Hands on: Acer Liquid Jade Primo

Thanks to Windows Continuum, the Acer Liquid Jade Primo is worth a try

The Liquid Jade Primo is Acer’s Windows 10 smartphone, and it has been hotly anticipated — well, in relative terms, it’s a Windows phone after all — since it was shown as a non-working model in September. The phone is ready to go on sale in the next few months, and we got a chance to try it out. The phone’s headline feature, and the reason it’s sparked so much interest, is Windows Continuum, which turns the phone into a full PC.

Before we get there, let’s look at the Jade Primo. The design is typical of Acer, with a massive circular camera lens on the rear, bookended by a oversized speaker at the other end. The rear cover has a brushed metal finish, but is really made of plastic. It does feel good in the hand thanks to the curvy shape, which disguises the overall size you expect from any 5.5-inch device.

The Jade Primo is a smartphone we’d instantly want to use.

The screen is a beauty. It may have a standard 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, but it’s an OLED panel covered in 2.5D glass. That means pure blacks and great contrast, and it has an equally curvy body on the front. This adds up to the Jade Primo being a smartphone we want to use. The trusty Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor and 3GB of RAM also give it enough power for most situations.

Unlike other Acer phones, the Liquid Jade Primo has Windows 10 installed, rather than Android. Windows 10 worked smoothly and effectively during our brief hands-on, but the big draw is Continuum, which turns a compatible monitor into a Windows 10 computer when the phone is slotted into Acer’s dock. The dock connects using HDMI or USB 3.1 — Acer’s the only company producing a monitor with that feature at the moment — and when the phone’s plugged in, the change over happens within a few seconds. On the first occasion, it didn’t work at all, with no explanation, suggesting it may not be entirely stable just yet.

Once connected, the phone’s home screen is shown on the monitor and can even be used as a mousepad to navigate on the larger display. This is awkward when the phone is in the dock, though. It comes into its own when paired with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Microsoft Edge, Word, Messages, and other standard apps are all blown up on the monitor, with the phone powering it all. There are people reading this who instantly see how this feature will fit into their lives, and others who’ll think the exact opposite. The question is: Will everyone else find it useful, or not?

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Liquid Jade Primo, as a phone, is cool; but it has one thing that’s going to count against it for wavering buyers — price. It’s 570 euros in Europe, or about $620, plus 30 euros for the dock. That’s a lot for an Acer phone, even one with a gorgeous display, a USB Type-C connector, and a 21-megapixel camera. However, if Continuum and Windows 10 are on your personal wish list, the Jade Primo is better value than the Microsoft Lumia phones introduced late last year.

Acer will bring the Liquid Jade Primo to the United States, but it hasn’t set a final date. We’re told it’ll launch sometime before mid-year, and that’s when the price will be finalized. The Jade Primo’s a good Acer phone, and it’s worth close examination if you’re a Windows 10 devotee, or even somewhat interested in trying Windows on your phone.


  • Gorgeous OLED screen
  • Windows Continuum works well
  • Available with the dock
  • Confortable to hold


  • Niche appeal
  • Expensive

Exclusive: Take a look at what a next-generation 5G phone will look like

With 5G phones debuting at MWC in mere days, there is discussion about whether they will be clunky bricks that die after a few hours? A reference design from Qualcomm offerrs a glimpse of the future: This is what 5G phones will look like.

Enjoy Windows on a Chromebook with these great tips and tricks

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only software.

Is your PC slow? Here's how to restore Windows 10 to factory settings

Computers rarely work as well after they accumulate files and misconfigure settings. Thankfully, with this guide, you'll be able to restore your PC to its original state by learning how to factory reset Windows.

These are the 6 best free antivirus apps to help protect your MacBook

Malware protection is more important than ever, even if you eschew Windows in favor of Apple's desktop platform. Thankfully, protecting your machine is as easy as choosing from the best free antivirus apps for Mac suites.

Give your eyes a break with these handy blue light filters

Filtering blue light from your monitor is a great way to make long days of work easier on your eyes, especially when it gets later in the day. You can use ones built into MacOS and Windows, or one of the third-party options.

New Apple patent hints clamshell-style foldable phone may be in the works

Apple has filed a patent for a foldable phone that suggests the company could be following in the footsteps of the likes of Samsung and Huawei. The patent describes a clamshell-style foldable phone with two separate sections.

Xiaomi Mi 9 will be one of the first phones with monster Snapdragon 855 chip

Xiaomi's next major smartphone release will be the Mi 9, and the company hasn't held back in giving us a good look at the phone, revealing the design, the camera, and a stunning color.

Galaxy Watch Active isn't official yet, but you can see it in Samsung's own app

Samsung may be about to resurrect its Sport line of smartwatches under a new name: The Galaxy Watch Sport Active. Leaks and rumors are building our picture of the device at the moment.

Stop buying old tablets, says Samsung, buy the new Galaxy Tab S5e instead

Samsung has launched the Galaxy Tab S5e -- the E is for Essential -- a reasonably priced tablet that includes many of the features we like from the Tab A 10.5, and the Tab S4. Here's what you need to know.

Bag yourself a bargain with the best budget tablets under $200

The battle for your budget tablet affections is really ramping up. Which tablet, costing less than $200, should be commanding your attention? We take a look at some different options for the budget-conscious.

What is Wi-Fi 6? Here's a look at the next evolution of the wireless standard

We're exploring the new naming convention for wireless standards, how it affects the devices you buy, and what the upcoming Wi-Fi generation is changing for the better.
Home Theater

Samsung accidentally leaks its new Galaxy Buds ahead of launch

It's been all but certain that Samsung would launch a successor to its Gear IconX wireless earbuds soon, but a newly leaked photo and recent FCC certification document seems to indicate that the debut is very close.

Focals succeed where Google Glass fumbled (but do we really need smartglasses?)

It’s been seven years since Google took the wraps off Google Glass. Now, we’re finally getting a modern-day equivalent we want to wear. North’s Focals combine subtle style with an intuitive interface to craft smartglasses you’ll…
Home Theater

Hi-res streaming audio service Qobuz arrives in U.S., threatens Tidal’s monopoly

For several years, Tidal enjoyed a monopoly on hi-res music streaming in the U.S. Now, French company Qobuz is here to offer some competition with a variety of monthly plans starting at $10 a month.