While Acer may not exactly be as proficient as other manufacturers in churning out goodies based on Android, it does have several already under its belt. First we took the Iconia Tab A500 for a spin and now we have the Liquid Mini E310. Let's see if this device will make us beg the Taiwanese-titan introduce more devices based on Google's mobile OS to the field.
Looks and feel
We'll give you this: the Liquid Mini E310 is a looker. It's sleek, shiny and has a curvy back that adds more sexiness to the package. Coming with a slightly curved top and bottom sides, you could say that this device somewhat separates itself from its blocky rivals from other brands. It's not the thinnest handset we've had, but that is not to say it's chunky, just about right for us in terms of thickness. And it's pretty light, too. It would be weird if it was otherwise since it does have "Mini" in its name.
For newbies to Android, the Liquid Mini E310 isn't a bad way to introduce yourself to the platform. Acer's default settings (a special UI) are easy enough to follow that you don't have to constantly check on the users manual.
Usage is pretty basic actually, especially if you're one who has experience tinkering with Android handsets. Below the home screen are four touch-sensitive buttons (home, search, back and settings button). At first, you could be a tad confused using the touchscreen and the buttons but after a while, you can get the hang of it. The buttons are a little sensitive though, so if you're touching the screen and accidentally touch one of them as well, be prepared to get sent home, to search or backwards.
As for performance, we found the handset to be a bit on the sluggish side when running multiple apps at the same time can slow it down considerably. Taking a photo while opening up your browser and texting and listening to music, will definitely hamper the the reaction time. Needless to say multi-tasking may not be one of the Liquid Mini E310's strong suits. The handset does have 512MB of RAM which is not exactly little but that's coupled with a 600MHz chip which could explain the lags in performing some tasks.
Speaking of reaction time, it takes a bit of waiting for the screen to follow your commands at times. When you turn the phone horizontally from the vertical position, it takes a second or two to automatically rotate. And when you've got a lot of things going on in the background, it could take even longer. And when you're playing games that require speed (aka Fruit Slice!), the reaction time does get in the way of getting the best experience. Too bad for fans of Fruit Slice and Fruit Ninja out there.
Oh, before we forget, the Liquid Mini E310 comes with Android 2.2 aka FroYo in tow (not Gingerbread, sorry) and though it caters to a wide variety of apps, not everything is compatible with it. The Market couldn't install a couple of apps (mostly about photography) because of the OS version but other than that, there were still a lot of compatible applications to use. No biggie actually and this is more of Android's limitation than the handset's fault although we wish the device will be in for an OTA (over the air) update soon.
When it comes to singular functions, we found that the Liquid Mini E310 is pretty adept. Watching videos on YouTube is a breeze and there are very few snags with audio or video. The same can be said for playing music. We were pleasantly surprised that the speakers can get loud enough without the tunes getting the tunog lata syndrome. The 5-megapixel camera is pretty basic. It shoots decent-enough photos that you can share on social-networking sites. Don't get your hopes too high, though, especially in low-light situations since a built-in flash is not part of the package.
Click on next page for part 2 of the review