Acer Liquid Metal - Going with the Flow


Features

Phone Features

Unlike its predecessor, the Liquid, the new Liquid Metal operates on a fairly recent version of the Android OS (2.2). As we recall, the old Liquid came with the Android 1.6 OS, with an option to upgrade it to Eclair (version 2.0). Additionally, the Acer Liquid Metal works on an unique premise - users have the option of toggling between the customized Acer UI (otherwise known as Breeze UI) and the staple Android UI under the Settings menu. Basically, you get more in one phone, but the sad situation is, the former isn't exactly intuitive even though it has a clean and refined look. Those who are used to the Android UI or the HTC Sense UI might be scratching their heads over the fact that a) task/notifications bar has been relegated to the middle of the screen, and b) these notifications are spread across several tabs as opposed to a single drag-down menu. 

Instead of a single drag down menu, you must tap on the taskbar/notifications to bring your information up – swipe across and you will see that the information is categorized accordingly: calls, email notifications, connectivity options. While messy, you can easily switch on or off network options with one click.

Awakening your phone from locked mode prompts up an interface of five pages. Out of those, four are available for you to load it with widgets (just like the original Android or Sense UI) but no shortcuts or folders. Oddly though, the phone allows users to view personal information that you or anyone can access even while the phone is locked! As seen in the screenshot below, even when the phone is locked, personal status and other information is viewable, including browsing through the five pages of the Breeze UI. While it's sort of convenient, we really question the practicality of it since anyone can see personal or vital information without even unlocking the phone. Thankfully the Android default UI doesn't have this 'feature'.

Even while the phone is locked, anyone can easily see what's on your widgets.
 
While on the main page, swipe to the right to get an overview of your past activities. This is pretty helpful since it gives you easy access to what you have been frequenting recently.

Swipe to left to get an overview of multimedia history – recently taken photos, or media recently consumed like music and videos. Click either of the three icons on the top right of the screen for their respective sections.

We personally feel that it's a love or hate affair with regards to the Breeze UI. It takes getting used to but it has some plus points like easy access to phone history and multimedia activity, but ultimately, it is a step down from the basic Android UI in terms of general usability.

7.5
Design
7
Features
8
User-Friendliness
7.5
Performance
8
Value
8
The Good
Decent camera performance
Good battery mileage
Smooth user experience
Mobile Dolby sound enhancing options
The Bad
Unintuitive Breeze UI
Bulky and 'fingerprint magnet' exterior