New Acer Liquid E on Rogers - Review.


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  1. LeftToast

    LeftToast Member This Topic's Starter

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    Well - I dropped my 4 year old BB Pearl in a swimming pool, so my hunt for a new smartphone was accelerated. I was intending on waiting until the Samsung Captivate comes out, but BB's are not waterproof.

    I have been with Rogers for 4 years and we had 4 phones on a shared minutes plan. My wife, for professional reasons wanted to stay with Rogers because most of her colleagues at the university are on the same plan so she can call them for free. Also as both my wife and I travel a lot, the cost of long distance and roaming are of consideration.

    My requirements were simple - I wanted an Android device, I'm not a big fan of Steve Jobs, and my wife is on a month long waiting list for the iPhone 4. I didn't want to pay a fortune for the device, and I wanted something that would run the current version of Android and would be likely to be updated. I also wanted a high resolution screen, and all of the basic hardware (5MP camera, accelerometer, GPS, bluetooth, etc. As the Captivate is not yet available, the choice came down to the Xperia X10 and the Liquide E.

    The Xperia X10 doesn't support multi-touch (and won't in the future) and is still running Android 1.6. With Sony-Erikson's Timescape UI, the chances of a timely upgrade to Froyo are pretty slim. So --- welcome Liquid E.

    My first week with the Liquid E follows.
     

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  2. LeftToast

    LeftToast Member This Topic's Starter

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    First impressions (Day 1):
    I had read enough reviews and handled a few Liquid E's in the store, so I was well aware that the packaging was a little cheap. However, there are only 2 real concerns I have with the packaging. The screen on the Liquid E is plastic rather than gl*** or mineral, so a screen protector is an absolute must (fortunately one is included). The other thing is the cover for the battery compartment is really cheap and likely to break if you change your battery or swap SIMM cards too often. You open it by sticking your thumbnail between the case and the edge of the cover and "gently" prying upwards. The microscopic little plastic tabs that hold the cover on are going to break at some point.

    So - insert the battery, SIMM card and micro-SD card in and power it up. After selecting your language, location, email account etc., it looks like a pretty stock Android 2.1 device. Acer has added a recent bookmarks "wheel" on the side and an Acer Settings app. There are also a few Rogers specific apps that no one is going to use: My Account (as far as I can tell it doesn't work). Rogers Navigation - launches a web page that says coming soon (and it appears to be a paid subscription service). A Rogers application store, tune browers and some other cruft I didn't bother looking at too closely. None of these can be uninstalled - permission denied (looks like at some point I am going to have to gain root privilege).

    One little quirk. There is something funky with either the accelerometer or the OS handling of it. The phone will go to landscape mode only if you turn it counter-clockwise (with the softkeys on the right). If you turn it the other way - nothing. It's annoying, but I could live with it.
     
  3. LeftToast

    LeftToast Member This Topic's Starter

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    Day 2:
    Played around a bit, installed a couple of free games and utilities. Need to find a decent guitar tuner - gStrings is crap.

    The stock keyboard app is crap. Some research indicates that Swype is a very highly acclaimed android keyboard - but it is not available right now. Bummer. If I have to really type anything with this crappy keyboard I'm liable to pitch the whole phone.

    Roadtrip - going camping. So - I launch Google Maps and I'm told an update is available for this application to allow google's turn by turn navigation with voice synthesis. Cool! So I install the update and it fails. After this everytime I launch google maps, I get an error message: process com.google.android.apps.maps has stopped unexpectedly. Force close? ok.

    So I uninstall the update. Everything works, but no turn by turn navigation. I don't have time to check this out, but will when I get back from camping. But the Find Starbucks app seems to work pretty good.
     
  4. LeftToast

    LeftToast Member This Topic's Starter

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    Day 4 (back at home).
    Battery life on the camping trip was as expected - it really wants to be charged every day. Fortunately I had a car charger.

    Camera functions:
    The color, auto-focus, auto-ISO and image resolution are pretty good, but I find it extremely hard to take a picture (either using the camera button on the side of the case or the shutter widget on the screen) without moving and blurring the photo. Image stabilization is sorely missed. Perhaps by tweaking the ISO settings I can trade off sensitivity for speed. Try that later.

    Roger 3G+ network observations. We were camping at Sasquatch provincial campground (near Harrison lake BC). A friend with a Bell Blackberry was able to get both voice and data coverage where I had neither with Rogers.

    Did I mention that the keyboard app is crap?

    Now let's look into the broken google maps. Reinstall the update. Broken again. Uninstall the update - maps works, but no navigation. Now I understand why Rogers installed the broken RogersNav app. A call to Rogers customer service confirms that "we don't support that application on Android". I think this is code for "we broke it so you would buy our crappy RogersNav app".

    So I spend the next couple of hours installing ADB, Acer drivers and the community ROM image for the Liquid E and creating a backup recovery. Another hour and the phone is rooted, flashed with LCR_1.8 and back to where I started.

    Re-setup the email, location, timezone, etc. stuff, a little bit of widget customization and I'm back in business. So - how about google navigation.

    I install the google maps update and presto! Navigation works without errors.


    Day 6

    Who would have thought I would miss the Blackberry Pearl keyboard?

    New keyboard app - Swiftkey. A little bit better than the stock keyboard, but still not very predictive. You absolutely can not hold the phone and "thumb" a message with both hands. You have to pretty much hold the phone in the palm of one hand and very precisely hit each key with the tip of your finger.

    Part of the reason for the poor performance of the keyboard is the lack of accuracy on the part of touch sensitive screen. This is particularly noticeable near the edges of the screen where I often get "p" instead of "o", backspace instead of "m" and half the time, the spacebar takes me out to the home screen.


    Music Player - I installed doubletwist on my PC so that I could sync my existing iTunes library with my Liquid E. The intial sync was unbelievably slow - almost an hour for about 250 songs. Apparently this has to do with the slow speed of writing to SD Ram and some bugginess in the doubletwist Windows application. The other issue (also related to doubletwist, not Android or the Acer) is that much of the song meta-data did not download, so I have a bunch of songs by "unknown artist" even though doubletwist shows the artis, album and genre information in Windows.

    The stock music player itself is pretty good. The stock Acer provided ear buds are okay, but I like the blackberry ear buds better. I also don't like that the microphone / pause button hangs right at your cheek. It probably reduces noise, but I don't like it much. The BB mic hangs at about your
    Adam's apple.
     
  5. hinds2009

    hinds2009 Member

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    yo lefttoast get swiftkey beta keyboard and your whole android keyboard world will be so much better.Its the best you can get for the liquid even better than better keyboard which one has to pay for!
     
  6. HustlinDaily

    HustlinDaily Well-Known Member

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    I use Swype but cannot share that (I am in the beta tester group).

    Try the HTC Desire keyboard (HTC_IME). Not sure if the one posted here works but here you go- HTC_IME - xda-developers
     
  7. HustlinDaily

    HustlinDaily Well-Known Member

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    BTW, I read that you installed LCR.

    Download GScript Lite from the market. Press Menu, click "Add Script," then click "Load File" and click on "IncreaseSensitvity.sh," click "Save" and run that file. It increases the sensitivity of the screen to make it higher than high.

    Also LCR includes the HTC_IME.
     
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  8. LeftToast

    LeftToast Member This Topic's Starter

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    Day 7: Thanks for the tips.

    The increase screen sensitivity is a great help.

    The HTC_IME keyboard mod has a lot of settings to play with. I'll see if I can make it work for me. I am using the Switfkeys Beta - which is better than the stock keyboard, but it apparently expires as some point.


    Camera - by playing with the ISO settings I was able to overcome the lack of image stabilization with faster film speed. Better light also helped.

    A couple of other useful apps I found:

    • WeFi Connection manager - allows you to auto-connect to WiFi networks.
    • Titanium Backup - backs up your applications, UI settings, preferences, bookmarks, etc.
    • Advanced Task Killer - quick kill for running apps.
    • AppManager - backup, uninstall, repair apps.
    • gStrings - guitar tuner. Not very good, but all there is.
    • GScript - run shell scripts to modify phone settings (thanks HustlinDaily).
    • Bump - share contacts, send files, or even pay bills by simply bumping phones.
    • Find Starbucks - self explanatory.
     
  9. HustlinDaily

    HustlinDaily Well-Known Member

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    If you want what is in my opinion a better camera app for LCR 1.8, you can download the camera app from the Acer Stream- camera-stream-signed.zip (note that while it has a 720p recording option, 720p does not work on our Liquids, 480p is the highest it will go. It also has a zoom when shooting pictures in HD resolution).

    Delete data/data/com.android.camera to avoid FCs (you can use an app like Root Explorer to do this) and flash the .zip through recovery (make a nandroid first in recovery).
     
  10. hinds2009

    hinds2009 Member

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    Is there a decent camera app for an unrooted liquid?
     
  11. HustlinDaily

    HustlinDaily Well-Known Member

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    There are some on the market but I have never tried them out.

    Snap Photo Pro is highly acclaimed. As are Camera ZOOM and FxCamera.


    Never tried any of these out btw.
     
  12. LeftToast

    LeftToast Member This Topic's Starter

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    Thanks HD - I'll give the Acer Stream camera a try.

    Does anyone have any idea what the path forward looks like re: Froyo? I understand that no one other than maybe Acer and Rogers know when the 2.2 update (they are saying November now) will be ready, but I am wondering how this will work for phones running LCR?

    Will Rogers push out the Froyo update OTA? Will it "unroot" the phone and restore all of the Rogers bloatware?

    How did the 1.6 to 2.1 update go for Liquid users?
     
  13. HustlinDaily

    HustlinDaily Well-Known Member

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    I can tell you that Acer does not send out any OTAs and Liquid users had to download the firmware upgrade from the site. I do not know about Rogers. Nor do I know how your ROM affects the potential OTA.

    As far as unrooting, any firmware upgrade does unroot the device and put the stock apps back on. Whether or not the same root exploits would work on 2.2, I do not know (the same exploits as 1.6 worked on 2.1, don't know if that will continue but hoping so).
     
  14. stb71

    stb71 Member

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    Just saying that I have downloaded the Google Maps voice navigation on my Liquid E and have never had any issues. I'm with Rogers as well and am not asure why you had so many problems with it. I only wish the volume would go louder so I didn't always have to use earphones with it.
     
  15. stb71

    stb71 Member

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    Have you ever had any issues with the system taking over and "clicking" all over your screen? Usually once a day at least, if I'm in an app or something, the phone will go wacky and start to click all over the place in the app or even going out and into a different app all without me touching anything. Haven't figured it out or gotten it to stop.
     
  16. jonatuna

    jonatuna Member

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    I had this happen with my first liquid. I brought it back and exchanged it for a new one and the new one works fine. I figured it was a touch screen problem...

    'tuna
     
  17. LeftToast

    LeftToast Member This Topic's Starter

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    I haven't had the UI go crazy like that. I have had (twice) the touch screen basically lock up and not accept any input (the softkeys and harware buttons worked but no touch screen). The first time, it woke up after about 10 minutes. The second time I had to reboot it (actually I had to pull the battery because to reboot the phone you have to be able to select "power off" after holding the power button).

    I really wish someone in Canada carried a silicone skin for the Liquid E.
     
  18. gwilo

    gwilo Well-Known Member

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    I ordered a silicon case of of ebay from Hong Kong and had it in about a week.

    Do a search for 'Liquid' not 'E'
     
  19. jtmorris

    jtmorris Active Member

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    Yes that happened with mine too. After calling tech support a couple of times, Rogers is sending me a replacement. Should arrive today.
     
  20. LeftToast

    LeftToast Member This Topic's Starter

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    I had the same thing happen recently, but I had turned up the touch screen sensitivity using gScript. I restored the original (70%) sensitivity and it hasn't happened since.
     

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