Acer Liquid Jade Review

on Saturday, November 8, 2014

Acer’s Most Beautiful Phone Yet, But Is It Worth the Price?

Acer isn’t a new player in the world of smartphones, having unveiled its Liquid line of Android devices a few years back. It’s certainly had a longer presence as far as mobile phones are concerned here in the Philippines over its other Taiwanese rival, ASUS, but have been unable to enjoy the same sucess that their rival is enjoying now. Not one to give up, the company has renewed their efforts to try and make it in the local smartphone scene with their new line of Liquid smartphones, spearheaded by new models like the Liquid Jade. The Liquid Jade is probably the company’s best looking smartphone yet, though tech-savvy users may not like the fact that it’s packing the same internals as some locally branded smartphones, yet cost almost triple the price.

Acer Liquid Jade specs

  • 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6582
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 5-inch IPS HD display, 720 x 1280 resolution
  • 16GB of storage, expandable via microSD up to 32GB
  • 13-megapixel rear camera
  • 2-megapixel front camera
  • 3G, HSDPA
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • 2100mAh battery
  • Android KitKat
  • Php 14,990

A Jade by any other name

When you pick up the Liquid Jade for the first time, you’ll see why Acer named it the way they did. The Liquid Jade feels really nice to hands, and has a smooth, curved back that is reminiscent of its stone namesake. Acer’s design emphasis was to make the Liquid Jade as small and as compact as possible, and judging from the result of their work, we’d call it mission accomplished. The Liquid Jade has a thin, 6.8mm profile, which makes it absolutely heavenly to touch and use. While the phone uses a glossy plastic body, it doesn’t feel cheap at all when you pick it up and start using it.
Button layout for the Liquid Jade takes a bit of getting used to. The volume rocker is on the right, while the power button is up top, along with the 3.5mm jack, while the USB port is on the bottom. The Liquid Jade uses a completely sealed body so Acer used a SIM card tray on the side which can also accomodate a microSD slot for more memory. While we laud Acer for making the buttons recessed a bit into the body to match the clean, elegant lines of the device, it also makes it a bit hard to press them, especially the power button since they’re so recessed.
Unfortunately, there’s a chink in the armor of the Liquid Jade, specifically on the plastic treatment that the company used to apply the gloss finish on the back. We noticed after a few weeks of using it that there were already a number of scuff marks on the smooth gloss back of the Liquid Jade. We didn’t baby the Liquid Jade but we didn’t rough handle it either – it stayed in our pants pocket most of the time, alongside some spare change and probably a parking card if we went to events. It’s a bit disconcerting just how easily scratched the back of the Liquid Jade is, and clearly the phone will need to be used with a silicone case or swaddled in cloth all the time like a newborn baby just taken off ICU.
Speaking of the back, it also holds teh 13-megapixel rear camera advertised as having a f/1.8 lens. The camera is a bit out of place in a device as smooth and as elegant as the Liquid Jade, as it protrudes a good few mm from the back, and is quite prominent.
The 5-inch IPS display of the Liquid Jade is one of the better displays we’ve seen, thanks to Acer’s Zero Gap technology – basically their version of OGS. Contrast is nice, color reproduction is pretty accurate too, and viewing angles were generous.

Slightly disappointing hardware, considering the price

If there’s something that we didn’t like about the Liquid Jade, it was what it was running under the hood. Basically you’re looking at a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6582 processor paired with 2GB of RAM. If that processor sounds familiar, it’s because it’s MediaTek’s most common quad-core offering, powering everything from Acer’s Liquid Jade to MyPhone’s Rio. While we’re not processor snobs, it feels off paying for a device that costs almost three times as much as some 5-inch smartphones that basically have the same processor. While we understand that it’s not just the processor that makes the phone (the display and the camera modules as well as other components play their part too) some people may not be as understanding and may pass up the device because of this.
As far as benchmarks are concerned, there’s no surprises here: the Liquid Jade scored pretty much along the same lines as other smartphones with the same SoC, and gave us roughly the same performance.

Good performance out of the 13-megapixel camera

The 13-megapixel rear camera of the Liquid Jade is rather decent, capable of producing good shots even in low light. It seems that placing that protruding camera module was worth ruining the clean, smooth lines of the Liquid Jade’s back. Shots taken in relatively low light produced usable photos that, although noise-ridden, was still acceptable for social media. Color reproduction was good as well, and photos taken in bright environs had excellent detail and clarity.

Surprisingly long battery life

We all know the drill when it comes to battery life and MediaTek’s MT6582 SoC. You’re looking at around 6 to 7 hours of battery life with moderate use, and even less when our media loop test is applied. But surprisingly enough, the Liquid Jade managed to outlast other devices equipped with the same SoC, managing to last around seven hours and 36 minutes in our battery loop test. With moderate use, the Liquid Jade surpassed the 9 hour mark with around 17% left in the tank, which is phenomenal, considering our past experience with the SoC.

Good camera and battery life, but its hardware is underwhelming

The burning question now is this: is the Liquid Jade worth the Php 14,990 it’s asking for? For us, the answer, is sadly, no. If the device was priced a little cheaper, then we could see it moving (not flying) off the shelves. The stark reality is that the Liquid Jade is priced too steeply for local tastes, especially considering the hardware under the hood.


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