Review: Acer Liquid Mini E310

The Acer Liquid Mini – E310 has been released in India as a low to mid price Android 2.2 device. I was in the market for a capable yet inexpensive Android device for my wife and this phone was what finally caught the wife’s fancy. Having bought a low priced Android device in the past, I had realized that the two main places that manufacturers reduce cost in are the display and the processor. My last low cost Android purchase skimped a lot on the display and that was a sore point with that phone. The Mini is not as cheap as the earlier Huawei U8100 that I had bought. For the bump in price the phone provides reasonably good performance and build.

Here is a look at the basic spec sheet with my observations in these.

  1. Processor: The phone has a 600mhz ARM 11 processor and also an Adreno 200 GPU. This is really nice in my opinion since it helps to run all those animations and transitions a whole lot better.
  2. Network: Quad band GSM and dual band 3G with a maximum of 7.2mbps download speed. This is fairly standard.
  3. Display: TFT capacitive LCD with 256k colours. 3.2in with a resolution of 320×480 pixels. If this was anything less than this, there would have been no way I would have bought this phone.
  4. Memory: RAM – 512mb; ROM – 512mb. Maximum size SD card supported – 32gb
  5. Connectivity: Wifi 802.11 b/g, DLNA, Native Wifi and Bluetooth tethering, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP and EDR. Hope you notices the DLNA there. Haven’t seen this even in some of the more expensive phones.
The specs are very decent. Especially the presence of a discreet GPU. Acer has also managed to match the software and hardware very well to provide a very nice and smooth experience. Like Steve Jobs says, the hardware is not important. It’s the mating if the software and hardware that matters. Lets take a look at the device a little more closely.

 

The device is all plastic, but feels solid. I do worry about opening it up too often since the volume and camera control buttons are built into the back cover. Having moving parts that are that delicate scares me a bit. Also, it would have been better if the SIM card slot was accessible without removing the battery. It also feels like Acer thought the same about these things since removing the back cover is not easy. The back has a nice matte finish and the phone is surprisingly light.

In terms of the software, Android 2.2 does duty on this phone. There is already information that Acer is going to update this to Gingerbread very soon. Acer has put their own skin on top of the OS and on top of the phone app. Acer has also provided the option for you to use the standard Android 2.2 UI instead of their customized UI. No force feeding of Sense or Blur here. Here is a look at the OS with the Acer skin and the standard Android UI.

 

The OS is fine and both the standard Android 2.2 interface as well as Acer’s UI are very usable. There are also a lot of built in apps in this phone. While some of them are usable, others are just taking up space and they don’t uninstall either. Here is a list of all the built in apps that Acer has included.

 

I have been using this phone whenever I get the opportunity and Acer really seems to have done a good job on the software side. You would never feel that the processor is just 600mhz. The experience is smooth and hopefully will be as good when Gingerbread is delivered by Acer for this phone.

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