Acer Liquid A1 Review
The Acer Liquid A1 runs Android version 1.6 and the manufacturer has added certain, but minor changes to the interface that affect the phone contacts, home screen and task manager only. All other interface elements are the standard that come with the operating system and pretty much identical to those of the first version of Android that we have already described in details in our review of the T-Mobile G1. Definitely, there is nothing to rival the famous HTC Sense interface here.
The home screen consists of three separate pages. There are brand new widgets, others have been altered. For an instance, the analogue clock shows the local time of various places and time zones and turns dark if it´s at night – in other words, it´s a fully functional world clock. We do like the widget called Power Control that allows for proper management of overused functions like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, synchronization and display brightness. Media and Web Player are active applications that you can use to browse multimedia files and your favourite web content. As a whole the widgets are quite likeable, but their functionality is inferior to what the HTC Sense interface delivers and you can´t do things like reading messages and emails without entering the relevant menus. Moreover, there are quite a few applications at Android Market that install their own widgets, so you are bound to run out of free space on the three pages of the home screen in no time.
Acer has personalized the overall appearance of the task manager, but its functionality is just as limited as before. You can take a look at the last six applications you´ve started and failed to close via the “go back” button. But it´s a cool thing that, unlike all other Android-based handsets that show merely shortcuts to running programs, the Acer Liquid A1 actually displays cards of the active processes, meaning you can see the application the way you left it.
Does the fact that the Acer Liquid A1 sports phone contacts with integration of social networks come as a surprise? Not really, because this is a smartphone feature that is getting increasingly popular these days. You are permitted to automatically link contacts to their corresponding Facebook and Flickr profiles, plus YouTube, Picasa and Twitter can be added manually. In order to get the phone to do this automatically, you will have to make sure the names of the people in your contacts are IDENTICAL to their corresponding account names with the social networks, because even if a single letter doesn’t match, you will have to do everything manually. And this is, by all means, something that you don´t really want to do. For an instance, the list of your Facebook friends cannot be sorted by any meaningful criteria and to top it off, search is disallowed, so even if you happen to have a small number of online buddies, say as many as 50, finding the one you need can become a middle ages torture. Plus, the whole thing is pretty pointless to do anyway. While the benefit of linking your contacts to their profiles on various social networks on devices running HTC Sense is that your phone book gets enriched with relevant pictures and status updates, in the case of the Acer Liquid A1 you will have to manually enter phone book entries in order to see updated information about the linked peope.
Software and Functionality:
We do like the fact that the Acer Liquid A1 comes preloaded with quite a few applications that aren’t developed by Acer. You´ve got Documents to Go to work with Microsoft Office files, RoadSync Calendar and Mail to synchronize your device to Microsoft Exchange server and urFooz that helps you to come up with your own, personal avatar that can be used on various websites. The program called Spinlets may look like quite a promising piece of software at first, because it allows for listening to online music and taking a look at pictures of the artist or band, open their official website, see their web accounts with various internet services etc., but unfortunately, the app offers information on a rather limited range of bands and artists (5-6 per style/genre with 1-2 tracks each) and they change every day. Ultimately, the program might come in pretty handy if you want to find out interesting facts about performers, but is virtually useless as a proper online music library.
nemoPlayer is the default application for all multimedia files, be it audio and video tracks or pictures. Its interface is comfortable and you´ve got various content filtering options.
The Acer Liquid A1 sports a built-in GPS, but comes with Google Maps only. The manufacturer has added automated software update, so you can rest assured your device is up-to-date all the time.
The internet browser is the standard application that comes with Android and as a whole, it´s a proper one. Sadly, Dolphin that can be downloaded from Android Market doesn’t offer multitouch support when running on the Acer Liquid A1 (at the time of the current review), so you will have to make do with more sluggish ways of controlling web navigation.
1. Neal Unitt (unregistered)
I own the acer liquid A1 & personally dont really aggre on the bad points stated. I hardley ever get a force close & the accelerometer has never failed on me 12 months in. For the price as stated above I thik its a cracking phone, & with updated operating system is a really good device.