The Motorola Cliq XT is the only MotoBlur phone that lacks a full QWERTY keyboard. We missed a physical keyboard, but the Cliq XT made up for its absence with the full-featured Connected Music Player, which combines a handful of excellent music services in a single seamless interface.
Motorola Cliq XT: Pocketable Design
The Motorola Cliq XT's drab gray and chrome color scheme doesn't make it the most eye-catching phone on the block, but it is very comfortable to hold, thanks to a slim, light body; rounded corners; and a textured rubber back. Measuring 58x117x13mm and weighing just 130g, the Cliq XT is certainly the most pocketable of the MotoBlur phones (chiefly because it lacks a physical QWERTY keyboard).
The 3.1-inch display is a bit small by today's smartphone standards, though it matches the size (and at 320 by 480 pixels, the resolution) of the other MotoBlur phones' screens. Colours looked bright and accurate, but the display falls short of those on top smartphones such as the Droid.
Unfortunately, the Motorola Cliq XT's responsiveness was hit-or-miss. Tapping on an icon usually prompted immediate action, but scrolling was a bit sticky. In long lists, such as my contacts and my media files, the screen sometimes stuttered.
Motorola has been experimenting with different styles of navigational controls on its MotoBlur phones. The Backflip uses a behind-the-display touchpad. With the Devour, you get a small optical mouse oddly located in the lower left corner. But the Motorola Cliq XT has the best control arrangement of the three: a large, centrally located touchpad. You can use this touchpad to flip through multiple homepages or to navigate within a homepage. We found the touchpad responsive overall, and we liked how easy it was to use with one hand.
The handset's four standard Google Android hardware buttons - Menu, Search, Home, and Back - lie below the display. Occupying the left spine are a microUSB port and a tactile volume rocker. On the right, you'll find a Power/Lock button and a dedicated camera key. A standard 3.5-mm headphone jack sits at the top of the Motorola Cliq XT.
We're usually not a fan of Android phones that lack physical keyboards, because the native Android keyboard isn't especially user-friendly. But Motorola tweaked the Motorola Cliq XT's keyboard, spacing the keys out and making them a bit wider for easier, more-accurate pressing. In addition, haptic feedback helps make the keyboard feel more natural in your hand. You also get a nice visual confirmation of your keystrokes via magnified versions of the letters that you press (as with the iPhone's keyboard). Our one gripe is that the keyboard felt a bit slow, introducing a slight delay between when we typed and when it appeared on the display.
The Motorola Cliq XT's keyboard uses Swype, a feature that is quickly taking over full touchscreen phones. Using Swype requires a bit of practice; but once you get the hang of it, it's a useful alternative to tap typing. Swype technology lets you type faster and more easily with a continuous finger or stylus motion across the screen keyboard.
Motorola Cliq XT: MotoBlur Simplifies Social Networking
Like its brother, the Motorola Cliq XT runs Android 1.5 (the Devour, on the other hand, runs 1.6) with MotoBlur running over that.
MotoBlur in essence aggregates all of your social networks and delivers them within a seamless interface. It supports contact syncing across social networks, a unified inbox for your various email accounts, and live widgets for social networking. Another cool feature is its ability to track your phone via assisted GPS if the Motorola Cliq XT device gets lost. You can wipe it remotely, and all of your information will be saved on the MotoBlur's servers.
Aesthetically, MotoBlur feels a bit cluttered. Icons and font don't have the pop or the prettiness of the iPhone OS or WebOS alternatives. But if you're an avid social networker and you find the out-of-box Android interface a bit uninspiring (as many people do), MotoBlur makes a solid alternative.
Like all Android phones, the Motorola Cliq XT gives you access to the many useful Google applications (Gmail, Google Maps with Navigation, YouTube, Google Search, and so on). You can set up and sync your Yahoo account with the device and get full Outlook sync support, too.
The Android browser supports Flash Lite, enabling you to view certain video content and websites that likewise support that content. Full Flash Player 10.1 for Android is coming later this year.
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