test, phone lasted almost 12 hours with 70pc brightness, and in the video test, it went on for over 6 hours with full brightness.
Acer Liquid E700 is a decent smartphone for INR 11,999 price-tag. It offers good performance, great battery life and nice display, but it falters on the camera front. The presence of AcerRapid button on the back, LED flash on the front and three-SIM card slots is an added advantage.
If camera is not a big concern for you, Acer Liquid E700 is certainly worthy of consideration, otherwise you are better off with new Moto G or Asus Zenfone 5.
Availability: Acer Liquid E700 is exclusively available at Snapdeal.com in Black and Red colour options.
5-inch 1280x720p HD IPS display
1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6582 processor
2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, microSD card slot
8MP rear camera with LED flash, 2MP front camera with LED flash