By Daniel Webster | February 21, 2011 8:59 AM
The Motorola Cliq 2 is one of the newest members in the T-Mobile Android 2.2 line. The Cliq 2 features a unique honeycomb designed full QWERTY keyboard. The MotoBlur user interface will appeal to the social networking addict by simplifying ways to update status and share media. In this review we will cover the hardware, software and overall experience that the Cliq 2 has to offer. Read on to learn more.
Although the review unit that we received was previously opened, the box states on the side that it comes with a microUSB charging/sync cable, a wall charger, a wired headset, documentation and a 2GB micro SD card.
The hardware of the Motorola Cliq 2 is at par with other Android 2.2 devices that have come out recently. The unique honeycomb designed keyboard make typing a breeze. The keys are easy to press and positioned in a nice pattern, but some may find them to be flat and undistinguishable from one another. The screen is a 3.7 inch FWVGA resolution (480 x 854) LCD with a glass capacitive multi-touch digitizer. The powerhouse of the Cliq 2 core is a Texas Instruments OMAP 3620 running at 1GHz, combine that with 512MB of RAM and 1GB of ROM for a decent experience. In terms of auxiliary memory the Cliq 2 comes preinstalled with a 2GB microSD card which is expandable up to 32GB.
The Motorola Cliq 2 employs quad-band GSM and tri-band 10.1 Mbps UMTS 850/1700/2100. Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR, Wi-Fi b/g/n, aGPS, and an FM radio keep the Cliq 2 connected to what people want most in a smartphone. The integrated sensors included are a proximity sensor, light sensor, accelerometer, and digital compass. The camera is a 5 megapixel with a dual-LED flash along with a dedicated hardware button. The video camera records as high as 480p resolution (720 x 480) and works well for capturing DVD quality video to share quickly with family, friends, and associates. For charging and syncing the Cliq 2 utilizes the mobile standard of microUSB. There are two notification LEDs, one for messages and the other near the micro USB port to indicate whether the device is charging or fully charged. The Cliq 2 has a 3.5mm headphone jack for audio that also doubles as an FM antenna when a headset is plugged in. Fueling all of this great hardware is a 1390mAh lithium ion battery that Motorola states is capable of 7.9 hours of usage and 13 days of standby time.
The software operating the Cliq 2 is a combination of Android 2.2, MotoBlur, and only a very few T-Mobile proprietary applications. Any fan of the Android operating system will be pleased to know that all of the included Android 2.2 features are here like calendar, clock, navigation, live wallpaper, Google sync, browser, calculator, gallery, music, YouTube, and voice search. Motorola has not messed with the operating system too much with their MotoBlur user interface. Bundled with the Cliq 2 is T-Mobile’s proprietary software which includes such titles as:
AppPack This program allows the consumer to download free and paid applications that are only available to T-Mobile customers.
Blockbuster The Blockbuster app gives users the ability to buy or rent movies directly from the Cliq 2 without a monthly subscription fee.
Slacker Radio This free and premium paid for service allows the Cliq 2 to receive internet radio broadcasts over a cellular or W-Fi data connection.
MyAccount A free application that displays account information, usage, and bill balance.
TeleNav GPS This paid for services delivers turn-by-turn directions. The cost is around $10 a month and comes with a free 30 day trial.
Wi-Fi Calling This feature lets calls to be made over a Wi-Fi connection. The minutes used are charged the same as if the calls were made over a cellular connection. This could be very useful outside of the service area.
The Cliq 2 also comes with DLNA which allows the playback and sharing of media over a Wi-Fi network. Other software that is included is a network/device Files explorer, news, Quickoffice, Voice Dial, IM, visual Voicemail, and the Swype onscreen keyboard.
The Motorola Cliq 2 comes standard with a 5 megapixel camera that takes decent photos that may be used for sharing over social networks or MMS quickly. The camera features auto-zoom and has a dual-LED flash. The software of the camera allows cropping, rotating, geo-tagging, resizing, changing brightness, contrast, color saturation, and add various clip art and text. The video recording quality is good at 480p (720 x 480) and 30fps. To view a sample photo click here.
The performance of the Cliq 2 appears sluggish, at 1GHz it may give the impression to expect this phone to perform the same as similar 1GHz devices, but the Cliq 2 is just not very fast. Even after stopping all congruent applications from running, the Cliq 2 was only able to achieve an 855 on Quadrant Standard Benchmark. The speed was consistently just below the Samsung Galaxy S running Android 2.1.
Another obnoxious shortcoming of the Cliq 2 was that many apps (even the preloaded apps) would cause the device to freeze and eventually “force close.”
CALL QUALITY/NETWORK SPEED
One thing that Motorola has consistently done right from the beginning is provide a clear calling experience. The Cliq 2′s call quality is phenomenal either by holding the phone to the ear or using the speaker phone. The true stereo speakers make calls and audio playback superior to many other mobile devices.
The network speed is relatively fast on the Cliq2, boasting a UMTS 10.1 chip gives enough hustle to download files quickly and browse the internet without waiting for long load times. The average download speed in the Seattle metropolitan area was 1.5 Mbps down and 700 Kbps up. Unfortunately this device does not have the hardware capable of accessing T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+ network.
One habit of most Android smartphones is short battery life. The Motorola Cliq 2 has kicked that habit by combining power saving features in the software and providing an adequate 1390mAh battery. Motorola claims that the battery is capable of providing up to 7.9 hours of usage time, and 13 days of standby time. The power controlling software monitors and adjusts the power profile to maximize the amount of time between charges.
PURCHASING AND AVAILABILITY
The Motorola Cliq is available through T-Mobile at a subsidized price of $99.99 with a qualifying two-year agreement after the instant discount and mail-in rebate card have been applied. The full price to buy the phone out right is $399.99 through T-Mobile online. The phone should be available at most T-Mobile corporate stores and online.
+ Feels comfortable and slip-resistant in hand
+ MotoBlur makes updating social network statuses easy
+ Touch screen is accurate
+ Unique QWERTY keyboard
+ Call quality is superb
+ DLNA over Wi-Fi b/g/n
+ Battery life is excellent
- The performance seems sluggish
- Comprised mostly out of plastic
- Not capable of 4G/HSPA+
- Some users may not like the MotoBlur user interface
The Motorola Cliq 2 is by far a vast improvement over the original Cliq. It seems odd that T-Mobile did not include the hardware for the Cliq 2 to access their 4G network. The MotoBlur user interface is either a hit-or-miss with Android users, people that do a lot of social networking may find MotoBlur useful, whereas people that don’t may find it obnoxious. Although the hardware of the Cliq 2 is similar to other Android 2.2 devices being released, navigating through menus and accessing apps is slow.