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Acer Debuts Entry-Level Android, Windows 10 Mobile Phones at IFA

Acer has two tiers of its Liquid smartphones. The Liquid Jade series are its higher-end handsets, though when compared to other vendors, they would be considered mid-range. The Liquid Z and M series are its entry-level phones, with the Z's being Android-powered and the M's being Windows-powered.

After recently announcing two phones that we saw earlier in the year at Mobile World Congress for the U.S. market, the Liquid Jade Z and Liquid Z410, Acer has followed up by announcing six entry-level Liquid phones at IFA. Keep in mind that none of these phones are currently slated to come to North America, but that could change.

Although there are six models, technically there are really only four phones, as two of the models are just the same devices with either Android or Windows 10 Mobile installed. It is also good to still see some strong support from Acer for Windows Phone. After many of the other larger OEMs (Samsung, HTC, LG) have seemingly abandoned Microsoft's mobile platform, Acer has kept the Windows torch burning instead of just leaving the platform to Microsoft itself and smaller OEMs like Blu.

It is also good to see that all the Android devices are finally running Lollipop; at MWC, Acer was still offering devices on Android KitKat. A couple of new software features it is highlighting at IFA include the new BluelightShield app that controls the blue light output from this screen. This kind of light can disrupt sleeping patterns when viewed late a night, and it's important to take into consideration the health implications of extended mobile technology use. Acer is also now including manual controls in its camera apps, which is a surprise feature on entry-level phones such as these.

Liquid Z630/Z630S

ProductLiquid Z630Liquid Z630S
Display5.5-inch Zero Air Gap IPS LCD @1280 x 7205.5-inch Zero Air Gap IPS LCD @ 1280 x 720
SoCMediaTek MT6735MediaTek MT6753
CPU Core1.3 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A531.3 GHz octa-core ARM Cortex-A53
GPU CoreMali-T720 MP2 @ 600 MHzMali-T720 MP3 @ 700 MHz
Memory2 GB LPDDR33 GB LPDDR3
Storage16 GB, microSD32 GB, microSD
Battery4,000 mAh, removable4,000 mAh, removable
Front Camera8 MP, wide angle lens, 1080p video8 MP, wide angle lens, 1080p video
Rear Camera8 MP, auto-focus8 MP, auto-focus
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, Cat4 LTE, USB 2.0Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, Cat4 LTE, USB 2.0
OSAndroid 5.1 with Acer Liquid UIAndroid 5.1 with Acer Liquid UI
MaterialsPlasticPlastic
Color OptionsBlack, SilverBlack with Gold accents
Size & Weight156.3 x 77.5 x 8.9 mm, 165g156.3 x 77.5 x 8.9 mm, 165g
Price€199 ($225 USD)TBA

The Liquid Z630 is the highest phone to be announced this week, and it's an entry-level phablet. As you can see, it comes in two flavors, the quad-core powered Z630 and the faster octo-core Z630S. Unfortunately, Acer did not specify the exact MediaTek SoC being used by the 'S' model, but we are guessing it is the same MT6752M found in the previously-launched Liquid Jade S. The Z630S is pictured at the top of this article.

These phones have 5.5-inch 720p screens, so don't expect them to be particularly crisp, but let's hope they are at least bright and color accurate. Acer was a little light on the rest of the specs, but we are expecting to see microSD slots on both these phones, as it is a feature found through Acer's phone range. The enormous 4,000 mAh battery in conjunction with the lower-end SoC and HD screen should give these phones incredible battery life.

The Acer Liquid Z630 launches in September for €199 ($225 USD). Acer did not indicate when the faster Z630S will launch.

Liquid Z530/Z530S

ProductLiquid Z530Liquid Z530S
Display5-inch Zero Air Gap IPS LCD @1280 x 7205-inch Zero Air Gap IPS LCD @1280 x 720
SoCMediaTek MT6735MediaTek MT6753
CPU Core1.3 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A531.3 GHz octa-core ARM Cortex-A53
GPU CoreMali-T720 MP2 @ 600 MHzMali-T720 MP3 @ 700 MHz
Memory1 GB or 2 GB LPDDR3 (market dependent)3 GB LPDDR3
Storage8 GB or 16 GB, microSD (market dependent)32 GB, microSD
Battery2,420mAh, removable2,420mAh, removable
Front Camera8 MP, 84-degree wide angle lens,1080p video8 MP, 84-degree wide angle lens,1080p video
Rear Camera8 MP, auto-focus8 MP, auto-focus
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, Cat4 LTE, USB 2.0Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, Cat4 LTE, USB 2.0
OSAndroid 5.1 with Acer Liquid UIAndroid 5.1 with Acer Liquid UI
MaterialsPlasticPlastic
Color OptionsBlack, WhiteBlack with Gold accents
Size & Weight144 x 70.3 x 8.9 mm, 145g144 x 70.3 x 8.9 mm, 145g
Price€149 ($170 USD)TBA

The Liquid Z530 is a 5-inch screen version of the Z630. The SoC and other features are basically the same, and there is also an "S" model (not pictured) with a faster octo-core MediaTek chip. However, depending on the market, the Z530 will either come with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage or 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. Again, there is no mention of a microSD slot in the material given to us, but we assume there is one present. Acer also did not specify the battery capacity of this smaller device, but expect it to be at least half the size.

Acer is pushing this phone as the perfect entry-level selfie phone, and the 8 MP front-facing camera with an 84-degree lens should help with that. The Z530 will start at €149 ($170 USD) and comes out in Europe in October.

Liquid Z330/M330 and Z320/M320

ProductLiquid Z330/M330Liquid Z320/M320
Display4.5-inch FWVGA IPS LCD @ 854 x 4804.5-inch FWVGA IPS LCD @ 854 x 480
SoCSnapdragon 210 (MS 8909)Qualcomm MSM 8209
CPU Core1.1 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A71.1 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A7
GPU CoreAdreno 304Adreno 304
Memory1 GB1 GB
Storage8 GB, microSD8 GB, microSD
Battery2,000 mAh, removable2,000 mAh, removable
Front Camera5 MP2 MP
Rear Camera5 MP5 MP
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, Cat4 LTE, USB 2.0Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, 3G, USB 2.0
OSZ330: Android 5.1 with Acer Liquid UIM330: Windows 10 MobileZ320: Android 5.1 with Acer Liquid UIM320: Windows 10 Mobile
MaterialsPlasticPlastic
Color OptionsBlack, WhiteBlack, White
Size & Weight136 x 66.5 x 9.6 mm, 142g136 x 66.5 x 9.6 mm, 142g
Price€129 ($145 USD)TBA

This quartet of base-model phones all use the same basic chassis and have 4.5-inch 854 x 480 displays. Although, as we mentioned, it's good to see that Acer is offering Windows 10 Mobile devices, it is a little disappointing to see this OS only available on such basic phones. However, this does seem to be the Windows Phone's current lot in life, and it will be up to Microsoft to reignite the interest in having this OS on something more powerful.

As for the rest of the specs of these phones, the main differences between the 330's and the 320's are the SoC -- quad-core vs. dual core. The 320 phones also don't have LTE, just 3G connectivity. Acer did not specify the battery capacity, or if there will be a microSD slot. The latter should be expected, and you may also find that these base models have removable batteries, as the older base-model Z220 and M220 did.

There isn't much else to say about these bare-bones devices, but at €129 ($145 USD) that is to be expected. The Android Z330 comes out in Europe in October, and the M330 when Microsoft officially launches Windows 10 Mobile. Acer did not provide pricing and release information about the Z320 and M320.

Update, 9/02/15, 12:45pm PT: We have updated and corrected some of the specs for these new phones. The ‘S’ versions of the Z530 and Z630 do not use the octo-core MT6752M SoC, but the slower MT6753. This chip uses the Mali-T720 MP3 GPU, not the T760. We also added the battery capacity for the Z530, Z330/320 and M330/320. All these phones have replaceable batteries. Lastly, we added their weights.

Update 2, 9/02/15, 5:15pm PT: Acer has confirmed to us that all these phones have microSD slots.

Alex Davies is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware and Tom's IT Pro, covering Smartphones, Tablets, and Virtual Reality. You can follow him on Twitter. Follow Tom's Hardware on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

  • ohim
    After being a long time Android user and now a new Windows Phone user ( Lumia 930) i can tell you that windows phone is not getting the attention that they should. The OS is blazing fast, the phones work great no matter the version and the Tile system that i initially kinda hated it i got to love it and find it better than the Android screen.
    Reply
  • back_by_demand
    It's such a shame that WP only gets put on low spec hardware, leading some people to think WP itself is rubbish. If you had WP on the same hardware as a Samsung S6 it would be awesome. The Nokia 930 is amazing and I can't wait for the 950, others should follow suit, hoping HTC will come back to the OS that made their name.
    Reply
  • scolaner
    It's such a shame that WP only gets put on low spec hardware, leading some people to think WP itself is rubbish. If you had WP on the same hardware as a Samsung S6 it would be awesome. The Nokia 930 is amazing and I can't wait for the 950, others should follow suit, hoping HTC will come back to the OS that made their name.

    I actually think that Microsoft is playing the long game here. WP has been on really high-end hardware -- and sold effectively ziltch. Part of the reason for the mid- and low-end WP is because MSFT is building up market share in areas where there's demand -- developing nations, as well as in parts of Europe, where they told me WP actually has double-digit market share.

    I think they're hoping to 1) sell more WP phones this way and 2) hopefully build up demand for the platform that could trickle up into more established markets that are vulnerable to iOS and Android fatigue.
    Reply
  • bourgeoisdude
    "WP has been on really high-end hardware -- and sold effectively ziltch. Part of the reason for the mid- and low-end WP is because MSFT is building up market share in areas where there's demand -- developing nations, as well as in parts of Europe, where they told me WP actually has double-digit market share."

    I think another one of the reasons at least here in the States is that none of the high end hardware has been multi-carrier. I'm hoping Lumia 950 will be available on all four major carriers here. Also, there's so much fragmentation in the Lumia line it's ridiculous, especially with such relatively small demand in the states. Just release three lines: low end, midrange, and high end. No reason to have 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, and 1000 range Lumias.
    Reply
  • Shad_Van
    I have had a Lumia 920 since it was released. It has been 100% rock solid. Im looking at the 950 XL when it is released. I would have bought a 930 except it was only available with Verizon. there are 4 things that are kill WP in the market place.

    1. carrier exclusivity. when the 920 came out it was only on ATT and the 930 was only available on Verizon. I would have upgraded but ATT has better coverage in my area and I was not willing to change carriers.

    2. lack of apps. some of this will change with WP 10. but they need to do more to entice developers to the platform. I would suggest creating a limited version of Visual Studio that only does universal apps and giving it away for free. also Apple and Google take a big chunk of money that devs make from app sales on their app stores. I would also suggest that they take a smaller cut. if devs can make more money off windows apps than apple/google apps, they will be more inclined to develop for the WP platform, especially now universal apps will run on the win 10 desktop as well.

    3. patching and upgrades sucks and should not be left to the carriers. take a page from apple and make phone updates part of windows update. the 8.1 upgrade took months to get from ATT on my old Samsung. in fact the lumia 920 launch before my Samsung finally got the 8.1 update.

    4. high end hardware. the 920 and 930 were fairly high end when they launched. Microsoft needs to keep pace with the current hardware and release a new high end phone at least once a year. again take a page from apple and Samsung.

    one other feature that I would love to have is the ability to join the phone to a domain and apply group policy's to manage it. that way I could assign which apps and tiles were available to users of the phones in a corporate environment and which apps they could install. tie it with something like system center config manager as a remote management tool. it would allow enterprises to get rid of things like mobile iron , air watch and BES.

    Reply
  • falchard
    I also hate Carrier exclusivity it should have been done away with by Microsoft. They have released more Windows Phones. There is the HTC One W8, probably the best you can do right now with Windows Phone.
    I think their strategy is sound, but like Shad_Van said. They need stronger corporate environment integration. They key to making the OS successful will be Businesses latching onto it. Both Android and iOS are poor choices for business use. Windows Phone is far superior in usability aspects to get things done. It also has a better base for creating software. Once business people get used to the OS, they will have a hard time using a different OS in their leisure. Much like how Windows OS beat out Macintosh.
    Microsoft does release a free light version of Visual Studio.
    Reply
  • CosmasTK
    Apparently this article was posted prior to the Liquid Jade Primo announcement. A nice 21 mp/ 8 mp sd808 super AMOLED windows phone that comes with continuum hookup keyboard and mouse. Looks fault nice and is the first higher end officially announced. Kudos to Acer
    Reply