We first came across the Acer Liquid E1 Duo smartphone back at Mobile World Congress in February. The device has yet to launch in the UK but it is already on pre-order at Expansys for £165, sandwiched between the Acer Gallant Duo at £140 and the Acer CloudMobile at £200.
As for many entry-level smartphones, the Liquid E1 Duo comes with only few accessories; a microUSB cable, a pair of earphones and a power supply. Surprisingly, you also get a disclaimer leaflet (regarding third party apps and free software) and three booklets (one on Warranty, one on safety information and the last one, a quick guide. All of which are multi lingual was well).
The Liquid E1 Duo, otherwise V360, is a gorgeous piece of technology and its design is reminiscent of the HTC Sensation XE. Like the latter, it has red speaker grills and a few other commonalities. One big difference though is the price; the HTC Sensation XE started life at nearly £500 in 2011 and, nearly two years later, the Liquid E1 Duo, landed on our desk with a 70 per cent discount.
Like HTC’s device, it has a rounded back and soft edges. There’s a big 4.5in IPS display in front with a 960 x 540 pixel resolution at the front with a VGA front facing camera next to it. At the top is a notch that allows you to pry open the smartphone together with a red power button and a headset socket. On the right is a volume rocker and on the other side, a micro USB port. As for the back, it is crowded and from top to bottom, there’s the first of two speakers, a 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash next to it, an Acer and DTS logo and at the bottom, the second speaker.
Acer used plastic for the enclosure, a matte rubbery material that’s decent enough (depending on your personal taste). Opening the smartphone and trying to remove the 1,760mAh battery proved to be a real challenge. And you have to power down the smartphone in order to access the two SIM card slots and the microSD one.
The device runs on a dual-core Mediatek MTK6577 SoC clocked at 1GHz with 1GB of RAM, a PowerVR SGX531 GPU, 2.5GB onboard storage, a microSD card slot, Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean and Acer’s own user interface.
Our test smartphone came with Acer’s own AcerCloud applications (clear.fi photo, clear.fi music, AcerCloud Docs etc) and the display was fairly bright even on the auto brightness mode. Perhaps the most important bit is that you can make and receive calls with either of the SIM cards loaded. There is no need to manually switch cards, making this solution a perfect antidote to the two-phone conundrum when abroad. What’s more you can even configure the Liquid E1 Duo to make internet calls and act as a SIP client. Wonderful!
The device scored 6,303 on AnTuTu (v3.3) which puts it between the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the Amazon Kindle Fire, both of which run the dual-core TI OMAP4430 SoC clocked at 1.2GHz and 1GHz respectively. As for Quadrant, the Liquid E1 Duo reached 2,911 points, which is more than the Motorola Atrix 4G or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. That's noticeably less than the Huawei Ascend G510 although in our brief hands-on, we didn't witness any noticeable lag and HD videos streamed perfectly well. It is worth noting as well that all things being equal, a Cortex-A5 core seems to be just as powerful as a Cortex-A9 one.
In a nutshell, the Liquid E1 Duo is a very likable handset. Compared to the G510, it has a higher screen resolution, has twice the RAM, two speakers, is unlocked and two SIM card slots; but It is also significantly more expensive (by £40) and slower.