Acer Liquid Mini Review

Introduction and Design
This is a global GSM phone. It can beused with T-Mobile USA andAT&T, but without 3G.


Acer might not be your first choice for a smartphone, but the Taiwanese are pushing diversity in their otherwise modest phone lineup. It all started with the Tempo series of communicators, only to reach the Acer Liquid Metal with its distinctive design and affordable price, and now we're looking at even more diversity. The Acer Liquid Mini brings a splash of color in the overall monotonous Android space, but does it hide equally impressive silicon under the hood? With a relatively affordable price placing it right in the middle of the packed Android space, the colorful phone comes with a 3.2-inch screen and a 600MHz Qualcomm processor. But before we jump into more details about the cute handset, let's take a closer look at its polished round shapes and beautiful colors.


If you're one of the few who have held the Acer Liquid Metal you might say it's deja vu all over: the curvy lines, rounded shapes of the body, chromed strips of plastic on the top and bottom all reminisce the original Liquid Metal. But even those who haven't seen the handset, will appreciate the well-honed design and solid build quality of the Liquid Mini. It seems that Acer is on the right track to achieving if not love, than at least brand recognition from the first sight.

What defines this handset though is color – it comes in all five different variations. We had the royal blue one, but you'll also be able to choose between piano black, jet silver, lime green and most importantly - pink. The only real difference between them seems to be the color of the back cover, which is made of matte plastic. It also keeps it looking clean and untouched with its 3.1 ounces (108g) of weight and 0.51 inches (13mm) of depth.

You can compare the Acer Liquid Mini with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

But as glowing and jazzy as the back is, it is the front side and the screen that matter the most. The display of the Liquid Mini is small for today's smartphone standards – it's a 3.2-inch capacitive TFT touchscreen with a pretty average resolution of 320 x 480 pixels. Sunlight legibility is the main issue here, but if you can make do with this, you'll be glad to notice that the screen is fairly responsive.

The left side of the handset is left conveniently plain for a better grip, while the right holds the volume controls and a dedicated shutter key for the camera. That's always a welcome addition as it aids shooting a great deal and you can easily shoot pictures using just one hand. Pushing it down directly captures the image, so it differs than the usual two-step focus and shoot camera routine. The camera unit resides on the back, but it lacks flash or any kind of protection. Below it is the speakerphone responsible for the relatively loud sound on the handset.

Finally, the chromed strip of plastic on the top holds the lock key and a 3.5mm standard headset jack, while the bottom part houses a microUSB slot for charging/syncing.

In the retail box, you'll also find a very stylish leather pouch along with a 2GB microSD card. In addition, you have a USB wall charger as well as microUSB-to-USB cable. Acer also included a basic headset with a clip-on design.

Acer Liquid Mini 360-degrees View:

Interface and Functionality:

When it comes to the interface, Android 2.2 Froyo usually speaks for itself, but with the Liquid Mini we have a slightly different case. Folks from Acer have taken their time to give a substantial facelift to the usual looks of the green robot, so that using it is a breeze. Actually Breeze UI 4.0 is the name of the skinning done by Acer. We have already taken a detailed look at all of its features in our review of the Acer Liquid Metal, but question remains how it will perform on the Mini. Unluckily, we were sometimes forced to remember that the handset runs on a rather average 600MHz Qualcomm MSM7227 processor helped by 512MB of RAM.

Breeze UI itself has the positive side of a fresh and unique interface, but it definitely would feel better on a faster processor. Your standard Android dropdown notification bar is replaced with a questionable side-scrollable list of settings icons. Long hold on the top part of the homescreen gives you access to homescreen customization and wallpapers. Flicking left brings up history of opened apps, while swiping your finger from the right shows you a quick view of your media. The main menu is trimmed down to only three icon rows, which translates into a lot of scrolling if you happen to use many applications.

Some lag was definitely noticeable when browsing through the menu and even more so when throwing in a couple of apps, not to mention the fact that we experienced the sudden freezing of the screen in apps like the camera and the Twitter client. Actually, we had the misfortune of resorting to the portrait on-screen QWERTY keyboard, which would not retract until we were forced to reboot. This was an isolated instance, but nevertheless it corrupted our impression of the effectiveness of the extensive skinning and made us wonder if skinning the vanilla Android build was a good idea.

In terms of basic functionality, the Acer Liquid Mini offers a standard phone book with support for smart dial. If you want a deeper social networking integration you might be happy to see the Social Jogger app which is basically a rotating wheel with the latest posts of your contacts on Facebook/Twitter. It offers some (questionably) cool looks, but the 600MHz processor just struggles rotating your feeds, so you might be better off using the official Android Facebook/Twitter clients.

The on-screen QWERTY keyboard is of paramount importance for texters and what we see on the Liquid Mini is far from being cream of the crop. The subtle highlights after pressing a key weren't of much use for us, and we often had to correct or slow down our typing.


Software for Android is a topic as wide as the number of apps on the Market, but the Liquid Mini definitely has some limitations when it comes to pre-loaded apps. On the positive side, it does come with the standard Google suite of apps (Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps and Navigation), which is just plain awesome. Except for that, though, you have a couple of apps which look more like bloatware than anything else. Of course you can give music streaming app Spinlets and relatively amusing avatar creation urFooz app a go, but not being able to remove them in an easy manner is annoying. Document editing out of the box is also a no-go as the office app called Docs To Go is installed in a trimmed down version supporting only viewing documents.

Unfortunately, Android fragmentation is an issue you collide with head-on as you use the Acer Liquid Mini. Graphically intensive games like Speed Forge 3D just wouldn't work on the handset, so if you plan on using the phone for gaming you might want to approach it with caution. You can still run the ever entertaining Angry Birds (choppy framerates alert!), but anything slightly more demanding will make your device stumble. For reference, in the Quadrant benchmarking app the handset scored a below average 465 points, placing it below the HTC Desire and just above the already dated Motorola Droid.

Camera and Multimedia:

The camera is one of the biggest disappointments as Acer used a 5.0-megapixel fixed-focus unit. Fixed-focus means that you'll have pretty much every object further than 20 inches in focus, but while this might seem like a plus, it also means that everything within that 20-inch range falls out of focus, so you can forget about macro shots. But even when you have the right settings, colors tend to get an unnatural yellowish hue. Some oversaturation takes place as well and when you add some blurriness in in shots, you end up with a disappointing camera performance. Acer has included a limited number of manual settings like ISO and white balance which improve the color issue slightly, but overall don't change the below average quality of the shots.

When it comes to video recording, things look slightly better as the handset records video with a resolution of up to 720 x 480 at 30fps. The almost complete lack of manual settings along with color representation problems plague video capture just as they do in the camera stills department.

Acer Liquid Mini Sample Video:

Media is handled by two applications – the stock Froyo one which runs great, but for some reason there is another one made by Acer. You access the latter by swiping the homescreen from the right. It does support both pictures and video, but we found it to be pretty slow, with lag noticeable even with images, let alone song and album art, and videos. The 3.2-inch screen is on the small side for viewing videos, but we couldn't help but try. Luckily, while the built-in media player can only cope with MPEG-4 and MOV files encoded with a resolution around the native one on the phone, a quick download of RockPlayer from the Android Market allows you to watch DivX/Xvid movies.

Internet and connectivity:

The Acer Liquid Mini runs Android 2.2 Froyo, so it should support Flash, right? Wrong! The 600MHz processor seems to be uncapable of handling the load, so your browsing experience will be limited. In exchange, you should get to your favorite websites relatively quickly as the support for 3G capable of 7.2Mbps on the downlink will be your main ally in this task. The browser also supports multitouch and double-tap for zooming in and out – a pretty smooth experience, but you can still feel a slight slowdown in graphically cluttered pages. The phone's connectivity options also include Wi-Fi b/g, Bluetooth 2.1 and microSD with support for up to 32GB cards. Navigation is aided by a gpsOne chip made by Qualcomm.


The call quality on the Acer Liquid Mini was rather average. Even though we didn't notice any major disturbances and we heard our callers fairly loud, a slight distortion of voices in the earpiece gives them an unnatural metallic tone.

The 1300mAh battery on the handset allows it to almost survive a two-day run. Putting it under heavy usage, though, would definitely leave you charging your phone every day.


The Acer Liquid Mini has a very appealing jazzy look coupled with a curved rounded body, but as much as we liked that, we couldn't help but notice the slight lag even in the main menu. On the positive side, you have an affordable price tag which helps you swallow that bitter pill, and you still get a smartphone running the rich in features Android Froyo. The list of negatives however outweighs the positives: the below average fixed-focus camera, lack of Flash support and limited 3D application support should be considered.

As an alternative, you can tighten the belts with the even more affordable Samsung Galaxy Mini, which has a 3.3-inch screen and similar functionality. You can also get the widely popular LG Optimus One, which offers a fluid Android experience at still a more affordable price and finally you can look at the Samsung Galaxy Ace, which ups the game with a 3.5-inch screen at a similar price. But if you're solely after the cute colorful look and can overlook the sometimes slowish performance, the Liquid Mini really has little competition among Androids.

Acer Liquid Mini Video Review:


  • Fresh jazzy design, solid build
  • Relatively affordable


  • Laggy interface
  • No Flash
  • Poor image quality, fixed-focus camera

PhoneArena Rating:


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