Acer Liquid C1 - Intel Android Smartphone


Performance and Conclusion

Performance

The Acer Liquid C1 is the first phone to be powered by the Intel Atom Z2420 single-core processor. The chip supports Intel Hyper-Threading (HT) technology, which simply means that a single processor can 'act' like two separate processors to the operating system and the apps that are using it. The processor can execute two streams of instructions sent by the operating system simultaneously (where CPU resources allow), hence allowing more work to be done within each clock cycle. Theoretically, this will result in more responsive interfaces, faster loading of web pages and seamless multitasking. To find out more about HT, we've summarized it in this old article.

It is noteworthy to mention that unlike the majority of the smartphones in the market, the Acer Liquid C1 does not run on ARM processors. Since both camps have touted their superiority in performance, it will be interesting to see how the x86-based Intel Atom processor fares against the ARM processors in phones of its class. As usual, we will use the Quadrant benchmark to evaluate the CPU, memory, I/O and 3D graphics of the Android devices.

How the Phones Stack Up
Device Acer Liquid C1 HTC Desire V Huawei Ascend P1
CPU Intel Atom Z2420 single-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM7227A single-core 1GHz TI OMAP 4460 dual-core 1.5GHz
GPU PowerVR SGX540 Adreno 200 PowerVR SGX540
RAM 1GB 512MB 1GB
OS Google Android 4.0 Google Android 4.0 Google Android 4.0

 

Based on the Quadrant benchmark, the Intel Atom processor held up decently against the ARM processors. While the gap with the dual-core Huawei Ascend P1 is noticeable, it is too early to disregard Intel's efforts to make its mark in the mobile space; they are surely but steadily making progress. 

Aside from benchmark results, we found the overall user experience to be decent. Having handled Android 4.1 devices that offer smoother operation as per the OS design, the speed of operation on the Liquid C1 seemed to be a tad slower and expectedly so with its slightly older Android 4.0 base. However, it is important to note that the Liquid C1 is primarily an entry-level phone, and the slightly inferior performance is understandable for its class.

 

Imaging Performance

Despite its proposition as an entry-level device, the Liquid C1 comes with an 8-megapixel rear autofocus camera. On paper, it is in the same league as some of the high-end Android smartphones such as the HTC Butterfly and Samsung Galaxy Note II. Now, let's see how it performs in our imaging test below: - 

 

Imaging isn't the camera's forte and it's clear that if you intend to own the Liquid C1, you would do good to also keep a stand-alone camera handy to tackle any good photo opportunity. What about the display of the device in which you enjoy photos and videos? Well, it won't blow you away, but it's very reasonable for its entry-level status as the 4.3-inch IPS display comes with a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels.

 

Battery Mileage

Our standard battery test for mobile phones includes the following parameters:

  • Looping a 800 x 480-pixel video with screen brightness and volume at 100%
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on
  • Constant data streaming through email and Twitter
Test Phones Compared
Specifications/Device Acer Liquid C1 HTC Desire V Huawei Ascend P1
Processor
  • Single-core 1.2GHz
  • Single-core 1GHz
  • Dual-core 1.5GHz
Display Size
  • 4.3-inch 
  • 4.0-inch
  • 4.3-inch
Display Type
  • IPS LCD
  • LCD
  • Super AMOLED
Display Resolution
  • 960 x 540 pixels
  • 800 x 480 pixels
  • 960 x 540 pixels
Dimensions
  • 127.3 x 65.5 x 9.95mm
  • 118.5 x 62.3 x 9.3 mm
  • 129 x 64.8 x 7.69mm
Weight
  • 140g
  • 114g
  • 130g
Battery
  • 2000mAh
  • 1650mAh
  • 1670mAh

 

The Liquid C1 lasted 5 hours and 47 minutes, which is about 42 minutes longer than the HTC Desire V. When compared to the Huawei Ascend P1, the Acer phone paled in comparison. Despite having a dual-core processor and smaller battery capacity, the Ascend P1 had a better battery mileage. This is mainly attributed to the more power efficient Super AMOLED display and TI processor. Our assumption is reinforced by the Power Consumption chart, where the Ascend P1 had the lowest power consumption among the three phones compared. It's quite unfortunate that despite the bulkier and higher capacity battery on the Acer device, its power efficiency needs work.

In the Portability Index where where each device is assessed on its ability to balance battery mileage with its size and portability, the Liquid C1 fared the worst as it is easily the bulkiest among the three phones and given the fact that it didn't last as long as we hoped it would in our benchmarking scenario.

Under normal daily usage conditions, we were able to squeeze out about a day of battery life from the Acer phone. This is pretty normal for smartphones today, when consumers usually perform some moderate web surfing, text messaging and make a few phone calls throughout the day. As such, do note that our battery test results reported above simulate fairly stressful usage conditions and that actual battery mileage varies under different usage conditions

 

Conclusion

As the first Intel-powered smartphone to land in our test labs, we find the Acer Liquid C1 to fall within our expectations. It may not have an outstanding design or superior specs, but the Acer Liquid C1 gets the job done most of the time, apart from it photo-taking capabilities that let us down. The Intel Atom Z2420 processor is positioned as a platform for smartphones in emerging markets, and its performance seemed to be acceptable when compared to the ARM competition.

Retailing at an estimated price of S$408 (a direct conversion of the RM 999 retail price), Acer and Intel have positioned the Liquid C1 in a competitive spot against the ARM-based competition such as the $568 Samsung Galaxy S III mini, $498 HTC Desire V and $648 Huawei Ascend P1 (considering their official retail prices). However, the latter two phones have been around for more than half a year and their current street prices are much more enticing at under S$400 and under S$500 respectively thus making Acer's Liquid C1 a much tougher proposition (even though there's nothing really wrong with it other than below average imaging quality). In any case, there's no mention if Acer would retail the Liquid C1 in Singapore. So for those really keen to try out an Intel powered Android device, you'll have to try your luck across the boarder.

If you are in the market for a non-Android entry-level smartphone locally, you can also consider the Nokia Lumia 720 and 520, which are priced at S$479 and S$279 respectively.

7.5
Design
8
Features
8
User-Friendliness
8
Performance
7
Value
7.5
The Good
Good feel and handling
Stock Android UI
microSD card slot
Affordable
The Bad
Disappointing imaging performance
Battery life could be better