At the Acer launch event in the Philippines today that we reported about earlier, the Intel-based Liquid C1 smartphone was the star of the show. Out of all the smartphone models launched by Acer during that same event, only the Liquid C1 bears the distinction of running on an Intel Atom processor. Naturally, we wanted to know what using it in real life was truly like. So we spent a short amount of hands-on time with it to get to know it better.
The Acer Liquid C1 is not the thinnest smartphone around, nor is it the lightest. But it was surprisingly very easy to pick up and hold on to. And operating it with only one hand felt like no trouble at all.
The case consists of mostly plastic, though, and the screen isn't protected by a layer of scratch-resistant glass, so that really shouldn't be too surprising.
And we're not here to complain about the lightness of the handset, anyway. It seemed to handle Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich like it should, with no visible lag when swiping through the home screen or pulling up the app drawer. There weren't any major issues with the user-interface whatsoever, and that's a good thing, especially for engineering samples.
The back cover is where the Liquid C1 proudly wears the famous “Intel inside” logo. It is made out of plastic, like much of the phone itself, but it doesn't feel cheap or plasticky at all.
It uses a rigid design that didn't seem prone to bending or breaking and the use of grooves on it gave it a kind of premium feel. It's certainly felt like a much better version of those shiny and slippery covers found in other handset models.
At the moment, the Acer Liquid C1 is a one-of-a-kind Android smartphone. If you were expecting a new type of Acer superphone with the Intel processor, it certainly looks the part. But it seems that the current iteration of the Atom processor platform which it uses — something that is described officially by Intel itself as a platform for emerging markets — is holding it back.
It lacks 4G LTE, maxes out the screen resolution at only 540 x 960 pixels (qHD), and only runs Android 4.0 ICS out of the box. This is at a time when the two latest versions of Android are both called Jelly Bean and full HD is becoming the new smartphone display standard.
We can't put out a final verdict on it as a smartphone quite yet, but we can certainly imagine that selling it to the masses will not be an easy task.