Acer Liquid Jade Z review | Hands-on with new Liquid Jade Z

PC Advisor is at MWC 2015 in Barcelona, testing out all of the new smartphones, tablets and wearables to hit the show floor. Acer's new budget smartphone offering has the potential to knock the Motorola Moto G off the top spot with impressive specs but a low price tag. Here's our Acer Liquid Jade Z hands-on review.

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Acer Liquid Jade Z hands-on review: Design & build

The Acer Liquid Jade Z is a good-looking smartphone, with curved edges and a soft look. The front is made with Gorilla Glass 3, while the back is a textured plastic which we found quite attractive and easy to grip, and is available in black or white.

Among the many notable things about this impressive budget smartphone is its weight. It's just 120g and feels so light it's almost toy-like. It's also really thin compared with budget rivals, at just 7.9mm.

Acer Liquid Jade Z hands-on review

Acer Liquid Jade Z hands-on review: Hardware

The display on the Liquid Jade Z is a 5in 720p HD IPS display, matching that of the Motorola Moto G. Acer has utilised Zero Air Gap technology to reduce reflection and increase contrast. We found the display to be crisp and clear, with bright colours and sharp images.

Inside the Liquid Jade Z is is a Mediatek1.5GHz 64-bit quad-core processor paired with 1GB RAM. We'll be putting the Liquid Jade Z through its paces as soon as we get it back to our labs to find out how well the processor performs compared with rivals, but during our time with the smartphone we found it to be suitably zippy, with no lag even when switching between apps and launching the camera app.

Acer Liquid Jade Z hands-on review

There's 8GB of storage space built-in to the Acer Liquid Jade Z and a lot of that is taken up by Acer's many pre-installed apps, but thankfully there's also a microSD card slot for adding additional space if you plan on taking lots of photos or downloading lots of apps.

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When it comes to connectivity, we're pleased to see that the Liquid Jade Z has 4G LTE, something that's lacking from the newest Motorola Moto G model in the UK.

The Liquid Jade Z also offers 24-bit hi-res audio through its HD DTS speakers on the rear, but we were unable to test it on the noisy show floor so our verdict will have to wait until we get the smartphone back to our labs.

The battery is 2,300mAh, and there's a power saving mode to help make the most of it.

Acer Liquid Jade Z hands-on review: Cameras

Acer Liquid Jade Z hands-on review

We're impressed by the Liquid Jade Z's camera offerings. On the rear is a 13Mp snapper with an aperture of f/1.8 and an LED flash, while the front-facing camera boasts 5Mp for selfie lovers. That trumps the Motorola Moto G's 8Mp rear-facing camera, and even some high-end smartphones camera offerings.

Acer has included some additional features for the camera, including the Dual Shot mode that lets you capture photos from the front and rear camera simultaneously, the Bright Magic mode for capturing photos in low light and Presentation Mode for screenshots and slides. There's also HDR mode, panorama, gourmet designed specifically for photographing food, and other filters and effects.

What's cool is that you can assign an effect or filter to the Favourite Mode shutter button, which sits below the main shutter button.

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Acer Liquid Jade Z hands-on review: Software

The Jade Z is running Android 4.4.4 KitKat, overlaid with Acer's Liquid UI, which isn't much of a departure from Vanilla Android but has a few tweaks and extras.

Among Acer's software-based features is the AcerEXTEND feature, which lets you control your phone using your computer's keyboard, and quickly share between smartphone and computer.

There's AcerNAV, too, which is the result of a partnership between Acer and TomTom for offline navigation. Acer also adds a Read Mode feature that aims to ease your eyes from the blue-light emissions.

Acer Liquid Jade Z hands-on review: Price & availability

The Liquid Jade Z is set to become available this month, with a starting price of 199 Euros, which could make it as low as £150 in the UK – an excellent price tag for a smartphone with specs as good as these.

OUR VERDICT

We can't wait to spend more time with the Acer Liquid Jade Z and find out whether it really can knock the Motorola Moto G off the top spot in our budget smartphone chart. We'll be bringing you our full review soon.

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