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MWC 2014: Hands-on preview with the Acer Liquid E3 and Z4

Acer’s Liquid E3 and Z4 are set to join the company's line-up of international mobile devices, and we had the chance to take these handsets for a quick spin at MWC.

The E3 represents the higher end of the two, featuring a 4.7in 720p IPS display and quad-core MediaTek processor. Weighing in at 135 grams, the E3 felt light in the hand, though the all-plastic construction isn't particularly inspired. The E3 features 13-megapixel rear-facing and 2-megapixel front-facing cameras, but Acer highlighted the new front-facing LED flash for illuminating those selfie shots. Around back, below the camera, is the AcerRAPID key, a hardware button that can launch the camera or any other programmed app. Acer has also incorporated gestures like swiping down on the screen to wake the device, or double tapping the screen to display the time.

The Z4 is more compact with a relatively modest 4in display and dual-core processor.

Both the E3 and Z4 run Android 4.2.2 with Acer's Liquid UI overlay. New to Liquid UI is Quick Mode, which replaces the traditional Android home screen with a tile-based launcher. It looks like a rudimentary Windows Phone interface, giving quick access to the dialler, messages, and other oft-used apps. Acer promised an update to Android 4.4 KitKat sometime this year.

Neither phone supports LTE, but company reps did hint at new LTE-equipped MediaTek chipsets in the pipeline. The E3 will retail for €199 (£164) while the Z4 starts at €99 (£82). As we previously reported, these phones are set to hit the UK in April.

For all the releases, updates, and some beautiful photos of the latest gadgets, check out our live coverage of all the action from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.