Acer Liquid Z2 review: Acer Liquid Z2

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent

Average User Rating

2 stars 1 user review
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Affordable price; Android Jelly Bean software; Sturdy, portable build; Expandable storage.

The Bad Low-resolution screen; Wi-Fi connection problems.

The Bottom Line With its low-resolution 3.5-inch screen and single-core processor, the Acer Liquid Z2 won't tempt gadget geeks among you. Its £90 price and Android Jelly Bean software, however, make it a good choice for new smart phone converts or even to use as a temporary phone.

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Acer might be better known for making computers, but every so often it gets bored of churning out laptops and throws a phone into the mix. This time it's the Liquid Z2.

It's a 3.5-inch Android blower, packing a 320x480-pixel resolution display, a 1GHz single core processor and a 3-megapixel camera. You might be thinking that those are some uninspiring specs and you'd be absolutely right. The Z2 saves it however by costing only £90 SIM-free.

You can pick it up now from Asda.

Should I buy the Acer Liquid Z2?

If you're desperate to get your hands on the latest, greatest smart phone to hit the shops then you've come to the wrong place. Go and check out our reviews of the HTC One or Sony Xperia Z instead.

Its low-resolution 3.5-inch display and single-core processor isn't going to win any favour among those of you who crave top specs. However, it makes up for it by packing recent Android Jelly Bean software and costing a mere £90.

If you're looking to take the step into the smart phone world, but don't want to splash your cash on top end kit, the Z2 is a good choice to consider. Its stock Android interface is easy to use and its size will be less of a shock to your hands than the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 .

If you're making your way to this summer's music festivals and live in fear of leaving your beloved Galaxy S3 behind in a pool of mud, the Z2 is a good option to consider as a temporary phone. It'll give you full access to your social networks and won't break the bank if you lose it.

Design and build quality

With its 3.5-inch screen, the Z2 is much more suited to sitting in the palm of your hand than the smart phone Goliaths like the 5.5-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 2 . It measures only 110mm long and 61.5mm wide which, together with the rounded back, makes it very comfortable to hold. You also won't struggle to get it into your jeans pocket.

The smaller display does of course mean that there's a lot less space to enjoy videos and Web pages. If you're already a smart phone veteran, addicted to videos and full-screen apps, the bigger phones will still be a better choice for you. For the casual user, recent smart phone convert, or simply if you require an emergency phone, the portability of the Z2 is likely to be more of a bonus than screen real estate would be.

Acer Liquid Z2
The Liquid Z2 isn't going to sashay to victory in any beauty pageants, but neither will it scar your retinas.

Design-wise, the Z2 is nothing special. There's a lot of black plastic surrounding the screen which immediately makes it look less expensive but the metal grilles above and below it help keep the Z2's face mildly interesting. The back panel is a creamy silver affair, broken by the camera lens, Acer logo and round, silver speaker grille. It's hardly superstar stunning, but it's inoffensive enough and, for the price, you could do a lot worse.

It feels generally well put together too, which is something that's all too often a problem at this price. There's no flex in the back casing and the buttons all provide a sturdy, satisfying click when pressed. The back panel is removable and feels cheap and flimsy, but even the Galaxy S3's back panel feels unpleasantly weak when detached. Keep it firmly snapped on and you won't find a problem with it.

Beneath the panel is the battery, under which you'll find the SIM card and microSD card slots. It's a little annoying that the SD card slot is under the battery as it stops you from swapping them it when the phone's in use. It's better than having none at all though, as the Z2 only comes with a measly 4GB of internal storage. You can blow through that in a matter of minutes, so you'll really need to grab a card before you start.

Screen

At 3.5 inches, the Z2's screen doesn't offer quite as much space to fill with apps and games as the smart phone whoppers, but it's still roomy enough to provide a decent experience. Let's not forget that the iPhone 4 had the same screen size, and that certainly didn't stop it from selling by the ship load.

The iPhone 4's screen, however, was of significantly better quality than the Z2's. For a start, its Retina display meant it had a resolution of 640x960-pixels to play with. It made small text around icons and high-resolution photos look deliciously sharp. The Z2 meanwhile has a lesser 320x480-pixels.

Acer Liquid Z2
The screen is a decent size, but resolution is iffy.

Small text isn't particularly well defined and images don't have the same crispness you'd see on better displays. Colours too aren't as well displayed, thanks to the display's unimpressive contrast and rather cold colour cast. It also has extremely poor viewing angles -- you'll need to keep your face pretty much square on to the screen if you want the best image.

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Where to Buy

Acer Liquid Z2

Part Number: HM.HBYEK.001

Typical Price: £90.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Weight 110 g
  • Technology WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM
  • Service Provider not specified
  • Diagonal Size 3.5 in
  • Sensor Resolution 3 pixels