Acer pairs an octa-core CPU with LTE in the Liquid X1 smartphone (hands-on)

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The Acer Liquid X1 on display at Computex 2014 Nic Healey/CNET

TAIPEI, Tawain -- First launched at the end of May, Acer was showing off its powerful new Liquid X1 smartphone on the Nangang show room floor at Computex 2014.

The X1 sits firmly in the phablet category with a 5.7-inch display and an impressive octa-core processor. Combined with Category 4 LTE capabilities -- a theoretical download speed of 150Mbps -- this phone has some very real appeal for the power user.

Design and display

The rear of the X1 has a dimpled texture, reminiscent of the Galaxy S5. For a big phone, it's good to have some grip, and while imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, it's also extremely practical for something of this size. The weight was hard to judge thanks to the security chain keeping it out of the bags of less scrupulous Computex attendees but, according to Acer, it tips the scales at 160g.

The screen resolution was, surprisingly, 1,280x720. I say surprisingly because the X1 screen is beautiful -- bright and clear -- and I would have expected it to be Full HD at the least.

At the top and bottom of the screen, almost invisible to the eye, are two forward facing speakers, a bit like the setup on the HTC One. Finally, the screen has something Acer is calling 'Glove and Water Touch'. Essentially the screen is sensitive enough to handle covered or wet hands.

Specs and software

Obviously, Acer is making a lot of noise about the octa-core 1.7GHz processor. While no one at the Acer stand was forthcoming about the manufacturer, my colleague Aloysius Low assures me it's a MediaTek processor. It's rounded out with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, along with a 13-megapixel camera. The camera also has a 0.3 second focus time and motion tracking.

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The Zoom Fit option on the X1 resizes the interface to a 4-inch 'screen'. Nic Healey/CNET

One particularly neat software trick from Acer is the Zoom Fit, built for people who complain that phones are getting too big. By holding down the home button and dragging it off to the left, you can Zoom Fit, which immediate resizes your screen interface to 4-inches. You can then reposition the smaller interface anywhere on the 5.7-inch screen that you like. It's a bit odd, but it's meant to convert the X1 for one-handed operation.

Outlook

I'm a big fan of big phones and at first blush the X1 has a lot going for it. Unless you're only going to be satisfied with a Full HD screen, this phablet should appeal to anyone looking for speed both in connectivity and processor.

No pricing was available, although the X1 is expected to ship in Q3 of this year.

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The textured rear is reminiscent of the Galaxy S5 Nic Healey/CNET

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Acer Liquid X1

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