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      11.09.2011 00:03
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      Great bargain smartphone which performs well

      Phones aren't always reliable. I found that out to my misery when my HTC Desire HD suddenly and randomly decided to give up the ghost recently.

      Unfortunately, after selling or recycling all of my older phones, I had no backup, and faced with a lengthy wait for the phone to be repaired - I needed to buy myself something to keep me going.

      I really didn't want to splash out big bucks, but at the same time, I didn't want to buy something flimsy and cheap, which had little in the way of features - It also needed to be sim-free so that I could use it in future with any sim card. After a quick search, I stumbled across a great deal on the Acer Liquid Mt. At £149.99 for a sim-free Android smartphone, this was an offer that was going to be hard to pass up.

      While I was aware of Acer's computer range, I hadn't realised that they made phones - so I decided to do a little research into the Liquid Mt. I really couldn't believe it as I read through the specification list - this phone, despite it's price, packed a big punch and had most of the features that my previous Desire HD had.

      Unfortunately, two areas where the Acer falls short when compared to the Desire HD are the screen and camera. It was always going to be difficult for the Acer to match up to an HTC Desire or Iphone's performance in this area, but unfortunately the Acer falls quite short. While the 5-megapixel camera isn't exactly bad, it isn't exactly great either and certainly doesn't produce the image quality that you'd expect. It's hard to put a finger on it, but the images just don't feel as crisp and colourful as they should be. The screen is another minus point for the Acer - again, it's never going to match up to the gigantic screen of the Desire HD - but it just feels a little on the small side for an Android phone and could have done with a little extra height and width. Touch sensitivity is okay, but could be a little better too. The screen also seems to be something of a fingerprint magnet and as a result, it can look fairly grubby if you don't wipe it down now and again.

      Okay, bad points out of the way. So far, after a few days use I've been pretty impressed with this little phone.

      Aesthetically, the phone is quite pleasing on the eye and the curved, but sharp surfaces make this little phone look great. A gloss piano black front is teamed up with a stylish and robust aluminum backing. The phone is small and compact (although slightly thick) and a similar size to a more convential phone rather than a traditional smartphone. While in some ways this is a bonus, the screen size suffers as a result.

      The power button is placed on the top of the phone and is easy to access and press in while hidden LEDs are also placed strategically along the top and appear on occasion to indicate certain functions such as battery status and new message alert.

      Performance wise, the phone is fairly good and performs all the phones functions more than adequately. It's not quite as fast as the Desire HD I'm used to, but it's hard to notice much of a difference in day-to-day usage.

      The phone comes loaded with Android 2.2 and Acer has included it's own Breeze Interface onto the phone. While the Acer interface is fairly good - I still find the stock Android UI much better. Thankfully, and unlike other smartphones, Acer has left an option in the phone settings to switch between these two UI's - A handy option.

      Call quality is pretty good and the noise cancelling microphone feature is very useful, especially if you work in a noisy environment - it ensures that the person on the other end of the phone isn't constantly shouting 'WHAT?!' down the other end of the phone.

      Battery life is somewhat typical of the modern smartphone. If you use your phone moderately, then expect a charge to last a day and a bit. Charging and sync is by USB.

      While this phone may not win any 'phone of the year' awards, it could quite easily challenge for 'bargain smartphone of the year'. Big smartphone features at an affordable price - and I'm hoping that it'll make for a great backup when my Desire HD is repaired.

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