Hands on with the new Acer Liquid Z2 smartphone

BARCELONAAcer announced a new phone here at Mobile World Congress, its latest entrant into the budget phone trend we’ve seen here in Barcelona.

In general terms, the phones and tablets on display at MWC 2013 have roughly the same form factors, feature sets, and user environments. No real game changing products to speak of, with a few possible exceptions.

Rather, the phone makers are pushing the features of their marquee phones and tablets down into lower-priced models, with varying levels of success. And the Acer Liquid Z2 is case in point.

The Liquid Z's 3.5-inch touchscreen looks colorful and vibrant. Herre's the view in Quick Mode.

The Liquid Z retains the Android Jelly Bean operating system used in more expensive phones, but runs only a single 1GHz processor that struggles to keep up with movements of the OS.

The 3.5-inch touchscreen looks colorful and vibrant but its responsiveness to my gestures seemed sluggish.

Typing on the phone's keyboard is easy and accurate.

The front screen contains an icon labeled Quick Mode, which leads to a simple page containing the apps and settings you use most often. I don’t see why you couldn’t just put all of this stuff on one of your home screens and access it with just a swipe. Worse, you can’t get out of Quick Mode buy clicking the Home button at the bottom of the phone—odd.

Acer Liquid Z2 in profile.

The phone will come with either a 3- or 5-megapixel camera. The photos I shot with the 3-megapixel phone were nothing special. The features I found in camera mode were limited to the basics.

Typing on the phone was surprisingly easy. I held the phone in portrait orientation and typed using the small keys. With that, I was able to compose a message quickly with no errors.

The small size and curved back of the phone worked for me, although the phone lacked the heft that you find in more expensive models. The phone's outer shell seemed a little plasticky

The phone will go on sale in Europe first, with the UK and US to follow. No prices have been announced, but the phone will likely sell in the neighborhood of $150 without a contract.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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