Today we’re going to be taking a detailed look at the Motorola CLIQ 2 from T-Mobile. I’ll do a quick run through of the hardware specs then I’ll get to the most important parts of our in depth review which details some of the differences that differentiate the Motorola CLIQ 2 over its Android competitors.
Be sure to check out our in-depth hands on video review below!
Now that you’re familiar with the handsets hardware specs , let’s take a look at some of the design differences that you are likely to notice on the exterior of the phone. One of the first things you’ll notice is how heavy the phone is. It has a heft to it that right away makes its high build quality obvious. Everything about this handset feels premium, from the weight, to the lack of flexing-related noises, to the great feel of the keyboard slider. The power button is on the top of the phone and is somewhat recessed and is a little difficult to use. Nevertheless it still functions as expected, despite requiring a bit of extra pressure from time to time. There were a few occasions where I pushed the button and nothing happened.
On the right side of the device you have the volume rocker which is also somewhat recessed and is a little difficult to use, but I never encountered any problems with it. A feature that is very nice is the silence switch that is located right below the volume rocker on the right side, not very many Android handsets have physical silence switches and it definately comes in handy walking into meetings, dinner, or movie theaters. Toward the bottom of the right side there is also a 2 stage camera button which had very nice travel. The bottom of the device is pretty plain but there is a nicely hidden microphone port on the inside of the top slider which makes for a very clean bottom. The left side of the device has a Micro USB port as well as a small orange LED light that tells you when it is properly plugged in.
The front of the device has the 3.7 inch FWVGA TFT screen that is 854 x 480 pixels. This resolution is a little bit different than your average WVGA display which is 800 x 480 pixels. Motorola prefers to use this resolution which is called Full Wide VGA, it is supposed to properly display widescreen DVD content without having to crop either side. This widescreen aspect ratio leads to a more portrait feeling screen that makes it seem smaller than it is. When comparing side by side with my myTouch 4G you can see the screen seems significantly smaller due to the widescreen aspect ratio. The myTouch 4G’s screen measures out to being 1/8″ wider than the CLIQ 2 and only 1/16th taller but that small difference is very noticeable. The screen is plenty bright, however not as bright as an SLCD or SAMOLED screen. Still, the colors have a good representation and are very accurate.
The phone itself has 4 capacitive touch buttons as is standard fare among Android phones. These are of the standard variety, with home on the outside and menu on the inside. While I I prefer physical buttons because then you’re sure when you click them, I’m sure many prefer capacitive buttons. I did notice that sometimes I would miss the button and have to retouch it in order to get the desired action. However it is possible that the buttons were just not responding when touched. There were times when the phone seemed to lag, and this might have contributed to these issues with the capacitive buttons. Nevertheless, this was sometimes unpredictable. Above the screen on the left side is the normal proximity sensor and light sensor. Above the screen on the right side is the LED notification light which does have the ability to display multiple colors to signify different types of notifications, which is nice. Above the center of the screen is the earpiece, which worked very well and provided clear and loud sound to hear the caller. The only thing to note about the recessed earpiece is that it is a lot like the one on the Motorola CLIQ XT, and as such, tends to gather a lot of pocket dust which can detract from the overall exterior appeal if not cleaned every so often. Around the front perimeter there is a chrome bezel, which is very appealing, while the rear of the handset is textured plastic.
This textured plastic on the rear seems to have been designed to increase grip, but sometimes can still be a little on the slippery side. Also on the rear is a 5 megapixel camera with dual LED flash. This camera records in 720 x 400 resolution which, while good, is surprising given that so many phones are now capable of 720p video. I was very surprised that Motorola didn’t rush to put in a front facing video camera, given how it’s becoming standard on phones these days. I know the handset isn’t on T-mobile’s faster 14.4Mbps, or 21Mbps network. Its theoretical limit is 10.1Mbps, but I’ve done video chat over Sprints 3G EVDO network at 700Kbps, so speed wouldn’t have prohibited it on the CLIQ 2. The bottom of the rear of the phone had two speaker ports. The speakers provided very loud volume when listening to music as well as provided great voice guided navigation.
Removing the battery cover is somewhat difficult and intermittently takes some work to get removed, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Knowing that your battery cover is very firmly attached really exuded the quality workmanship that went into the Motorola CLIQ 2. Underneath the battery cover you have a Micro SD card slot that is exposed and can be accessed without removing the battery. Having a hot swappable Micro SD card is a very nice bonus that is not on every single new handset.
Flipping out the keyboard reveals a 4 row keyboard that has a honeycomb design.This particular keyboard does not have a dedicated row of numbers but it does have directional arrow buttons on the bottom right as well as a dedicated okay/enter button. Looking over the layout it was pretty standard. We did find it a little odd that Motorola did not give the question mark a dedicated button, while the “@” symbol and backslash both got dedicated buttons. I understand that when inputting email addresses those dedicated keys would come in handy, but I’m sure you’d end up using a question mark more often in everyday emailing and texting. The keyboard was okay to use, however it felt a little small with about a half an inch on either side of the keyboard left as dead space. Looking over the design these areas are needed as this is where the slider track is located on the bottom side of the upper portion. On the rear of the slider there is a small Motorola symbol that lights up and I thought it was a nice touch that adds a little flare. Overall, this handset has a very quality feel even though it is made out of all plastic and does not have any metal accents on the exterior.
Lets take a look at the software side of living with this device. Motoblur overall was a very pleasant experience. Motoblur has come a long way in since it was first introduced. The feel of the CLIQ 2′s Android 2.2 version was very nice. Most of the experiences with the device are your normal Android experiences that you’ll see on most Android devices. But there are a few bonuses snuck in here and there throughout the handset. One of the nice additions that the newest version of Motoblur has brought to us are the resizeable widgets. Most of the Motoblur widgets can be resized to take up different amounts of space on the screen. Whether you like to have Weather, Calendar, Notes, Text Messaging, Facebook or Twitter widgets on your desktop, they all have a little bit of a different feel than what stock Android offers. You also have the option in the settings area to make double tapping the Home button launch a specific application or perform some unique action. This helps increase efficiency significantly in everyday multitasking. There is also an option in the Settings area where you can control the sync settings called “Battery Manager” in order to increase your battery life.
Other features that are communication based are the ability to change the “Voice Quality” in the Call Settings, Essentially, you can change the EQ on the voice of the caller to make it easier for you to understand them. It was a very handy option that makes it so you can tailor the phone to match what sounds best for your ears. Another option is, due to the fact that ‘physical’ Send and End buttons are a thing of the past, is that you can set the Power Button to act as an End key for current phone conversations. The last notable feature I could find regarding communication is the WiFi Calling feature. While I really like this as an option, it doesn’t get much use. If you’re in an area with poor T-Mobile service you can access WiFi to make a call. Still, the talk time does still count against your plans minutes.
The web browsing experience was nice on the CLIQ 2, and really responsive. There were a few unique features that were added to the web browsing experience that I did enjoy in everyday use. One I enjoyed in particular was when viewing bookmarks. When the phone is held in landscape, it offers a horizontal carousel style whereby you can flip through and view thumbnails of the pages you have bookmarked. This view only worked in Landscape mode and rotating the screen to portrait led to an automatic switch back to list view. The added bonus of Thumbnails didn’t stop there, for when you add a bookmark to your desktop instead of the icon being a small icon signifying a “web bookmark” it was actually a small thumbnail of the webpage itself. It was a nice little feature that I hope I see on more handsets in the future. Something that seemed like a good idea is the “Save Webpage” option, where you can save a webpage to your SD card for later viewing, which I found very handy.
One of the key features on a true Smartphone is the ability to copy, cut and paste. Thankfully, copying is as simple as holding the shift button on the physical keyboard, touching a spot on the screen and dragging to select the whole area you want to copy. To make things even better, Motorola brought it one step further than I’ve seen on any other Android phone. Upon pasting the selection to a different area you are presented with a list of all the previous copies or cuts you added to the clipboard recently. This was very nice, and is a feature I hope to see on more handsets in the future. It really makes this particular phone a productivity powerhouse.
The camera on the CLIQ 2 took some pretty good pictures. The flash is definitely sufficient, but the lack of ‘touch to focus’ was a very big con for me. I love the ability to touch the screen to focus on a specific area. Still though, The CLIQ 2 uses the two stage camera button to focus only on the center of the screen. Thankfully, it has very nice photo editing options. We found that it had the ability to also take decent night time photos, which is a feature that most camera phones don’t have. We were also quite impressed with the video quality, despite it being 480p.
This is one area the Motorola CLIQ 2 really excelled in. Google Navigation worked very well, and the CLIQ 2 was able to locate our position very quickly, which was likely assisted by the Digital Compass. It was able to plot its course very quickly. The bright speaker announced directions very loudly and clearly, and was able to be heard over road noise and a radio at medium volume. However, I did notice a bit of a slowness to the Navigation application that I hadnt noticed on many other Android devices. There was a lag to it that added a half of a second of reaction time to most actions. Unfortunately, this led to mispresses and the accidental launching of routes, but is a minor complaint.
Overall, I was very impressed with this device. If it had a front facing camera, and a slightly faster processor, it might actually be the one to replace my myTouch because I was that impressed with it. The only other real deal breaker for me personally is that I prefer physical navigation buttons on the front of my phones. But anyone who doesn’t find these features to be that important, go pick one of these up. I was pleasantly surprised with the Motorola CLIQ 2.
Thanks for checking out our review, and make sure to check back with us for more reviews of other hot handsets!