Review Acer Liquid S1 Phablet Update

Florian Wimmer (translated by Peter Krastev), 08/23/2013

Liquid gold? We received the production model of the 5.7-inch Acer Liquid S1 phablet two months after the pre-production one. But we have noticed more than just improvements. Will the Acer phablet receive a purchase recommendation?

In review: Acer Liquid S1. Test device courtesy of Acer.

For the original German preview, see here.

Production model update:

In August, Acer Germany sent us a pre-production model of the Acer Liquid S1 phablet for a short test. Among other things, pre-production meant that the device had an unstable back cover and a poorly tuned display. With the production model we have updated the review with the all the current benchmarks, added the missing tests and compared the changes to the pre-production model. In addition, the Acer Liquid S1 must now receive our rigorous test verdict.

Since things are not going so well in the PC market, Acer makes an offensive move and crosses over into new markets in the smartphone arena. The Acer Liquid Z3 is meant to serve entry-level consumers, and the Liquid E2 competes in the middle-class of the classic smartphone market.

With the Liquid S1, the Taiwanese company wants to venture into the phablet market. This intermediate category between smartphones and tablets essentially consists of devices with display sizes between 5 and 7 inches. At that size, phablets are usually just small enough to fit in one hand (so long as your hands are not too tiny).

The phablet can be classified as a middle-class device based on its price and hardware components: 349 Euros (~$466) and a quad-core SoC Mediatek MT6589 with integrated PowerVR SGX544 GPU should be enough for Acer. In addition we have 1 GB of RAM and just 8 GB of internal flash memory, which is expandable via microSD card. Our test model also supports two SIM cards at the same time and features the latest operating system Android 4.2.2.

Case

The case is nicely designed and stable.
The case is nicely designed and stable.

The Acer Liquid S1 is not the slimmest phablet and at 9.6 mm height it is exactly between the 8-mm Samsung Galaxy Mega and the Huawei Ascend Mate (9.9 mm). It looks even slimmer thanks to the rounded edges. With dimensions of 163 mm x 83 mm the phablet is quite large for its relatively small 5.7-inch display. The competition is clearly in the lead here, especially the Huawei Ascend Mate with dimensions of 163.5 mm x 85.7 mm and a 6.1-inch display. It narrowly beats the competition with a weight of 195 grams.

Our pre-production model’s case was not yet in its final state and according to Acer the quality should improve. For example, the removable back cover did not fit 100% tightly and it rattled. This shortcoming has been remedied by Acer in the production model. The back cover sits very tight on the edges and there is only a slight play in the center, right above the battery, which is not annoying in everyday use. A further weakness of the pre-production model has not been completely dealt with. The Liquid S1 can still be twisted to an extent, which causes visible image distortions on the display.

Acer cannot be criticized in terms of design, even though the phablet is made purely of plastic. The front has a nice, shiny black border that curves over the top of the phone near the earpiece.

The chic and clearly marked touch buttons, located on the lower part of the front of the device, also deserve a positive mentioning. The back has an anti-skid surface, carries a  large, silver Acer logo, and its sloping sides give it a slender feel. With its chrome-colored inset and slight curve, the phablet’s silhouette is also attractive. Those who like a little variety in their device design will be happy to hear that Acer supplies both a black and a white back cover with every device.

Connectivity

When it comes to connections on a middle-class cell phone we do not expect anything more than a 3.5 mm audio port and a USB connection for charging the battery and connecting the phablet to the PC. The Acer Liquid S1 does not offer anything new here. The device’s quad-core SoC and HD display are standard for a middle-class phablet as well.

However, the Acer Liquid S1 does offer something special, particularly in this price range - you can use two SIM cards simultaneously. Thanks to the intuitive Android function, this works very smoothly and without hiccups. Without first shutting the phone off, you can simply select a different SIM card prior to each call and the calls associated to either SIM card are easily recognizable thanks to the different color profiles. Individual functions, such as mobile Internet, can be deactivated separately for each card.

Left: standby key
Left: standby key
Right: volume rocker
Right: volume rocker
Bottom: mini USB 2.0 port
Bottom: mini USB 2.0 port
Top: combo microphone/headphone jack
Top: combo microphone/headphone jack
Multitasking: some apps, here Maps, can be launched in their own window.
Multitasking: some apps, here Maps, can be launched in their own window.

Software

In terms of software, Acer put real effort into expanding the Android 4.2 operating system in a useful way. Voice control for the camera, multi-tasking for particular apps, cloud service, and automatic profiles assist the user in everyday situations.

How useful are these enhancements? Anyone who has been frustrated with blurry pictures on a cell phone camera will be happy with the voice control: simply say “cheese” or "capture" while using the camera app and the Liquid S1 automatically takes a picture. We already experienced how helpful this function is on the Samsung Galaxy S4. Unfortunately, even on our production model the voice commands work only in English.

Thanks to “Float UI”, certain apps (camera, calculator, notes and maps) can be launched in their own window that floats over the desktop or other apps. This feature functions very well and can certainly be useful.

The automatic profiles are a real innovation. The Acer Liquid S1 determines your current location via GPS. If you have previously saved your home or office location, the phablet can automatically select the profile to match your surroundings. For example - turn off the ringer in the office or set the ringer as loud as possible and turn on the WLAN when at home. There is an extensive set of options for this feature. In our short test, the phablet recognized our location very reliably.

Another small, but useful, software addition is the printing software “Acer Print”, which finally enables you to print from your smartphone, as long as your printer supports WLAN. The phone also comes with a software program called “Moodagent”, which uses your choice of music to recognize your mood and create dynamic playlists to suit it. We were also pleased that our production model was free of bloatware.

The GPS module leaves something to be desired. But perhaps it will gain that something before its release.
The GPS module leaves something to be desired. But perhaps it will gain that something before its release.

Communication & GPS

Anyone who wants to be equipped for the future with LTE reception will have to look elsewhere. The same goes for fans of the near-field communication “NFC”, because it is also not installed. Instead, we have HSPA as the quickest communication technology, dual-band reception in 3G mode and quad-band reception in 2G mode. The latter may be of particular interest to those who travel frequently, as the frequencies used in different countries often vary. The supported WLAN standards are 802.11 b/g/n. Here too, there is a new standard (802.11 ac) that is not integrated. The WLAN module’s reception fluctuates between ¾ and ½ at a distance of ten meters (~33 feet) and through three walls, which is acceptable.

The GPS module is not really convincing. On the balcony and two meters (~7 feet) away from the nearest house wall the smartphone can only find five satellites, which is not enough to determine the position. Indoors there is absolutely no reception.

The bad reception also shows in our proven comparison test with the navigation software by Garmin. We took a ride on the bicycle along a test track, which offers a variety of landscape characteristics. More precisely, here we have a small, dense forest and a bridge crossing with a subsequent S-curve. We used the fitness app Runtastic for this test.

Even the specialized device shows weaknesses in the forest, but our test sample showed that we went straight through it and also clearly off the actually traveled track. According to the Acer Liquid S1 we have obviously left the bridge next to us and went flying over the road. As soon as we deviate from a straight line, the location jumps in a zig-zag pattern. In short: the device does not seem to be appropriate for decent navigation, which is a pity considering the large display.

Acer Liquid S1: overview
Acer Liquid S1: overview
Acer Liquid S1: bridge
Acer Liquid S1: bridge
Acer Liquid S1: forest
Acer Liquid S1: forest
Garmin Edge 500: overview
Garmin Edge 500: overview
Garmin Edge 500: bridge
Garmin Edge 500: bridge
Garmin Edge 500: forest
Garmin Edge 500: forest

Telephone Function & Voice Quality

The telephone app has not been altered and is just the standard Android model. The app is intuitive to use and does not lack anything: organized lists for received, dialed and missed calls, quick access to your contact list, the number pad and speed dial. The dual SIM features are also useful.

If you have someone on the other end of the line, the voice quality is just average. You can hear a rustling in the connection and your conversation partner does not sound crystal clear on the Acer Liquid S1 either. Things are not much better over speakerphone, as the person on the other end is simply too quiet, even at maximum volume. The microphone also does not provide noiseless and clear calls, according to our test call partner, but is still alright.

Cameras & Multimedia

The Acer Liquid S1 has two cameras: the main camera on the back has a resolution of 8 megapixels and offers auto focus and an LED flash. While the auto focus does its job quite well, the pictures are rather disappointing. Regardless of the time of day, pictures appear to have a fog over them, and vibrant colors and good contrast are also lacking. This becomes clear from our landscape picture below. The scene picture is too bright, has mediocre colors and too little sharpness. In general, the problem comes from the too low brightness and the unpleasant noise, which increases as the ambient light decreases. Here, the test device falls behind the best smartphone cameras in the class. Our test sample cannot reach the image quality of the iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S4, neither the Nokia Lumia 920. The Acer Liquid S1 is not near the direct competitors such as the Samsung Galaxy Mega or the Huawei Ascend Mate.

The front camera’s pictures have a resolution of 2 megapixels. Color-wise, the pictures look better, but in general they are too dark. As with the pre-production mode, image quality from both cameras is satisfactory at best.

Acer Liquid S1 flower
Acer Liquid S1 flower
Acer Liquid S1 scene
Acer Liquid S1 scene
Acer Liquid S1 landscape
Acer Liquid S1 landscape
Apple iPhone 5 flower
Apple iPhone 5 flower
Apple iPhone 5 scene
Apple iPhone 5 scene
Apple iPhone 5 landscape
Apple iPhone 5 landscape
Nokia Lumia 920 flower
Nokia Lumia 920 flower
Nokia Lumia 920 scene
Nokia Lumia 920 scene
Nokia Lumia 920 landscape
Nokia Lumia 920 landscape
Samsung S4 flower
Samsung S4 flower
Samsung S4 scene
Samsung S4 scene
Samsung S4 landscape
Samsung S4 landscape
Sony A57 flower
Sony A57 flower
Sony A57 scene
Sony A57 scene
Sony A57 landscape
Sony A57 landscape

Accessories

As we already mentioned, each Acer Liquid S1 comes with a second back cover. You can then decide whether you would like the back to be black or white. Acer also offers a bundle with a leather flip cover and a digital stylus. Additional charge: 30 Euros (~$40).

Warranty

Like all Acer smartphones, the Acer Liquid comes with a 24-month warranty. There is no warranty extension available.

Input Devices & Operation

You can even type on the keyboard with two hands in landscape format.
You can even type on the keyboard with two hands in landscape format.

The keyboard is another area where we see that Acer did not tinker much with the Android 4.2 OS: it is also Google Android’s standard model. If you hold down the space key, you can bring up other input mode options. The phone supports speech recognition and Swype, a keyboard on which you simply “swipe” from letter to letter to form the words you want.

When it comes to the keyboard, the size of the 5.7-inch display is a clear advantage, since there is space to hit the keys with reliable accuracy. In landscape mode, the keys are so big that you can even type with two hands.

Another input option is the Acer speech recognition, which controls the shutter on the camera and brings up individual apps using previously set commands. It also functions quite reliably.

The touchscreen can be controlled with up to ten fingers or a stylus. Unfortunately, Acer has not included a stylus with the model, so we could not test out this function. The phablet reacts very well to finger input, and the display surface is comfortably smooth.

Display

The Acer Liquid S1’s 5.7-inch display has a resolution of 1280x720 pixels, which puts it on par with other phablets, like the Samsung Galaxy Mega and the Huawei Ascend Mate. In terms of brightness, both of S1’s competitors have high average brightness levels, with one even exceeding 500 cd/m² (Ascend Mate). At an average brightness of 412.6 cd/m², the Acer phablet's display is about 87 cd/m² behind the Ascend Mate and about 47 cd/m² darker than the pre-production model. But at such high numbers, this is hardly important and the S1’s display is still very bright. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is clearly trumped by our test sample, but this is mainly due to the OLED technology used by the competitors, which always seems to produce lower brightness levels. At 87% the illumination is also very even.

382
cd/m²
425
cd/m²
425
cd/m²
382
cd/m²
432
cd/m²
415
cd/m²
383
cd/m²
438
cd/m²
431
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 438 cd/m²
Average: 412.6 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 87 %
Center on Battery: 432 cd/m²
Black: 0.63 cd/m²
Contrast: 686:1

In terms of contrast and black levels, the Acer Liquid S1 falls considerably behind the competition. Still, we have to keep in mind that this is a pre-series model, so Acer may still change some of the display properties. In comparison to the pre-production model, unfortunately Acer has not changed anything on the display. On the contrary, the display of our test sample seems to be even slightly worse, but we ascribe that to production variance.

The Taiwanese manufacturer has goofed especially with the color saturation of the display. Almost all the colors deviate significantly from the reference color space, which is illustrated by a DeltaE of 8.54. This is one of the results of our analysis using a colorimeter and the CalMan software. In addition, there is now an extreme blue tint, which is especially noticeable in the lighter shades of gray. These discrepancies are less significant in everyday use. Even an all-white image shows only slight discoloration. The Acer Liquid S1 cannot come close to the competitors Samsung Galaxy Mega and Samsung Galaxy Note 3, but is on par with the Huawei Ascend Mate.

Color representation in the pre-production model deviates...
Color representation in the pre-production model deviates...
... just as much as in the production model.
... just as much as in the production model.
This is also evident from ...
This is also evident from ...
... the color saturation.
... the color saturation.
The Color Checker shows the average coverage of sRGB...
The Color Checker shows the average coverage of sRGB...
... and AdobeRGB color spaces.
... and AdobeRGB color spaces.
Color accuracy in the grayscale ...
Color accuracy in the grayscale ...
... has improved in the production model.
... has improved in the production model.
Outdoor use (cloudy)
Outdoor use (cloudy)

In principle, outdoor use is possible. Because the display is very reflective, nothing is visible on the screen in direct sunlight, even at the display’s highest brightness level. Thanks to the phablet’s reliable brightness sensor, in less bright environments the image produced is almost always optimal.

Viewing angle
Viewing angle

Acer has not worked on improving the viewing angles either. Although the content of the screen is still recognizable even from very steep angles, the colors are badly distorted. White spots, for instance, are tinted with a distinct yellow cast.

Performance

In comparison to the pre-production model, our test sample could not reach better performance results. The test scores in all benchmarks are very similar.

It is clear from the Acer Liquid S1’s performance comparison that it is not trying to be a high-end device, but rather a moderately priced middle-class device. For instance, compared with the Sony Xperia ZL, Sony’s flagship provides almost three times the processor power and 30% more system performance. The expensive Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is also in another league. Other phablets, like the Galaxy Mega or the Huawei Ascend Mate, are more or less on par when it comes to system performance.

In the benchmarks, our phablet’s 3D performance is weaker than all its competitors, but its gaming performance still proves to be quite respectable (see below).

Surfing the Internet is fun on the Acer Liquid A1, as pages load quickly and scrolling is usually smooth. In the synthetic benchmarks, the Liquid S1 usually comes in ahead; only the Galaxy Mega and the Xperia ZL do better here.

In the realm of memory access, the Acer Liquid reveals itself to be quite fast and often even on par with the Sony Xperia ZL. Only in random write does it trip up and fall behind all the rest of the competition.

All in all, the phablet’s performance scores are completely acceptable for a middle-class device and usually on the same level as the Galaxy Mega and Ascend Mate, both of which are tagged by their manufacturers with higher retail prices. A long load time for some games is unavoidable here, but you can surf and navigate very quickly and smoothly. This is also evident from our video in the Software section of this review.

AnTuTu Benchmark v3 - Total Score (sort by value)
Acer Liquid S1
15772 Points ∼44%
Huawei Ascend Mate
14746 Points ∼41% -7%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
13392 Points ∼37% -15%
Sony Xperia ZL
19942 Points ∼56% +26%
Simvalley SPX-12
6566 Points ∼18% -58%
Geekbench 2 - 32 Bit - Total Score (sort by value)
Acer Liquid S1
1641 Points ∼13%
Huawei Ascend Mate
1557 Points ∼13% -5%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
1907 Points ∼15% +16%
Sony Xperia ZL
2036 Points ∼16% +24%
Samsung Galaxy Note II GT-N7100
1896 Points ∼15% +16%
Simvalley SPX-12
925 Points ∼7% -44%
Linpack for Android
Single Thread (sort by value)
Acer Liquid S1
72.835 MFLOPS ∼11%
Huawei Ascend Mate
46.73 MFLOPS ∼7% -36%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
171.088 MFLOPS ∼25% +135%
Sony Xperia ZL
227.808 MFLOPS ∼33% +213%
Samsung Galaxy Note II GT-N7100
64.8 MFLOPS ∼10% -11%
Simvalley SPX-12
39.6 MFLOPS ∼6% -46%
Multi Thread (sort by value)
Acer Liquid S1
149.263 MFLOPS ∼14%
Huawei Ascend Mate
117.211 MFLOPS ∼11% -21%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
298.525 MFLOPS ∼27% +100%
Sony Xperia ZL
587.689 MFLOPS ∼54% +294%
Samsung Galaxy Note II GT-N7100
202.1 MFLOPS ∼18% +35%
Simvalley SPX-12
64.3 MFLOPS ∼6% -57%
3DMark (2013) - 1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
Acer Liquid S1
3878 Points ∼3%
Huawei Ascend Mate
4232 Points ∼3% +9%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
5284 Points ∼4% +36%
Sony Xperia ZL
8971 Points ∼6% +131%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Acer Liquid S1
3.4 fps ∼1%
Huawei Ascend Mate
22 fps ∼3% +547%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
6.2 fps ∼1% +82%
Sony Xperia ZL
13 fps ∼2% +282%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Acer Liquid S1
5.9 fps ∼10%
Huawei Ascend Mate
35 fps ∼58% +493%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
10 fps ∼17% +69%
Sony Xperia ZL
13 fps ∼22% +120%
Peacekeeper - --- (sort by value)
Acer Liquid S1
702 Points ∼11%
Huawei Ascend Mate
495 Points ∼8% -29%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
608 Points ∼10% -13%
Sony Xperia ZL
386 Points ∼6% -45%
Simvalley SPX-12
456 Points ∼7% -35%
Vellamo Mobile Benchmark 2.0
Metal (sort by value)
Acer Liquid S1
496 Points ∼28%
Huawei Ascend Mate
463 Points ∼26% -7%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
680 Points ∼38% +37%
Sony Xperia ZL
627 Points ∼35% +26%
Simvalley SPX-12
378 Points ∼21% -24%
HTML5 (sort by value)
Acer Liquid S1
1691 Points ∼54%
Huawei Ascend Mate
1646 Points ∼53% -3%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
1990 Points ∼64% +18%
Sony Xperia ZL
2194 Points ∼71% +30%
Simvalley SPX-12
1150 Points ∼37% -32%
AndroBench 3
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Acer Liquid S1
49.05 MB/s ∼29%
Huawei Ascend Mate
35.25 MB/s ∼21% -28%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
49.79 MB/s ∼30% +2%
Sony Xperia ZL
48.71 MB/s ∼29% -1%
Samsung Galaxy Note II GT-N7100
29.66 MB/s ∼18% -40%
Simvalley SPX-12
26.15 MB/s ∼16% -47%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Acer Liquid S1
8.18 MB/s ∼14%
Huawei Ascend Mate
7.43 MB/s ∼13% -9%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
7.48 MB/s ∼13% -9%
Sony Xperia ZL
13.55 MB/s ∼23% +66%
Samsung Galaxy Note II GT-N7100
7.32 MB/s ∼13% -11%
Simvalley SPX-12
5.4 MB/s ∼9% -34%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Acer Liquid S1
12.2 MB/s ∼58%
Huawei Ascend Mate
6.75 MB/s ∼32% -45%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
9.3 MB/s ∼44% -24%
Sony Xperia ZL
11.65 MB/s ∼56% -5%
Samsung Galaxy Note II GT-N7100
7.74 MB/s ∼37% -37%
Simvalley SPX-12
8.66 MB/s ∼41% -29%
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Acer Liquid S1
0.32 MB/s ∼11%
Huawei Ascend Mate
0.5 MB/s ∼17% +56%
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
0.38 MB/s ∼13% +19%
Sony Xperia ZL
1.12 MB/s ∼38% +250%
Samsung Galaxy Note II GT-N7100
0.56 MB/s ∼19% +75%
Simvalley SPX-12
0.63 MB/s ∼22% +97%

Legend

 
Acer Liquid S1 Mediatek MT6589, PowerVR SGX544, 8 GB SSD
 
Huawei Ascend Mate HiSilicon k3v2 Hi3620, Vivante GC4000, 8 GB SSD
 
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200 Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 8930AB, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 8 GB SSD
 
Sony Xperia ZL Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064A, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 16 GB SSD
 
Samsung Galaxy Note II GT-N7100 Samsung Exynos 4412 Quad, ARM Mali-400 MP4, 16 GB SSD
 
Simvalley SPX-12 MediaTek MT6577, PowerVR SGX531, 3 GB NAND Flash

Games

The large display simply invites you to play games on it. The rather demanding 3D game “Iron Man 3” does run smoothly. However, loading times are quite long. The touchscreen and tilt sensor controls also work very well. Of course, simpler games, like “Angry Birds: Star Wars”, run just as smoothly.

Complex 3D games, like...
Complex 3D games, like...
..."Iron Man 3" run smoothly.
..."Iron Man 3" run smoothly.
Angry Birds: Star Wars 2
Angry Birds: Star Wars 2

Emissions

Temperature

Here, Acer has managed to reduce the pre-production model's high temperature of 40oC in idle. The device now heats up to a maximum of 37.1oC, so the phablet is not as hot when idling. On average, it reaches 30oC at the bottom and 32oC on the top side.

Under load the production model also does not develop excessive temperatures. Values of maximum 38.5oC were reached occasionally, while the average surface temperature remained around 32oC. The bottom half of the device, which is usually where it is held when used, remains in the comfortable temperature ranges even under full load. The Acer Liquid S1 is therefore ideal for everyday use.

Max. Load
 36.1 °C30.5 °C30.2 °C 
 37.8 °C31.0 °C33.7 °C 
 33.7 °C29.8 °C31.1 °C 
Maximum: 37.8 °C
Average: 32.7 °C
28.0 °C29.4 °C38.2 °C
27.9 °C28.6 °C38.5 °C
28.0 °C29.5 °C36.7 °C
Maximum: 38.5 °C
Average: 31.6 °C
Power Supply (max.)  36.5 °C | Room Temperature 21.2 °C | Voltcraft IR-350

Speaker

The speaker on the backside of the device proudly flaunts the "dts" logo above the holes in the plastic back cover. The fact that the speaker is located on the backside is not a drawback, since the speaker resonates through the entire case. It produces a good sound, even if bass tones are underrepresented, of course. High and mid-tones are nicely balanced and the maximum volume is loud enough, though only if you are listening to music or watching a film, because phone calls sound too quiet.

The dts software offers various settings, but even without audio enhancements, the speaker produces a very good sound. When you activate the various options, the sound becomes even fuller.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

At a maximum of 1.9 W in idle mode, the Acer Liquid S1 consumes even less energy than the pre-production model and is now on roughly the same level as the Samsung Galaxy Mega. The phablet Huawei Ascend Mate draws even more energy than the Liquid S1. At a maximum of 3.7 Watts under load, the Acer phablet takes the first place, while the Huawei Ascend Mate consumes a whole 7 W more! That should set us up for respectable battery run times, right?

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.2 / 0.3 Watt
Idle 0.7 / 1.7 / 1.9 Watt
Load 3.1 / 3.7 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

The lithium-ion battery in our production model is rated at 9.12 Wh and falls behind Samsung's Galaxy Mega and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (each with 12.16 Wh) and Huawei's Ascend Mate (~16 Wh). Suddenly, the low energy consumption values do not predict as good running times.

A battery run time of 3:22 hours under load is still a respectable score. However, if you are doing something that does not require quite so much power, such as surfing the web via WLAN, the device does in fact run out of juice considerably faster than its competitors: after about 7 hours, the lights go out. Huawei's phablet lasts about 5 hours more, the Samsung Galaxy Mega manages about 2 hours more. The long distance runner Samsung Galaxy Note 3 remains far ahead with 18 hours. The Acer Liquid S1 holds a maximum of 11:25 hours and falls behind the competition here as well. A full charge while the device is turned off takes about 2 hours.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
11h 25min
WiFi Surfing
7h 05min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 22min

Verdict

Overall, Acer can be proud of the Liquid S1: it has a chic design, great additions to the Android system and a more than competitive price. The device is also light, comfortable to hold and features high-quality manufacturing. A second back cover costs a lot by other manufacturers, but Acer has included one in the box. The built-in speaker is not bad either and in combination with the large IPS display makes the Acer into a great pocket cinema.

The wonky back cover of the pre-production model is gone, but the less than optimally tuned display and the short battery life, compared to device's size, have been carried over to the production model. Nonetheless, the Acer Liquid S1 is bright and the screen has a subjectively good image.

Competitors, such as the Samsung Galaxy Mega should watch out: for 250 Euros less (~$335), Acer offers a somewhat smaller, but just as powerful device. The Liquid S1 could indeed turn out to be liquid gold for Acer.

In Review: Acer Liquid S1. Test device courtesy of Acer.
In Review: Acer Liquid S1. Test device courtesy of Acer.
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In Review: Acer Liquid S1. Test device courtesy of Acer.
In Review: Acer Liquid S1. Test device courtesy of Acer.

Specifications

Acer Liquid S1

:: Processor
:: Memory
1024 MB
:: Graphics adapter
:: Display
5.7 inch 16:9, 1280x720 pixel, capacitive, IPS LCD, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
8 GB SSD, 8 GB , 5.5 GB free
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm audio jack, Card Reader: Micro SD up to 64 GB, Sensors: GPS, aGPS, Light sensor, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Digital compass, Dual-SIM
:: Networking
802.11 b/g/n (b g n ), 4.0 LE Bluetooth, 3G: HSPA, Dualband / 2G: Quadband
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 9.6 x 163 x 83
:: Weight
0.195 kg Power Supply: 0.048 kg
:: Battery
9.12 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 2400 mAh, 3.8 V, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 11 h, Standby 3G (according to manufacturer): 450 h
:: Price
349 Euro
:: Operating System
Android 4.2
:: Additional features
Webcam: Rear: 8 MP with autofocus, f2.0, LED flash, 1080p video, Front: 2 MP, f2.2, 720p video, Speakers: Built-in mono speaker, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, Keyboard Light: yes, Switchable back cover, Available as bundle: 2 flipcovers, Input stylus, Acer Shell 5.7, Acer Float UI, Acer Cloud, Acer Music, Acer Photo, Acer Video, Acer HD Channel, Skitch, Youtube, Moodagent, Acer Docs, Acer Remote Files, Acer Print, Polaris Office, Swype Keyboard, Google Keep, Evernote, Acer Easy Hotspot, ..., 24 Months Warranty, Wireless Display

 

In the chic package...
In the chic package...
... Acer supplies the Liquid S1 with two back covers - a black and a white one.
... Acer supplies the Liquid S1 with two back covers - a black and a white one.
On the outside, the Acer Liquid S1 is very attractive.
On the outside, the Acer Liquid S1 is very attractive.
The touch buttons are also nicely designed.
The touch buttons are also nicely designed.
The benchmark AnTuTu confirms it: the Acer Liquid S1 has an IPS display with 320 PPI.
The benchmark AnTuTu confirms it: the Acer Liquid S1 has an IPS display with 320 PPI.
The back cover has an anti-skid coating and can be removed.
The back cover has an anti-skid coating and can be removed.
Also on the back: an 8 megapixel camera with mediocre picture quality.
Also on the back: An Also on the back: an 8 megapixel camera with mediocre picture quality.8 megapixel camera - with mediocre picture quality.
The images look like they've been covered with a veil.
The images look like they've been covered with a veil.
Underneath: two SIM slots.
Underneath: two SIM slots.
If you take off the back, you'll first find the battery.
If you take off the back, you'll first find the battery.
At 2400 mAh or 9.12 Wh, the battery's resources are limited.
At 2400 mAh or 9.12 Wh, the battery's resources are limited.
With its dts support, the speaker sounds very full.
With its dts support, the speaker sounds very full.
Apps can be launched in multi-tasking mode, though only a few.
Apps can be launched in multi-tasking mode, though only a few.
The phone app can also be launched in its own floating window.
The phone app can also be launched in its own floating window.
Otherwise Android is hardly changed.
Otherwise Android is hardly changed.
The phablet is powered by latest Android 4.2.2 version.
The phablet is powered by latest Android 4.2.2 version.
Acer Cloud is another cloud service like Google Drive.
Acer Cloud is another cloud service like Google Drive.
Good: The automatic profiles. You can delineate areas using GPS and then choose a profile for the phone to switch to in each pre-defined area.
Good: The automatic profiles. You can delineate areas using GPS and then choose a profile for the phone to switch to in each pre-defined area.
There's a myriad of options to choose from here.
There's a myriad of options to choose from here.
You can choose the normal Android keyboard...
You can choose the normal Android keyboard...
...or Swype, a different keyboard with more input options.
...or Swype, a different keyboard with more input options.
The benchmark Geekbench 3 reveals the internal model designation Acer S510.
The benchmark Geekbench 3 reveals the internal model designation Acer S510.

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Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Price Comparison

Pro

+Chic design
+Good workmanship
+Bright display
+Low energy consumption
+Good performance scores
 

Cons

-Little internal storage space
-Poorly tuned monitor
-Short battery life
-Bad camera

Shortcut

What we like

That Acer developed useful additions to the software and offer a lot of accessories.

What we'd like to see

A bigger battery and a more accurately tuned display.

What surprises us

How fast you get used to the bigger screen.

The competition

Samsung Galaxy Mega, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Huawei Ascend Mate

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review Acer Liquid S1 Phablet Update
Author: Florian Wimmer, 2013-08-23 (Update: 2013-11- 8)