Acer Liquid Mini review: Acer Liquid Mini

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The Good Powerful Android 2.2 software; handy user-interface tweaks; compact design.

The Bad Slow processor; poor screen; underwhelming battery life.

The Bottom Line The Acer Liquid Mini isn't a disaster by any stretch of the imagination, but its lacklustre specs prevent it from standing out from the rest of the budget Android smart-phone crowd.

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5.5 Overall

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The Acer Liquid Mini joins the likes of the HTC Wildfire and LG Optimus One at the reasonably priced end of the Android smart phone spectrum. Unfortunately, its compromised hardware is certain to prevent it from finding a massive audience.

The Liquid Mini is available SIM-free for around £200. Contract prices are around the £25-per-month mark, but you can expect that figure to drop sharply over the coming months.

Like father, like son

The Mini bears more than a passing resemblance to its older sibling, the Acer Liquid. The curved top and bottom give the handset a distinctive appearance, and allow it to sit comfortably in the hand. The Mini is available in a range of colours, including blue, pink, green, black and silver.

The Mini has a distinctive lock screen that shows missed calls and unread text messages.

The phone's case feels plasticky but its construction can't be described as shoddy. Everything feels robust and sturdy, and the battery cover locks tightly to the rest of the phone, reducing creakiness. In fact, it's too secure -- you'll need long nails and strong fingers to remove it.

Screen sorrow

The Mini's screen has 'budget' written all over it. At 3.2 inches, it feels tiny compared to the likes of the HTC Desire HD's display, and its disappointing resolution of 320x480 pixels means that images look blocky. Typing using such a small display is also problematic.

We have to take issue with the overall brightness and clarity of the TFT display too. Even at full brightness, it looks dim, although the colour balance is acceptable. On the bright side, the Mini uses capacitive touchscreen technology, which is highly responsive and doesn't require you to exert any finger pressure.

You can quickly jump to previous apps and Web pages using the history widget.

We've seen a growing trend for phones to ditch dedicated camera buttons, so it's pleasing to see that the Mini goes against the grain in this respect. Holding down the camera button fires up the photo- and video-capture application, and a second press takes a snap or initiates recording.

Snap a shot

The 5-megapixel camera is okay for capturing occasional snapshots, but its video capability is distinctly underwhelming. A 720x480-pixel resolution is all it can muster. While these miniature movies looks fine on the phone's screen, they become blurry and ill-defined when you view them on a PC or television.

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