Acer's Liquid M220 offers Windows Phone on a budget (hands-on)

The Liquid M220 has a 4-inch display and a low price tag.

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If you're curious about Windows Phone but don't want to spend much to check it out, Acer's Liquid M220 is an inexpensive option. And while you're saving money, you're also getting a phone with a bit of personality in the design.

It's Acer's very first Windows Phone device, and will be available in select European markets this April for a mere 79 euros. International availability hasn't been confirmed, but that converts to about $90, £60 or AU$115.

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That low price tag doesn't get you all that much. The 1.2GHz dual-core processor is paired with 512MB of RAM, and you're limited to just 4GB of storage -- the phone does support microSD cards though. Its 4-inch display is dwarfed by most of the other devices we'll see out of Mobile World Congress, but the 233 pixels per inch it offers up sounds promising, doesn't it? In person, however, the screen quality looked awful, and hard to see in most normal lighting.

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One thing you do get for your money is a bit of character in the design. In a crowded market of samey glossy rectangles it can be hard for a phone to stand out when it comes to looks, but this device takes a novel approach. The back of the phone has a pleasantly toothy surface, like rough paper. Not only does it add a bit of grip to this very light phone, but it's fun to run your fingernail over it. If you like texture in a cheap phone, well, this has it.

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Meanwhile the silver band around the edge of the phone has parallel lines of small raised squares running all the way around. They're not quite big enough to do much for your grip of the phone, but along with the textured casing they add a rugged dash of novelty.

The big downside in terms of design is that enormous bezel. The screen isn't small, but feels a bit lost amid the expanse of black on the face of the phone.

The 5-megapixel rear shooter is joined by a front-facing 2-megapixel camera. This 3G phone also offers optional support for dual SIM cards. The Liquid M220 will ship with Windows Phone 8.1, but it'll be ready to run Windows 10 when that operating system makes its way to phones (and tablets and PCs, too ) later this year.

There's plenty more news to come from this year's Mobile World Congress, so be sure to check out all of our MWC coverage.

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