We noted earlier this week that the ZTE Skate was available from Orange as the 'Monte Carlo' from as little as £120 for existing customers; the problem is that the phone is currently in short supply, will be branded Orange and it costs nearly £160.
Expansys has dropped the price of the Acer Liquid Metal smartphone to £150 with free shipping; compared to the Skate, the Acer handset has a smaller screen (4.3-inch vs 3.6-inch) with a similar screen resolution but surpasses the Skate when it comes to the SoC.
While the latter uses an ARMv6 Qualcomm MSM7227T, the Liquid Metal uses the Snapdragon MSM7230 which is based an ARMv7 model; both of them are clocked at 800MHz but Acer's SoC should be at least twice as fast as the Monte Carlo.
Other than that, both handsets share more or less the same specifications; 512MB RAM, a microSD card slot, a microUSB port, Wi-Fi, a five megapixel camera (both lack a front facing camera), Wi-Fi and Android (Gingerbread on the ZTE and Froyo on the Liquid Metal).
So unless you are on Orange or desperately need an Android handset with a big screen, Acer's smartphone appears to be the better choice. There's a caveat though; while ZTE doesn't come with any specific user interface, Acer has added another UI layer called Breeze which may have a negative impact on performance.