Acer Liquid E3: phone with LED flash for selfies

‘Selfie’ was the word of the year 2013 and that’s actually crazy, because front cameras have been on phones for years. However, with many people posting selfies on social media, the importance of the front camera seems greater than ever. Where manufacturers until recently praised the front camera in their advertisements as ideally suited for Skype, it is now only about self-portraits.

The cameras on the back of phones are invariably better, but the downside is that you can’t see for yourself what kind of photo you’re taking. Manufacturers are currently thinking a lot about how selfies can be better. For example, Huawei opted for a 5-megapixel front camera with ‘beautiful mode’ on its Ascend P6 and Oppo made a rotating camera, so that the camera on the back can also serve as a front cam.

Acer throws it with the relatively cheap Liquid E3, it will cost 199 euros, about a different tack. It is the first smartphone we have seen so far where the front camera is assisted by an LED flash. That should make selfies possible in dark conditions, a kind of combination between selfie and party pic.

The flash is located at some distance from the front camera. It is located on the left above the screen, the front camera itself is on the right and can be used for both photos and video.

That front camera has a maximum resolution of 2 megapixels and that’s reasonable, but we’ve seen better ones. He sometimes has trouble focusing and some of the shots were therefore insufficient.

The camera on the back has a resolution of 13 megapixels and also takes reasonable pictures. However, it’s not as good as many might suspect based on the megapixel count. Anyone who thinks that more pixels means better photos will often be disappointed, and that is also the case here. Transferring test photos from the Liquid E3 unfortunately did not work.

The Liquid E3 has a 4.7″ screen with a resolution of 1280×720 pixels. The screen is as you would expect in this price range; the contrast leaves something to be desired and the brightness could have been higher. It will not work in all circumstances can be read just as well, although it is certainly not bad.The viewing angles are reasonable and at first glance there is little wrong with the screen for its price.

Acer does not disclose the processor, but a little digging in the menus suggests that it is a Mediatek MT6589, a soc with four processor cores at 1.2 GHz and a PowerVR SGX544 GPU from Imagination. That is a fairly common processor in this price range.

In terms of software, Acer has made some adjustments compared to previous devices. Like some other manufacturers, Acer is working on a ‘child mode’ and an ‘easy mode’. The intention is that children can only access pre-selected apps from that interface, but that turned out not to be functional yet. The notification bar still works and from there you can access the settings menu, from which children can still do anything, such as delete accounts.

Another special element of this phone is the button on the back, below the camera. This button can quickly launch the camera app when the screen is off. The user can set which app starts when he long presses the button. The button always works, even when the screen is on. It’s conveniently located below the camera, but a normal camera button would have sufficed for this purpose, of course. Like previous Liquids, the E3 has dts speakers on the front of the device. The sound of it is fine, as far as it could be heard on the exhibition floor. He rose above the noise and that says a lot.

In this price range, the biggest competition comes from the Moto G’s Liquid E4, which has a slightly smaller screen, runs on a near-stock version of Android, and costs about the same. The Liquid E4, on the other hand, does have a flash for the front camera and dts speakers. The device should be on the market from April.