REVIEW: Acer Liquid C1 with Intel Atom Processor is Disappointed

ACER Liquid C1 i110 browser loads LiewCF website

ACER Liquid C1 i110 browser loads LiewCF website

Acer Liquid C1 is the first smartphone in Malaysia powered by Intel Atom processor (Z2420 “Lexington”). It is a mid-range smartphoen with retail price RM999 (~USD329). I was curious about “Intel Inside” smartphone, thus I loaned a unit of Acer Liquid C1 for this blog review.

Does Intel Inside make the smartphone fly? Are Android apps compatible? Is it worth to buy? Read on for my review to find out.

What’s in the box?

ACER Liquid C1 i110 Intel Atom Android smartphone package

ACER Liquid C1 i110 Intel Atom Android smartphone package

In the Acer Liquid C1 package, you will find only the minimize items: the smartphone unit, removable battery pack, headset, charger head, microUSB cable, user manual, warranty. Simple, no nonsense.

Design

ACER Liquid C1 i110 (front)

ACER Liquid C1 i110 (front)

On the front, 3 capacitive buttons – back, home, menu – are under the 4.3-inch (960×540) display. Volume control on the right side and microUSB port on the left side.

ACER Liquid C1 i110 - side (microUSB port)

ACER Liquid C1 i110 – side (microUSB port)

Acer Liquid C1 is very slim (10mm) and light (140g). It is plastic build body with silver color border.

ACER Liquid C1 i110 in hand

ACER Liquid C1 i110 in hand

The back cover’s pattern helps to hold the phone in your hand. The rear camera is located at the top center. Acer logo in the center and the famous Intel Inside sticker at the bottom, above phone speaker.

ACER Liquid C1 i110 - Intel Inside

ACER Liquid C1 i110 – Intel Inside

The back cover is a very thin piece of plastic, removing it will expose the slots for battery pack, SIM card, and microSD card.

ACER Liquid C1 i110 inside back cover and battery

ACER Liquid C1 i110 inside back cover and battery

At the top of the phone, the power button is on the left side and 3.5mm audio jack at the right side. The positions are opposite than all the phones I have tried. I don’t know reason behind the design decision but it certain added confusion (pressed audio jack when I wanted to lock phone).

ACER Liquid C1 i110 - Top

ACER Liquid C1 i110 – Top

Features and Problems

Acer Liquid C1 received system update during my review period. It is a 100MB firmware update, but not Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update. Anyway, it means Acer is taking phone update seriously and you can expect receiving future updates after purchase.

Acer Liquid C1 firmware update

Acer Liquid C1 firmware update

I would advice you to turn off Acer Liquid C1 auto display brightness setting. When auto brightness is on, the display adjust its brightness too frequently that you can notice it turn bright and dark in a second. It is quite disturbing. Manually set the display brightness does not have the problem.

Though Acer Liquid C1 has 4GB storage space but the system storage menu only reported two partitions and each has 1GB space. Where’s the other 2GB? I have no idea. If you know, please tell us in the comment below.

UPDATE: A reader “LiquidC1User” told us in the comment that, 2GB space is used by the OS. 1GB for apps and 1GB for data.

Acer Liquid C1 storage

Acer Liquid C1 storage

It is rather frustrating because though your phone has enough total free space, but you can not install large size app (1GB+) because the available space has been divided into two smaller partitions.

Acer Liquid C1 equipped with 8MP autofocus rear facing camera and 0.3MP front facing camera. One feature that I found quite convenient is direct sharing to other apps from the Camera app.

Liquid C1 camera app sharing menu

Liquid C1 camera app sharing menu

Nothing to shout about the photo quality. Contrast is low, noise is high. I also found that sometimes the camera’s auto white balance does not work correctly, it is either too reddish or pale.

Acer Liquid C1 camera test: close up

Acer Liquid C1 camera test: close up

Acer Liquid C1 camera test: a bowl of noodle

Acer Liquid C1 camera test: a bowl of noodle

Auto white balance: Liquid C1 vs iPhone 4S

Auto white balance: Liquid C1 vs iPhone 4S (click to enlarge)

The 0.3MP front camera is only good for video calls, still photo is blur and lost details.

Acer Liquid C1 0.3MP front facing camera test photo

Acer Liquid C1 0.3MP front facing camera test photo (no edit, no resize)

The removeable battery pack’s capacity is 2000 mAh. Acer claims that it can provide 9 hours of battery life on single charge. In my test of moderate use (standby most of the time, light gaming, mostly web surfing, facebook-ing, twitter-ing), fully charged Liquid C1 can last from morning to night.

Liquid C1 comes with some pre-installed apps, notably are:

  • Acer Cloud: Acer branded free cloud storage service to store your photos, music, videos, documents and sync across all your computers, phones and tablets.
  • Polaris Office: Allows you to view and edit documents, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe PDF.
Polaris Office and Acer Cloud

Polaris Office and Acer Cloud

OK! Till now we haven’t talk about the Acer Liquid C1 key feature – the Intel Atom processor. Read on to find out the Intel Atom benchmarks.

Intel Atom Inside and Performance

Acer Liquid C1 is powered by 1.2GHz single-core Intel Atom Z2420 and 1GB memory. According to Intel (PDF), Z2420 is built on 32-nanometer process technology and optimized for Android, with intelligent power efficiently of Intel Burst Performance Technology. It provides full HD video hardware-accelerated 1080p decode and encode.

Acer Liquid C1 benchmark

Acer Liquid C1 benchmark

In my test, Liquid C1 scored 9,712 in AnTuTu Benchmark. That’s in between Samsung Galaxy Note and Samsung Galaxy S2. In the Quadrant benchmark test, Liquid C1 got 2,525 point. Scored better than LG Optimus 2X.

That is to say, Acer Liquid C1 would not have problem to play most 3D games for Android. You may need to wait for awhile to load the game. It is smooth and no lag in the gameplay.

However, even latest firmware update, I felt sluggish when scrolling web pages in the browser and apps. Not sure if it is an app’s Intel processor compatibility issue or not.

Acer Liquid C1 photo gallery

Here is the Acer Liquid C1 smartphone photo gallery. Click to enlarge.

Verdict

Acer Liquid C1 is the first “Intel Inside” smartphone I tested and it won’t be the last. Intel + Android combo is new, thus I don’t expect it is problem free. As you can read from my review, I had encountered few glitches with Acer Liquid C1.

It may be only the load unit I tested but I could not recommend Liquid C1 to my readers.

Other Android smartphones at similar price range (around RM1000) are Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini, HUAWEI Ascend D1 Quad, Lenovo Ideaphone S890.

Pro:

  • Intel Atom processor is interesting
  • Slim and light
  • Pattern back cover is nice to hold
  • Battery life good enough for one day usage

Con:

  • Camera auto white balance is not correct
  • Camera’s photo quality is not up to expectation
  • Auto brightness adjust itself too frequently
  • Sluggish when scrolling web pages
  • Storage space divided into smaller partitions

Rate: 2/5
Price: RM999

Acer Malaysia

I would like to thank ACER for the opportunity to review ACER Liquid C1. This is a free product review with honest write-up. Interesting to submit your products for review? Get in touch with me.

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8 Responses to REVIEW: Acer Liquid C1 with Intel Atom Processor is Disappointed

  1. LiquidC1User May 14, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    According to Acer cust service, 2GB OS + 1GB Apps + 1GB Data = 4GB.

    • Liew Cheon Fong May 14, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

      thank you! updated the article.

    • Tan October 23, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

      Hi, Appreciate that you could share how to solve the 1G storage full issue? How to transfer to new SD card? now the phone can’t function much due to space storage full! :(

      • Liew Cheon Fong October 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

        you can transfer files and photos and videos to SD card. Most apps do not support run on SD card though.

  2. physcodelic January 10, 2014 at 2:15 am #

    I bought this phone 2months ago. JB update already came true. But its a broken OS compiled by Acer. I dumped OS update file and decrypted it. All selling point features previously available on ICS. Like Facelock, Intel wireless display gone. PowerVR driver crash often, resulting blank screen for a second.

    So people who own this, I recommend to stay on ICS 100mb update. Interesting hardware from Intel tho, with poor software.

    • Cheon-Fong Liew January 11, 2014 at 2:51 am #

      hey, thanks for sharing the useful information about Acer Liquid C1 update!

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