Windows anyone? If you ever get tired of Android and don’t feel up to a taste of iOS, there is still Windows. Yes, it’s still relatively undeveloped. Yet it still has relatively few apps compared to its counterparts. And yes it still feels rather like a perpetually unfinished painting. Still, there are lots to love about it. What they are is up to you to discover for yourself. Think of it as a grand voyage of adventure, excitement, and ahem…discovery.
From Acer comes its new take on how Windows devices should look, feel and act. Its new baby promises to open new windows of functionality presumably left closed or relatively unexplored by the Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950XL twins. Still, it’s priced higher than either and inferior to the 950XL in any side by side comparison.
Lucky me got gifted -actually loaned- a preview unit courtesy of my rather generous editor. So, join me on this Acer Liquid Jade Primo review as I tear it down for our collective benefit, and of course to satisfy your curiosity.
Design and Build Quality
The Acer Liquid Jade Primo is definitely glorious to look at and rather a chewy mouthful to pronounce. The design looks totally premium and top-notch, and the eye-candy is cranked up so high it threatens to choke you.
It comes with a curvy rear end that begs to be touched and caressed, a 2.5D glass screen and metallic-finished sides. It’s also quite a large device, measuring 6-inches plus, but at least there is a one-handed mode that is activated when you hold down the start button. Which am sure must be a big relief if you have tiny hands. Overall, it’s noticeably heavy, but the feel is secure and confident.
While it does look good, it does not exactly feel as good. To start with, the rear is plastic, and if you poke and probe, the device flexes and creaks like a beggar with diarrhea. Oh well, it’s Acer’s first Windows device so perhaps we shouldn’t criticize too much. But, considering the king’s ransom we shelled out for it and the far better quality of others in its price range, the overall quality is rather disappointing.
Overall dimensions are: 6.19 inches long by 3 inches wide by 0.375 inches thick while seated in the attached protective case, while weight is a hefty 150 grams. In the box you get: the device, protective case, display dock, mouse, and keyboard.
Acer at least got something very right with the screen, which is one of the best we have yet seen. And with an available 5.5-inches of viewing paradise there is certainly a lot to see, watch and be amazed at. Rather than inferior IPS, AMOLED is the name of the game here. The available resolution tops out at 1920 x 1080, with a PPI round up of 401, and around 176 degrees of viewing angle. All these work to produce incredibly rich, vibrant and vivid colors that I never got tired of watching. At maximum brightness too, outdoor usability even in direct sunlight is extremely impressive.
Additionally, the screen comes somewhat armored with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection, ensuring some durability and extending reliability and functionality. Hopefully, that is.
On paper, the Acer Liquid Jade Primo is certainly not lacking in the camera department, if only in the ever-ongoing megapixel war. The main sensor is a gargantuan 21 MP with f/2.2 aperture and dual LED flash. The front shooter is an 8 MP sensor and again with f/2.2 aperture but no flash. While the rear sensor can shoot 4K videos, its frontal sibling is restricted to 720p footage.
Overall camera performance is mixed. The main sensor does deliver great shots, but only in well-lit environments. Otherwise expect your pictures/videos to be washed out and filled with noise. The front sensor is perfectly acceptable for selfies, but its lack of flash does limit it. Similarly, both cameras lack extensive customization/personalization modes for the professional or tinkerer.
Performance and Connectivity
The Acer Liquid Jade Primo definitely does arrive for battle well armed and ready to go all berserk on your ass. Power is from an eminently capable hexacore Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 chipset, which is coupled to an Adreno 418 GPU. RAM is a hefty 3GB, with internal storage maxing out at 32GB. This though can be readily expanded via SD card. However, there is no dedicated SD card slot. So, you must choose between using 2 nano SIM’s, or just one SIM with a properly heavy capacity SD card in the other slot to keep your device happy and content while you clog up its arteries with videos and apps.
For everyday tasks the Acer Liquid Jade Primo performs excellently. And no it’s not just a one-trick pony. Load it up with any of the graphically demanding games out there on the woefully bare Windows store and it handles it all with absolutely no lag or incoherent stuttering. However, under heavy workload i found that the device heated up considerably. While not enough to boil tea with, it’s still something to be concerned about.
OS is the Windows 10 with Continuum enabled. As you presumably know, Continuum represents Microsoft’s vision of having the functionality of a PC in your pocket. This was first implemented in the Lumia 950 and the bigger XL devices to muted praise and some head shaking. On the Acer device, it too performs quite excellently. In the box, you will get all you need for the Continuum experience. All except a monitor of course.
Connectivity options are extensive but also limited. Available connections include: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, dual SIM/dual standby, AGPS, 4G, LTE, FM radio, USB Type-C, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Compass and Gyroscope. Sadly, NFC, Windows Hello, Fingerprint reader or iris scanner are not supported. Which is a real shame.
Audio performance is loudly adequate, no more or less. However, due to its placement the rear speaker does has a bad habit of being muffled when laid on tables or other surfaces and when the device is held. A headset is therefore to be suggested if you are going to be doing much Primo audio listening
Living power for the Acer device comes courtesy of a sealed and non-user-replaceable 2,870 mAh battery. Charging up is done via the bottom USB Type-C port. With the well-deserved reputation of Windows devices as battery-sipping marvels of creation that last a century before needing to be topped up, I was expecting quite a long-lasting, high-performance battery from this Acer device.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get my wish. The included battery is adequate and average, no more or less. At medium use, you should be able to get about a day of functionality out of it like I did. Which is barely acceptable.
At $600+, this is one pricey and definitely overpriced device. While the AMOLED screen and Windows Continuum experience certainly delights and keeps the pulse pounding, the rest of the phone is a letdown. If you do need a Windows phone, I would suggest either of the rather nubile Lumia 950 twins. Unless of course, you have wads of cash burning a hole in your pocket and a fanatic fondness for Acer-branded devices.