Announced last March 2015 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the Acer Liquid Z520 aims to address the budget-oriented crowd, which is dominated by local handset brands in this part of the world.
Acer Philippines sent us a sample unit of the Acer Liquid Z520 for review. Is it worth your attention and money? Read and find out.
What’s in the box?
- USB cable
We got the white version of the Z520 and upon opening the box, I can’t help but think of the previously released HTC One X with its black front panel, surrounding white bezels, and back cover. The similarity ends with the color used as the black variant of the Z520 does not look anything close to the black variant of the HTC One X.
The build of the phone is quite solid especially considering the price; it has some heft to it at 118 grams. The front panel houses a 5-inch LCD and other usual components such as a front-facing camera (2MP), proximity sensor, earpiece, and a set of non-lit capacitive buttons.
Flip it on its back and it gets a little interesting. The plastic back cover is textured with that “weaved fiber” look going for it. This, in turn, gives you that needed grip, especially for a phone this large and also makes the phone not feel cheap.
The 8-MP camera with flash and speaker are placed side by side so you won’t be accidentally covering the speaker and muffling the sound when holding the phone.
The gray-colored side trimmings is plastic as well, but it is textured too for that additional grip. The power button and volume rockers are very tactile and are located on the right edge of the phone. The USB port and 3.5mm jack are placed on the top edge.
Overall, we were quite happy with the overall design of the Z520.
With budget smartphones, there must be compromises to be made. In the case of the Acer Z520, it’s clear (no pun intended) that the 5-inch display had to be kept within budget.
When turned off, the display does not blend well with the black display bezels. It’s kind of gray when turned off which might not appeal to some. It has a resolution of 854 x 480 or 187ppi.
When turned on, you can see pixilation of icons upon close inspection but the colors are quite vivid. It doesn’t have the great viewing angles as the display flushes out with reflections when viewed at an angle.
The Z520 is driven by a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor by MediaTek, as well as 1 GB of RAM. Navigating around the phone is quite enjoyable.
On paper, it may not be ideal for heavy gamers but will work fine as a phone, checking your favorite social media sites, sending emails, and acting as a media hub.
The speaker is quite good too and produces loud, crisp sound even at full volume. Acer has partnered with DTS Inc. to ensure that sound clarity is superb. The included headset does not give justice to the Z520 so better invest on a pair of good quality headphones.
Software and UI
The Z520 is shipped with the Android Kit Kat 4.4.2 and Acer has implemented its own UI on top of it. Below are some screenshots from the Z520.
The Z520 comes with a 8-MP snapper, which is quite good specially on well-lit environments.
One unique feature of the camera of the Z520 is its ability to change shooting modes via a voice command. Saying ?HDR? will change your mode to HDR, and uttering ?Panorama? will activate the panorama mode.
Here are sample shots taken with the Z520.
The Z520 has physically large battery but is only rated at 2000 mAh, enough to last you a day on moderate use of the phone. Having a dual-SIM slot is a plus, but will take a hit on the battery if both are activated for 3G connections.
It’s hard to justify the pricing for the Z520. Currently priced at P4990.00, it sits in between lower-priced but same specked smartphones by local brands and a notch higher specifications bracket of smartphones by other brands like Alcatel and Asus.
It’s decently specked and the performance is enough, yet the display does not have that “oomph” to it. Build is OK and speaker is superb, but it is not convincing enough in my honest opinion.
Would you go for lower-priced but same specs handsets by local brands? Or add a little more and get a future-proof smartphone from other brands? My advice is for you to look at all your options first before deciding which one to purchase.