Acer Announces Three New Android Phones, One Windows Phone At MWC 2015

At the Mobile World Congress 2015, happening this week in Barcelona, Spain, Acer announced four new smartphones, including three Androids and the company's first Windows Phone device since the Windows Phone 7 running Acer W4 from 2011. At this time, none of these phones are slated for a North America release, but that could change in the future.

The top-end device Acer demonstrated was the Liquid Jade Z, which is a similar phone to the Liquid Jade S shown at CES 2015. Both are five-inch screen devices that visually look identical, other than the Z's new smoother "silk" finish on its back. It is in the internal specifications that the differences are found; Acer defines the Z phones as entry-level devices, so the Jade Z is a budget version of the Jade S.

The Jade S is a €299 mid-range flagship phone with a MediaTek MT6752M 64-bit octa-core SoC, which sports eight ARM Cortex-A53 CPUs and a Mali T760 GPU. The Jade S also has 16 GB of storage and 2 GB of RAM. The new Liquid Jade Z is €199 and is powered by the slower MediaTek MT6732 64-bit quad-core SoC, which has four ARM Cortex-A53 CPUs and a Mali T760 GPU. Acer says customers can expect approximately 30 percent lower performance from this chip. Other than the SoC differences, the new Jade Z also only has 8 GB of storage and 1 GB of RAM.

However, other than those internal differences the S and Z are identical. Both have 5-inch HD Zero Air Gap IPS screens that use Gorilla Glass 3, and both have 13MP f/1.8 cameras on the back and 5MP cameras upfront. They both support LTE; both have Acer's unique dual-SIM and microSD combination slot, and both have 2,300 mAh non-removable batteries.

Like the Jade S, the Jade Z will also come with Android 4.4 Kit Kat, with a promised upgrade to Lollipop later in Q2 2015. Acer explained that the reason the Jade Z won't ship with Lollipop is that MediaTek SoCs don't currently support Android 5.0 but will very soon. Apparently, not soon enough for the Jade Z's release.

We got a chance to look at the Jade Z and found it to be a well-made reasonably attractive but ultimately unexciting mid-range phone. The €100 price delta between the Z and S, even though they look almost identical, is in line with the Z's SoC performance difference and lower storage and RAM specs. The Acer Liquid Jade Z will be released in Europe in March in white and black.

The other two phones being announced continue the trend of being lower-end devices, with one of them having a slightly confusing higher model number than a product announced at CES. At CES, Acer announced the €129 Liquid Z410 that was a 4.5-inch qHD-screen, MediaTek MT6732-powered LTE phone. Now at MWC 2015, Acer is targeting an even lower class of phones and has announced the Liquid Z220 and Liquid Z520.

The Z220 is a 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon 200 powered Android smartphone with a four-inch TN WVGA display. It has a 5MP (with flash) rear and 2MP front-facing cameras. It also has 8 GB of storage and 1 GB of RAM, a microSD slot and a removable 1,300 mAh battery.

However, despite being one of Acer's lowest-end phones, it has the distinction of being the first Acer phone to come with Android 5.0 Lollipop, since it has a Qualcomm SoC that can run Android 5.0.

At €89, it undercuts the new Moto E as one of the cheapest Android Lollipop phones, but with the Z220 you are getting a smaller lower-resolution screen, and it is only 3G. It is coming out in March.

The Z520 is a step-up from the Z220 with a bigger five-inch IPS FWVGA display. However, despite being an IPS panel, it does not have a Zero Air Gap display, which does impact viewing angles considerably. It has a better 8MP rear camera that can be voice-activated, a removable 2,000 mAh battery and a microSD slot, which are important features to many of our readers.

Like the Z220, it has 8 GB of storage and 1 GB of RAM. However, it does not use a Qualcomm SoC; instead, it runs a 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7 quad-core 32-bit MediaTek MT6582 SoC. This means it can't run Lollipop (yet), so it comes with KitKat. The Z520 is €109 and will be released in Europe in April.

The last device is the Liquid M220, which is a Windows Phone 8.1 version of the same hardware as the Z220 mentioned above. It has the same four- inch WVGA TN display, 5MP camera (with flash) at the back and 2MP at the front, removable 1,300 mAh battery and uses a Snapdragon 200 SoC. It does, unfortunately, only have 4 GB of storage and 512 MB of RAM.

Acer also announced that M220 will have "future upgradeability to Windows Phone 10." There is a catch, though. While nothing is official since Microsoft still needs to release more information, Acer told us the Windows Phone 10 running on a device with such a small amount of RAM may be missing some features. The M220 will be available in April in white and black for €79.

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  • ZolaIII
    Performance difference between MT6732 & MT6752 in real use is about 12% & if you by any chance become octopus & start operate phone with 4 displays it would rise up. GPU performance is actually around 33%. Interesting enough MT6732 have same real use performance as Snapdragon 615, wile same goes for GPU. Sorry Acer GB of RAM & 8GB storage simply don't fit to needs anymore & you have to change design as it's two years behind.
  • Mike Coberly
    For those who are curious:
    Early displays were based on the old PC standard of the Video Graphics Array (VGA) resolution. They are VGA 640 x 480, QVGA 320 x 240, HVGA 480 x 320, WVGA 800 x 480, and FWVGA 854 x 480. Q stands for quarter, H for half, W for wide, FW for full wide.
  • falchard
    They look like copies of other phones and don't stand out at all. Best move on Acer's part would be to embrace Windows Phone instead of competing in a competitive market. Everyone knows with Cell Phones you need a name, and Acer is not a name people think of Android. It is a name people think of when attributed to Windows.