Acer's 5.7-inch Liquid S1 phablet (hands-on)

/ Updated: 4 June 2013, 8:27 am AEST
Acer Liquid S1
The Acer Liquid S1. Philip Wong/CNET Asia

Meet Acer's newest phablet, the Liquid S1. Just announced at Computex 2013, an annual tech conference in Taipei, the handset features a quad-core 1.5GHz processor, 1GB RAM, and a large 5.7-inch HD display (1,280 x 720 pixels).

Upside
The success of the Galaxy Note seems to have prompted more smartphone makers to introduce larger screens for their mobile devices. The Galaxy S3's 4.8-inch display, for example, got bumped up to 5 inches with the Galaxy S4.

Recently, Samsung launched the 5.8- and 6.3-inch Galaxy Mega devices for Asia. So if you like having a large screen to look at, the 5.7-inch Liquid S1 from Acer will be another smartphone vying for your attention.

The one thing you'll notice about the S1 is that Acer has chosen not to mess around with the default Android UI. The phablet runs Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean), which means you get all the goodies, including the better notification drop-down menu as well as the ability to add widgets to the lock screens.

The only tweak we noticed was the new Float UI that lets you have free-floating widgets -- such as the calculator -- overlaid above your normal apps, somewhat like Sony's Small Apps (found on Sony's smartphones such as the Xperia SP.

Acer Liquid S1
The Float UI in action. Philip Wong/CNET Asia

The Liquid S1 uses a quad-core 1.5GHz processor and sports 1GB RAM, an 8-megapixel F2.0 camera as well as a 2,400mAh removable battery. While it has only 8GB of storage, it comes with a microSD card slot that gives you the ability to add more space for when you need it. For jet-setters, there is a dual-SIM card slot that rounds up the feature set, though there's also a single SIM variant.

Acer Liquid S1
The Note 2 feels tiny next to the S1. Philip Wong/CNET Asia

Downside
As mentioned, it has only 8GB of storage, which means you will need to spend additional cash to get a microSD card.

If you're more of a fan of handsets with premium materials, the Liquid S1 is definitely not your phone. We do note that it's clad in matte, which is at least a better option compared with glossy plastic.

Acer Liquid S1
Plastic phones may not feel as good, but at least the S1 isn't clad in glossy plastic. Philip Wong/CNET Asia

Lastly, the phone is only 3G compatible, which means no 4G LTE. This can be a bummer if your country is already wired up for the speedy network, though it's likely the S1 will be launched in developing countries around the region that are mostly still on 3G networks.

Outlook
Compared with Samsung, HTC, and Sony, Acer's not known for its Android handsets. This would mean that the Liquid S1 is unlikely to sell as well as the other brands. That said, if Acer aims to target the low-cost device market (similar to what it has done for its notebooks), this 5.7-inch phablet is likely to be priced very competitively against similar models. Though there's been no talk of the S1 coming to the U.S., it's expected to ship out in Q3 this year in Europe and Asia.

Click here for more CNET Asia coverage from Computex 2013 in Taipei.

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Where to Buy

Acer Liquid S1

Part Number: LIQUIDS1
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Regional specs shown for US. AU specs are unavailable.

  • Weight 6.87 oz
  • Diagonal Size 5.7 in