If you’re a follower of mobile technology news, you’ll know the debate rages on over Windows Phone and its future. With Microsoft making some interesting corporate changes and downsizing some areas in its infrastructure, some have unceremoniously stuck the fork in Windows Phone. Yet others remain optimistic that Microsoft has plans for Windows Phone that we don’t fully understand yet and those plans are wrapped up with Windows 10. Without question, Windows Phone still has its fans and that’s why Acer has jumped into the Windows Phone market with the Acer Liquid M220, and the Acer Liquid M220 review is ahead.
- Display – 4.0″ 480×800 TFT capacitive touchscreen – 233 ppi pixel density
- OS – Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1
- Chipset – Qualcomm MSM8210 Snapdragon 200
- CPU – Dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7
- GPU – Adreno 302
- Memory – 4 GB, 512 MB RAM – Liquid M220 – MicroSD card slot expandable to 32GB
- Cameras – Rear 5 MP, 2592 х 1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash – Front 2 MP
- Battery – Li-Ion 1300 mAh battery – 200hr standby 4hr talk time
The Acer Liquid M220 is handsomely pleasant to look at considering it’s a budget phone. The design is your basic slab with a nice textured back panel that reminds me of a jean material. Along the edges is a thoughtful diamond cut pattern that really adds to the phones grip-ability. The front display is nice as well, while the bezels are a little thicker than I like, they’re not as thick and unsightly as some other budget phones. Overall the design of the phone is nice and neutral. Materials used are mostly plastic but they don’t feel like low quality throw away plastic, there is some quality to them.
It’s easy to scoff and dismiss a display that’s only coming in at 480×800 resolution (2010-2011 specs) but we are talking about a budget phone here. Comparing this display to your iPhone 6 or Nexus 6 wouldn’t be an even comparison. For a budget phone, the M220’s display is vibrant and nice to look at. Coming in at only 4.0″ though might frustrate those who have gotten used to larger displays lately. Looking straight at the display is a pleasure but you do start to see colors wash out and lose clarity when looking at the display at an angle. Of course this is normal for a display with a lower resolution and less pixel density than higher end phones. The touch screen is accurate and never failed to know what actions I was requesting as I tapped and swiped the screen. My biggest complaint is the glare which sometimes does wash out some of what you’re trying to view. Overall the display does what it needs to do and is responsive, for a budget priced phone the display is one of the best you’ll get.
The M220 is running Windows Phone 8.1 out of the box but is upgradeable to Windows 10 Mobile when that comes out. As we’ve reported before, Windows Phone is a joy to use, almost every app you need is in the Windows Mobile store with the exception of just a few. Mostly what you’ll be missing are Google core apps, Gmail, Google+, Hangout and other Google products. With Google still holding API’s back from Microsoft , Windows Phone can’t develop proper apps for Google services. That leaves Microsoft’s customers high and dry. Windows Phone 8.1 is snappy and wonderful to use and the fact that it runs smoothly on low speced phones is exactly why Acer was able to make this budget phone. Overall the software is a great experience but without Google apps some may find that hard to swallow.
The M220 is a solid performer for a budget phone with lower specs. It never had issues zooming through webpages or loading apps and social media. Windows Phone 8.1 is pretty optimized and it tends to run amazingly smooth compared to iOS and Android. Games played pretty well on the M220 although heavier games did lag just a bit but that is to be expected with budget specs. But the phone handled normal operating requirements of any smartphone such as texting, instant messaging, phone calls, simple web browsing and social media like a champ. Overall the M220 performs well with Windows 8.1 optimized so well the lower specs really don’t hurt it for basic smartphone use. Sure I wish it had better specs for playing more intense games but for the price, performance is great.
The 5MP front facing camera isn’t the best in the world but it is passable and acceptable. You’ll get some good photos to share on Facebook and Twitter, decent enough for those social media moments. You won’t get the clarity and detail that most higher end smartphones deliver with their better sensors and higher megapixels but the M220 camera is not a complete loss here. There is good in it. Low-light photos aren’t the best and like any camera, well lit areas are going to get you the best results out of this sensor.
The M220 is billed to have 200 hours of standby and four hours of talk time. I didn’t test standby time as I used the phone and didn’t let it sit around much. I pulled about four hours of talk time out of it and that time shrank a little with web browsing and Internet usage. The 1300mAh battery isn’t the largest and that’s a little disappointing. Even for a budget phone it would have been nice to have a larger more efficient battery.
At an insane price of $79.99, the M220 is priced spot on. Sure there are some things you’ll have to give up compared to other (more expensive) smartphones but the M220 is no slouch for that price. If you’re not a heavy data user or even a heavy smartphone user the M220 is something to consider. The price tag is just about perfect and won’t break the bank.
The M220 is an amazing phone given the insane price of $79.99. This phone isn’t for the spec hungry, high resolution snob. This phone is for those looking for a nice smartphone to use for basic needs and functions. If you’re looking for iPhone or Nexus performance here you won’t find it and that’s OK. Those phones both cost a whole lot more than this. This phone is great for young kids who’s parents don’t want to spend a fortune or those who are on a very tight budget but would still like a basic smartphone. Overall this should be on your shortlist of budget phones if that’s what you’re in the market for.
*We were sent a demo unit of the Acer Liquid M220 for the purposes of this review.
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