Late last week, the Acer Liquid Jade Primo made its way to the United States. The phone comes with a Desktop kit for Continuum (dock, wireless keyboard, and mouse) and is available at the Microsoft Store for $649.
I got my hands on one of the kits and today I'll unbox and give you my thoughts on what I think so far of this new Windows 10 Mobile phone!
Acer Liquid Jade Primo Specifications
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 (MSM8992) Hexa Core Processor|
|Mass memory||32GB storage|
microSD memory slot up to 128GB (SDXC compatible)
|Display||5.5" AMOLED Full HD 1080P (1920 x 1080)|
|Battery||2870 mAh non-replaceable Li-polymer battery|
|Camera||Main, rear camera: 21MP, auto focus, Dual LED flashlight|
Front-facing camera: 8MP, fixed focus
USB 3.1 (Type-C)
Bluetooth 4.0 EDR
802.11ac WiFi featuring MIMO technology (Dual-Band 2.4GHz and 5GHz)
|Dimensions||6.16 x 2.99 x 0.33 in (156.5 x 75.9 x 8.4 mm) (L x W H)|
|Weight||0.33 lbs. (150 g)|
Acer Liquid Jade Primo Unboxing
In this raw video, I take apart the kit and show you what you get for $649. While the kit itself has some unique packaging, the idea behind this Continuum all-in-one is certainly interesting.
What's in the Desktop Kit?
- Acer Liquid Jade Primo
- Smart Cover
- Continuum Dock
- Wireless Keyboard
- Wireless Mouse
- AC power adapter
- AC power cord
- SIM key
So far, I am pleasantly surprised by the Jade Primo. More specifically, I like it more than I thought I would. The build quality and feel is very different from a Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, and I can't help by notice that Acer borrowed a bit from Samsung's design here. That's not a bad thing, however, as the Jade Primo feels great to hold albeit a bit tall.
Let's go through the high points and then I'll hit up the weaker ones.
- Display – Even though it's "only" Full HD this AMOLED display looks sharp, clear, and is quite bright. Considering you look at a smartphone a lot, this is a strength of this phone. I also think 5.5-inches is the sweet spot, falling right in between the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL.
- Feels great – Being a thin phone with curved edges the Jade Primo has a great design
- Good battery – Since this phone is using a Full HD AMOLED display it is getting better battery life the Lumia 950 so far
- Loud speaker – Although the placement is a little odd that little speaker can crank loud; however, it lacks bass and is almost all treble erring on the side of being too crisp
- Smart Cover – The smart cover only turns on the display when opened, but the cover itself goes well with the phone, and I like it more than I thought I would
- Wireless Continuum – The Acer dock uses HDMI to connect to a display, but the keyboard and mouse are wireless. Result? This setup works great for a TV & Continuum experience. You can dock the phone by your television and use the mouse and keyboard on the couch. I find myself using it this way more often than I thought.
- Decent Camera – I'm actually subtly impressed by the camera. The duo-tone flash works very well, and the camera can do some excellent metering and balancing of multiple light sources. It can get some better than average photos, which is more than I was expecting. Colors, however, are very muted, and there is a lack of vibrancy.
- Fast Ring Ready - Being a new Windows 10 Mobile phone you can use the Insider Fast Ring and get the Anniversary Update. I had issues with 14390, but it so far 14393 is working quite well.
- Dual SIM/micro SD - The new fad in smartphones including the HP Elite x3 is offering a dual-SIM/micro SD setup. This choice means you can run either two SIMs or a SIM and micro SD card. It's a weird situation as ideally some people will want everything – dual SIM and micro SD – but this lets OEMs save some space and give more options to customers.
- LTE - I can confirm that you can run full LTE on AT&T or T-Mobile with this phone. There is no CDMA support, so Verizon and Sprint are still out.
- Charge with the phone off - Lots of people ask for the ability to charge the phone while the display is off. The Jade Primo like the Moly phones can do this trick.
- No Bloat - Acer doesn't even add third party apps to their Jade Primo. It's straight Windows 10 Mobile build 10586.318. There is also no customization.
Overall, that is a pretty solid list of pros for this phone. There is an LED for charging but as usual, there is nothing yet in the OS to enable it for notifications. Being a Snapdragon 808 you did get Fast Charging too, which helps make up for lack of Qi or a removable battery. The vibration and haptic feedback engine is stronger than average.
Nonetheless, there are some quirks and oddities as well.
- No NFC - How do you omit NFC in a high-end (or near high-end if you want to be pedantic) phone in 2016? I don't know, but Acer did not put NFC on this phone and I'm not entirely sure why. That, of course, means no Mobile Payments for this phone, which is a bummer.
- Weird buttons – The Jade Primo has all its buttons its side with the volume rocker in the middle of the body and the power button below it. The buttons are decent, but the power button feels lower than it should (it's below mid-point on the phone). Still, it's better than the Lumia 950 XL in this regard.
- Brightness – The Darkest/Darker/Suggested/Brighter/Brightest presets do nothing. The whole auto-sensing part in Redstone is not working. [Update: On 7/22 this was fixed with the 14393.3 OS patch!] You can use the manual percent stepping instead. The display also does not get very dark, which is bad if you want to use it at nighttime.
- Camera is finicky – While you can get some good shots the camera is a bit slower than expected and focusing is not that fast.
- Odd screen accuracy – The display on 10586.494 has some odd accuracy issues where sometimes it feels like you need to tap twice on the screen target. However, this seems better with the Redstone/Anniversary Update builds.
- Smart cover and dock? – While the smart cover is beautiful you cannot keep it on the device while using the Acer Dock, which is a bit of a pain
- Plastic mouse and keyboard – The included mouse and keyboard are actually very nice to use, but there is no denying they feel hollow and rather cheap.
Also, there is some creakiness to the phone if you try to flex it. There is no double-tap to wake or Glance screen either. The camera button on the Lock Screen in the Anniversary Update does not work. Speaking of Anniversary Update, this phone suffers from the Wi-Fi/No Connection bug too and may be in fact worse. Microsoft is supposed to fix that soon, however, before the final release.
Acer Liquid Jade Primo Photo Gallery
Without going into a full review, I will say so far I rather like the Acer Jade Primo. Despite some quirks, most of its issues can likely be solved with a firmware/software update. Comparing it to the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL is a bit complicated, but the metaphor of it being the middle child seems to apply in this case.
Acer Liquid Jade Primo Camera Samples
I'll do more on the Acer Jade Primo in the coming weeks. Ask questions in comments and I'll try to answer.
For now, you can check out the photo gallery, unboxing video, and camera samples. You can also jump into our Acer Liquid Jade Primo forums where users are sharing more information.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.