Acer has introduced the Liquid M220 smartphone as their first ever device running on Windows Phone OS. The Liquid M220 comes with a 4-inch display and an 800 x 480 resolution and pixel density count of 233ppi. From the inside, the Liquid M220 is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor with 512MB of RAM and Adreno 302 GPU. Its internal storage memory is 4GB, which may still be expanded by up to 32GB using a microSD card. With a couple of cameras available, users can pick between the 2MP front-facing sensor or the 5MP rear-facing camera with auto-focus and LED flash. The camera on the back can also record videos. It comes with a Li-Ion 1300mAh battery that helps power up the device for continuous use. While the phone runs on Windows Phone 8.1, an update to Windows 10 will be available in the later part of this year. The Acer Liquid M220 smartphone comes in two color options—Mystic Black and Pure White.
For the first time, Acer has announced that it will offer a smartphone equipped with Windows 10 in the United States. Called the Liquid M220, it is the company's ambitious first foray into the mobile Windows 10 market.
While Acer also launched several other phone models at MCW 2015, none of them caught quite as much attention as the Acer Liquid M220. Even though the design was slim and elegant, the most interesting thing about the phone is the choice by Acer to adopt the Windows Phone platform.
The other Acer devices that are on the market all use various versions of Android, a trend which has garnered its own UI design these days. And so you can imagine how iconoclastic it is for the company to suddenly step away from a dependable workhorse in order to swim in untested waters. Bold gambles like this should be applauded, but many experts believe that Acer is likely to stick with the safety and comfort of Android.
The Acer Liquid M220 comes out of the box running the latest Windows Phone 8.1 software. The company has confirmed that all of its units will soon be updated to Windows 10 mobile, although it hasn't set a firm date on when that will happen.
Acer is splitting its hand here, as it announced that it will also offer a Liquid M220 model that comes with the Android operating system. The Windows version will cost about £70 while the Android version will be about £10 more expensive.
On April 23 at a New York event, Acer released a statement announcing its plans to sell the Liquid M220 in the United States for $79. Acer has also worked out a distribution deal whereby the Liquid M220 will be on sale at Microsoft Stores. As you'd expect, all models sold at retail Microsoft Stores come loaded with Windows 8.1, and are poised to receive a free upgrade to Windows Phone 10 when it is finally launched.
Unfortunately, even representatives of the company were unable to voice much confidence in the Windows Phone version of the Liquid, even if it retails at a slightly lower price than the Android models. Besides the novelty of its operating system, there are no outstanding details or capabilities to draw prospective buyers.
Considering that the Liquid M220 is an entry-level phone, the build and overall feel is quite nice. The back of the phone has an easy to grip matted texture. The bevel of the handset, nicely detailed in silver, also helps improve hand grip of the phone. Even the smallest hands should have no trouble maintaining firm control of this phone.
While the attenuated back surface offers a unique feel, the bevel is a little too large and the phone fails to maintain an overall cohesive aesthetic. While the solidity provides a welcome heft to the hand, overall the boxy and square design feels clunky and ungainly.
Both versions of the Liquid M220 have a 4-inch WVGA display, rated at a pixel resolution of 400 by 800, which translates to 223ppi. That's certainly not a very large piece of screen real estate, but is adequate for an entry-level phone like the Liquid M220.
The handset is powered by a standard 1.2GHz dual-core processor that gets a bump from 512 MB of RAM. A few years ago, those would've been impressive numbers, but today, there's nothing extraordinary about this phone's capabilities. Nonetheless, the phone should be able to handle simple and low-demand apps with ease. This phone is definitely not equipped for high-speed games or visually intensive apps.
Acer equipped this handset with a relatively flabby 1300mAh battery. That being said, the phone doesn't draw a lot of power with its small display and simple apps, so the battery should be sufficient to provide a full day's use. For an entry-level phone, battery life is about where you'd expect it, as no one is expecting to rely on the Liquid M220 for all-day use.
While the box will tell you that the internal memory is 4GB, it should be noted that the operating system and installed apps take up 2.6GB of that space, leaving just 1.4 GB free for the user to store songs, photos or other media. In this day and age, people expect more storage for their phone, and may be in for an unfortunate surprise when they realize how little is left over from the advertised 4 GB of memory. Thankfully, the Acer M220 has a microSD card slot, which can add up to 32GB of storage to the handset.
The back of the phone is equipped with a mid-line 5MP camera with an 89-degree lens. Normal photos under optimal conditions come out looking okay, but certainly there are more powerful cameras on the market. The front of the phone has a flabby 2MP camera, okay for a brief video chat or the odd selfie.
The Acer Liquid is not meant to be a flagship model for the company. Mostly what's exciting about this model is the fact that it represents Acer adopting the Windows Phone platform for the first time. Many people are looking forward to adopting this phone as it is expected to be the cheapest Windows Phone handset on the market. For enthusiasts of the Windows Phone operating system, the Acer Liquid is definitely a good choice.
But having a Windows Phone option is not enough. The problem with Windows Phones is that they suffer from a serious lack of apps, and the options are miles behind the vast array of offerings that iOS or Android users have.
Except for a few hardcore enthusiasts of Microsoft operating systems, it's hard to see why the average consumer would prefer the Windows Phone version over the Android version, but the company is to be applauded for having the courage to explore new fields. Now it is up to the consumers to reveal if Acer's latest choice to dip their toes in the waters of the Windows Phone world will pay off.
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