BARCELONA, Spain--Acer's new Liquid E1 is proof that an Android Jelly Bean handset doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. At an unsubsidized price of 199 euros (about $260, or £175), this midrange smartphone comes with a respectable list of components to match its modern software.
Powered by 1GHz dual-core MediaTek processor paired with 1GB of RAM, the Liquid E1 offers a pleasantly quick if not blisteringly swift Android experience. And while its 4.5-inch screen has a lower than average qHD resolution (960x540 pixels), it's large, bright, and uses IPS technology for acceptably wide viewing angles.
The Liquid E1 also comes out of the box with Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean software. That's certainly a great draw considering the phone's modest price. That said, I wouldn't count on the E1 receiving fresh versions of Google's OS anytime soon. The Acer rep I spoke to at MWC 2013, where the device was demoed, didn't sound very optimistic about Android upgrades in the future.
Also supporting the handset are 1GB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, and a microSD card expansion slot that accepts up to 32GB of extra memory. I also like the Liquid E1's funky set of stereo speakers and built-in DTS sound. Whether they produce better audio than competing devices and technologies, however, remains to be heard -- a crowded convention hall is hardly an ideal location for audio testing.
Acer says the Liquid E1 has already begun its trek into global retail stores. Hopefully that means you can expect one at a mobile tech market nearby shortly.