Acer's new Windows Phone is low budget but not without charm

It's been some time since we've talked about Acer in the context of Windows Phone. But, it's back in the game with the Liquid M220, the company's first Windows Phone 8.1 device just announced at Mobile World Congress. It's a budget phone, costing just 79 Euros when it goes on sale in April in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. It'll be competing directly with the likes of the Microsoft Lumia 435 in the market, and while it's low budget when it comes to the hardware, it does have some charm.

To recap on the hardware specs:

  • 4-inch, 480x800 resolution display
  • 1.2Ghz dual-core CPU
  • 5MP rear camera with auto focus and flash
  • 2MP front facing camera
  • 4GB on board storage with microSD card expansion
  • 512MB RAM
  • 1300mAh battery
  • Dual SIM options

The display is comparible to that on the Lumia 530. The resolution isn't so much the issue, but viewing angles are pretty bad and it's quite reflective to look at. The onscreen buttons can go away with a swipe up, at least, and yes, there are some pretty enormous bezels. But there's a lot we like about it, too.

The physical size of the phone is great, it feels really good in the hand and the pattern on the back is superb. It's apparently inspired by Thai Silk, and adds a slight amount of grip to the rear of the phone but on the black version especially, it looks really nice. The 5MP camera on the M220 comes with an LED flash, something we're pleased to see added to a low-cost Windows Phone, and the front camera is a respectable 2MP. They seem good enough on a phone of this price point, though you have to keep your expectations in check, naturally.

On the internals the biggest let down is the 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. It's not a total killer, but with Microsoft upping its own base level to 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage it's natural that we'd hope for a little more. But the phone is snappy enough as is usually the case with Windows Phone devices regardless of specs. It's bare basic Windows Phone 8.1, too, with no sign of any bundled apps from Acer or anyone else for that matter. That could change with retail units, but for now it's just basic Windows Phone.

The bigger story isn't about the hardware, though. Acer has already committed to updating the M220 to Windows 10, and reading between the lines that signals at least some statement of intent. What's potentially more interesting is where Acer goes from here. It's dipping its toe with the M220, and while there are compromises to be made on the hardware, we're glad to see another name making new Windows Phones.

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at

  • Looks like a well designed phone, not those reference designs.
  • That's true. Like the back a lot! I would buy it as secondary phone if it had 1gb ram, 8gb storage and 5 inch display...
  • Bigger battery for me.
  • WP are sold to loyal customers only. Very few people don't mind a 512MB RAM. Android One low budget phones have 1GB RAM. Why phone manufacturing WP are so dumb!!!!
  • 512Mb Ram was manufactured a lot for android phone however trend changed and now these ram are cheap and sold to fool WP customers.
  • The huge bezels are really the only annoying aesthetical issues on an otherwise nice phone
  • This a great phone if you want to gifted to a kid or old people.
  • True!!!
  • The charm is not apparent to me.
  • lol
  • No pictures of the silver lining with square pyramids?
  • Yes! Another bargain basement Windows Phone! Said no-one ever...
  • A need a ship with a flag upfront.
  • 'Yes another bargain basement Android' said no-one either. Yet they sell like crazy and bumped up Android's share past iPhone which started the Android dominance. Right now the problem is that shops want to diversify their offering but if you have 20 OEMs devices on stock, on average 19,5 will be Android. Microsoft alone can't released a phone every month to ensure their presence remains. Thus WP marketshare fluctuates throughout the year. With more of these devices can stabilize the market share, and create awareness of WP's durability to devs.
  • A bargain that makes up almost all of WP's market share.
  • Almost all the WP phones produced are low end, so no surprise they make up most of the market share. Apple have a greater market share and don't make cheap phones
  • I said so. I think it's great that this opens up smartphones to people who wouldn't be able to afford them otherwise. No, you can't do a ton of things, but phone, GPS, and internet counts for an awful lot. I love my 635 because I can afford it even while things are super tight. I understand people want the high end phones as well, but there is definitely a place and need for bargain-basement phones.
  • Welcome back!
  • Yeah I'm glad Acer is back in it. WP needs more choices.
  • Oh my God Acer, trim your phone bezel's, it's so thick!
  • Oh and its soo cheap!!
  • Specs of an wp7 device. And on this pics the screen looks really bad. A shame because i think they can build better phones not just the ones that sell well
  • Too much of a compromise when the new standard is 1GB RAM and 8GB storage. They've released some good tablets recently, should have specced this better as this will have limited appeal compared to the new entry level Lumia's.
  • This may not be a superb phone spec wise, but it's still an excellent device for people that are switching from feature phones, and do not require all the capabilities of a smartphone, all while still having a smartphone. That may have been Acer's intentions for all we know.
  • I don't understand the MWC isnt tomorrow March 2th? Why in the lady 3 notices Richard wrote" Today in the MWC"??? This confuse me...
  • There are a bunch of media events today
  • This happens every year. Press releases are sent and announcements are made even before the event. Not everything gets a big stage and presentation.
  • The back cover looks cool though.
  • Ya..i love the back of the phone too
    Look really nice, great design
  • I agree, looks v good. Adds texture and grip.
  • Oh FFS *Very   Type out your words, you have a full keyboard. Use it.
  • That's ironic considering you didn't spell out three words to his one.
  • Meh, didn't wanna be vulgar while I was being vulgar haha
  • This phone gets an option to hide on screen nav bars by swipe up, but Lumia 630 can't...
  • GDR1 update brings that option..... Anyone correct me , if I am wrong
  • Because L630 has 480 x 854 screen resolution, the extra pixels are for the nav bars. So can't hide it.
  • the screen has extra pixels to compensate, there is no point, you get extra pixels to do what? look at the start screen? No app supports your phones full resolution, you remove the buttons, all that will happen is youll get black bars on the top and bottom of the app.
  • The large number of Those devices in the market makes me look stupid holding a Windows phone
  • I feel like all the recent windows phones are just the same thing in a different shell, there isn't really anything differentiating them from one another.
  • Would love to know why every phone with on-screen keys I know has the option to hide the button bar, but not my 530
  • The same goes for my 630. The extras 54 pixel is dedicated to that I think.
  • I really don't know but I think denim firmware update may bring that ability.
  • It has the same specs as the Lumia 625.
  • Yawn are we ever going to see high end devices? Sorry but not much to get excited about with WP. My gosh HTC has the highest WP device hello did Microsoft buy Nokia phones.. .
  • Microsoft already stated they have a flagship coming, but don't like making devices for events. So wait until the beginning of summer for a special event dealing with Windows 10 and a flagship to release right along with it.
  • The specs is too 2012 I think
  • Another acer with bad (yes bad n low) specs...
  • Seems right, for the price? People don't complain about the specs for inexpensive cars, if they are in the market for an expensive one.
    Best Wishes.
  • Much better than 530!
  • That would be great if using Quadcore and 1GB ram and 8MP rear camera and it won't be cheap phone , but low-end powerful phone
  • We all need atleast 1GB ram for today usaage :v , although 512MB is smooth in wp8.1
  • But Acer also showed 3 Android phones, 3!!! I feel bad
  • 512 is smooth but with the already few apps users have it really is a stupid choice to cut some out...
  • Makes me think of 530
  • I don't like non Nokia windows phones...except m8
  • I think there's a good reason why Microsoft is upgrading the 635 to 1 GB of RAM, it's because they're realizing Windows 10 will be hard to optimize for devices with only 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of built-in storage. The latter handsets will thus receive a feature-limited version of Windows 10.
    I wonder why Microsoft didn't incite Acer to put higher specs in the Liquid M220, while they probably knew Acer wouldn't sell many of these.
  • Its obvious that a lot of these new lower end WP are expendable, in case they don't sell...which is a self fulfilling prophecy for most of them. Wouldn't want anybody to go out on a limb or anything.
  • Acer comes with worst phone and finally blame Windows Phones are not selling.  Processing power and Whole day battery are must required for any phone. Acer thinking is five generations backward. Anyway goodluck for their attempt.
  • Take your crappy 512mb toy away and come back with at least 1gb...
  • I feel it stand up if it had a quad core and 8 Gb internal and 1 Gb ram..... But to look is you do have flash and FFC....... Nice phone for someone buying a smartphone first time to check windows phone out and not for hard use..... It would work alright as I think......7/10 considering the price...
  • I think the phone would be dejected by people
  • 512 mb was a great time on windows phone but now we have to move on we need 1 fb ram atleast or more. 512 mb ram will itself de market such devices.
  • Low budget but not without charm???? How about just low budget because thats the only market MS has hope for.  
  • Gr8 b8, m8
  • The Acer M220 is not that much better and not that much worser than the Lumia 520. Pros: FF camera, rear flash, possibility of dual SIM Cons: 4GB internal storage, lower battery life, 512MB RAM (like the 520)   it's too safe and it doesn't differentiate itself from its direct competitors: the Lumia 520/530.     All-in-all it's six of one and half a dozen of the other, pretty much.  
  • Acer is simply poking fun at windows phone users with specs such as 512MB RAM, or their team slept through last couple of years and suddenly woke up and ended at MWC!
  • Microsoft themselves are abandoning 512mb devices. Acer should have gone with 1 Gb
  • If this will get windows 10, you can be sure the Lumia 520 will get it, too!
  • In amongst all the Lumia 4xx, 5xx and 6xx that have come out in the last 12 months, this phone is going to get lost. Add to that the clear trend that MS is moving to 1GB devices as a minimum, and I'm left wondering why Acer even bothered. The should have gone midrange, targeted the 730.
  • I dont mind other companies coming in with entry level phones to generate interest in the windows phone market but what I wish would happen is that now there's a lot of smaller companies jumping on board that maybe you could have microsoft/nokia, htc, Samsung etc all come in and focus on the high end & flag ship so there's something to show off the platform ​
  • So basically its the htc 8s in an Acer shell....
  • They couldn't squeeze that 1gb of RAM could they
  • I'll do a me too comment and say 512 is too low, although I have had no issues with my 635 being 512.. The few apps that require 1gb I just put on my 920, 4gb is not a problem with SD card support.
  • Actually the 4GB is more of a problem than the 512MB for updates - not enough space for the image of the update, even with sd-support. It's the reason all new Lumias by MS are comming with 1GB. 
  • I... Am.... So... disgusted... With all these cheap o devices. This shit sucks.
  • I guess if it had quad band hspa it might be a good throw away phone
  • Awesome
  • When is the next flagship!?!?
  • It's like a 520 with front camera, and flash for the rear one....pfff
  • MS has given up on flagships. Its just budget phones from now on.
    People can keep dreaming about Windows 10 launching with a high spec phone. We will get the same BS budget flagship marketing crap.
  • No camera button.
  • Bit bulky, but nice design!
  • The new LG watch urbane lte has better specs then this crap.
  • f*ck, 512MB RAM, 1300mah Battery Company still do phone like that would better stop making phone
  • Do we really need to have an article on every low end?
  • Great, more garbage. Just what Windows phone needs.
  • Glass to see a partner
  • That's why WP only sells on Lumia... all other companies make poor design and hardware phones
  • Belongs in 2011
  • yeah those bezels are charming
  • wpcentral: pease stop this! it's just too pathetic!  
  • I get it. Not everyone can afford a $600-1000 phone. I just wish that these companies would, even at the low end, stop focusing on answering the question(s):  "What can we be forgiven for/what can we get away with?"  And instead, start believing that innovation CAN happen at the low end. I want them to start asking themselves: "How can I excel here?" Microsoft may well be making the necessary optimizations to make Windows work on low end specs, but OEM's are being down right LAZY when it comes to the hardware.
  • Garbage
  • I supose it looks nice enough.  But it's not exacly a major contender for my heart.