Acer Liquid Zest Plus review: With a 5,000mAh battery, this baby will last you awhile

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Liquid Zest

The blue review unit I have tries to mimic the look of brushed aluminum but in reality, it is all plastic.

TA-ratings-78Not everyone is looking to buy the latest and greatest $750+ flagship smartphone. Some people actually have a much smaller budget and don’t mind sacrificing power to save some money. There is one thing high-end smartphone buyers and budget smartphone buyers will agree on though, battery life. The Acer Liquid Zest Plus houses a massive 5,000mAh battery and that sucker is going to last for a good long time. While the battery is amazing on the Liquid Zest Plus, not everything is perfect, but that’s to be expected from a budget device. Read on for our full review of the Acer Liquid Zest Plus, this isn’t going to be the choice for everyone, but for some, it will do.

Specifications

The Acer Liquid Zest Plus has the following features and specifications:

  • Android 6.0
  • Accelerometer
  • Gyro sensor
  • Hall effect sensor
  • Light sensor
  • Proximity sensor
  • Multi-SIM
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • MediaTek MT6735 1.30GHz processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB storage
  • MicroSD card support
  • 5.5″ IPS HD 720p display
  • 13MP rear camera and 5MP front camera
  • 5,000 mAh battery

What’s In The Box

  • Acer Liquid Zest Plus
  • Charging brick
  • MicroUSB charging cable
  • Headphones
  • Flip case
  • Documentation
Liquid Zest

720p 5.5″ IPS display

Design

The Acer Liquid Zest Plus has a pretty non-distinct design language, pretty much looking like a generic slab smartphone. The blue review unit I have tries to mimic the look of brushed aluminum but in reality, it is all plastic. The phone feels thicker than most phones but with a 5,000mAh built-in battery, I guess there should be some thickness. The only real distinct design cue on this phone is the front ear piece. It is recessed and round and is trimmed with chrome, not a bad looking little touch. The Acer logo is also on the front along with the front facing 5MP camera.

Around the back of the phone, you’ll find the 13MP camera and LED flash along with more Acer branding and the dts-HD speaker. The MicroUSB port is at the bottom of the phone and the headphone jack is at the top. On the right side is where you’ll find the volume rocker and power button, the SIM slot and MicroSD card slot are behind the removable back. You should note that the battery is not removable on the Acer Liquid Zest Plus.

Overall the design isn’t the most stunning or striking, it’s a budget phone and commands a budget design. It’s not awful in its looks, but you’re certainly not going to get many questions about it, unless someone is curious about its battery life. We’ll cover that later.

Liquid Zest

Camera and dtsHD sound

Display

The 5.5″ IPS 720p display isn’t the greatest I’ve ever seen, but again, we’re talking a budget smartphone here. Colors are decent, not super vibrant but it is at least palatable. Contrast is okay, not the deepest or best ever and whites are acceptable but do have a slightly off-white color. There was some stuttering when scrolling and pinch-to-zoom, being a budget smartphone I fully expected to not get fluid and fast screen response.

Yes, there are far better display’s on phones these days but for $179.99USD this display isn’t the worst I’ve ever seen. The plus side of this display is that it’s a 720p panel and is pushing way fewer pixels which gives you even more battery from that already massive 5,000mAh battery pack.

Software/Ecosystem

The Liquid Zest Plus ships with Android 6.0 and after asking Acer, it is not slated to see an upgrade to 7.0. This isn’t much of a surprise either, many budget phones never see their OS upgraded to the latest version as it can get costly for companies to do so. While it would have been nice to see Android 7.0 on this, Android 6.0 is still functional and works well on this phone. Overall the Acer skin is minimal and this looks like a mostly clean version of Android.

That being said, there are Acer specific apps which we think were unnecessary but again, that’s to be expected from budget phones. You can pretty much ignore all of the apps you don’t want or need here and just go about your day, but they do take up space on your phone which is a bit annoying. Android 6.0 works well and you have full access to the Google Play Store so that’s at least a good point. Overall, we wish there was a planned 7.0 upgrade but you won’t be so lucky should you pick one of these up.

Liquid Zest

Android 6.0 but no Android 7.0 coming.

Performance

With a MediaTek MT6735 processor pushing this thing around, it’s not the most powerful phone on the market. Normal day to day browsing and email generally work fine though scrolling and pinch to zoom were sometimes janky. Gaming is okay although more graphic intense games did struggle a bit with the phone heating up a bit during heavy load. Once again, none of the specs on the Liquid Zest are meant to compete with high-end phones so we can’t expect massive performance here. This phone is suitable for light gaming, web browsing, email, and social media but you might be sure to close unused programs from the background from time to time. Overall not a great performing phone but at sub $200USD, you can’t expect this to perform on an even $500USD level.

Speakers/Sound

First, let’s just admit that most smartphone speakers aren’t really all that great. With the exception of a few notable high-end phones, speakers on smartphones are generally awful. That being said, Acer advertises dts-HD sound on this phone so I was hoping for something semi-decent from this phone. I have to say, I was not met with what I had hoped to hear. The rear facing speaker isn’t great at all, it’s not awful, but it certainly isn’t HD sound. The speaker was a pretty big disappointment but it’s really no worse than any other budget smartphone speaker on the market.

Camera

The 5MP and 13MP cameras aren’t the best by any means but they do get the job done. Low light performance is not at all good but photos taken in good sunlight actually come out decent enough for a camera in this price range. If you’re looking for a point and shoot replacement in a smartphone, this probably isn’t going to be it. Still, the cameras manage to catch decent enough images in ideal lighting so just keep that in mind when using the camera. You can take photos in low-light they’ll just be a bit grainier than you’d probably prefer, still, budget phones will give you budget results.

Liquid Zest

The 13MP camera and LED flash.

Reception/Call Quality

Reception and call quality were both good, nothing much to complain about here.

Battery Life

With a whopping 5,000mAh battery, this thing easily lasted a few days with regular use. It helps that the screen is only 720p as there aren’t nearly as many pixels for the GPU to push around. If you’re a conservative user, you could really stretch the use here to over three days depending on settings. You can also charge other devices with the Liquid Zest, something other phones have done in the past and can come in handy. Battery life is insane on this phone and if you need a budget phone with super battery life, this is the one.

Price/Value

For $179USD you’re getting a decently capable budget phone and the value is there.

Wrap Up

Remember, this is a budget phone. You cannot expect mid-range or high-end specs for the price you’re paying here. There will be sacrifices to be made. The Acer Liquid Zest Plus isn’t the nicest, most capable phone on the market and it’s strongest point is the insane battery. So if you’re looking for a budget phone that does everything just okay but does battery life the best, this may be the phone for you.

*We were sent a review unit of the Acer Liquid Zest Plus for the purposes of this review.

Acer Liquid Zest Plus

$179.99 USD
Acer Liquid Zest Plus
7.8

Design

8/10

    Display

    8/10

      Software/Ecosystem

      7/10

        Performance

        8/10

          Speakers/Sound

          7/10

            Camera

            8/10

              Reception/Call Quality

              9/10

                Battery Life

                10/10

                  Price/Value

                  8/10

                    Nailed it

                    • Decent display
                    • Good battery life
                    • Decent price, though on the higher end of budget

                    Needs work

                    • No upgrade to Android 7.0
                    • A little thicker than other phones
                    • Speakers are not very good
                    • Some slow performance
                    • Acer bloatware
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