Motorola CLIQ XT Review

Interface & Functionality:

Honestly, there wasn't any noticeable differences between the MOTOBLUR interface that's seen on other Motorola Android devices. The only thing that we did notice was the CLIQ XT did not allow us to use it in landscape view – tilting it to either side did absolutely nothing; so we were stuck using it the old fashion way. All the typical things we enjoyed with MOTOBLUR is intact – it allows for a near seamless integration of popular social networking services like Facebook and Twitter. Not only do they consistently update, but the interface allows users to access some common features directly from the homescreen rather than having to launch a separate application. As a whole, there is still some lag in its performance that's more prominent when a bunch of apps are running in the background – there's even some choppiness as we move between the 5 homescreens. Undoubtedly these issues may stem somewhere around MOTOBLUR, but nonetheless distracts us from the overall usable experience of Android 1.5 on the CLIQ XT.



We have to admit that the CLIQ XT eclipses most of its higher-end Android counterparts in the messaging department – even those that offer a physical keyboard. Choosing between the Swype and Android keyboard, the latter proved to be hands down our most favorite thanks to the combination of its quick response and automatic text prediction. We found speed typing to be quite accurate and responsive on the CLIQ XT as it easily puts it ahead of the Android pack and plays close to the level of performance that the iPhone exudes. Not ending at its superior usability, it takes some cues to what we've seen previously on the iPhone – the ability to place the cursor to a specific location by holding down the cursor and dragging it to the desired area. All in all, the Motorola CLIQ XT easily takes the gold in the messaging aspect of Android.



While web browsing on an Android powered device continues to slowly evolve, the Motorola CLIQ XT does offer up some surprises that make it stand out. First and foremost, it supports multi-touch so you can zoom in or out by using the pinching gestures – although we did find that pages weren't optimized for mobile use, meaning that there is some heavy scrolling and panning required to read text on the phone as it does not rearrange it to fit the width of the page. Sweetening the experience for the CLIQ XT, it surprisingly offers support for Flash Lite so that YouTube videos will automatically play within the browser. Despite its literal desktop like performance, the lack of automatically rearranging text so there's less scrolling makes it stick out like a sore thumb – still, it's a decent experience.



Camera & Multimedia:

The camera interface is pretty simple, but one nice feature is that when you take a picture it displays your location information and integrates that into the filename. Settings are fairly sparse; the user can adjust resolution, geotagging preferences, color effect, toggle auto focus and choose from automatic or preset white balances. Performance wise, we were thoroughly impressed with the amount of detail and color saturation found in our shots thanks to the 5-megapixel auto-focusing camera. Although it performed well in areas with good lighting, the CLIQ XT's LED flash produced some average looking shots that look a bit overexposed when taking a photo at a distance of 4 feet or closer.



Unfortunately videos taken on the CLIQ XT were nowhere close to the level of detail seen when taking photos – but we do regard it as being passable. With a maximum shooting resolution of 480x320 at 24fps, video quality was okay with its pixelated look,  presentable looking colors, audible sounds, and playback with no lag.




At first we assumed we were going to be treated to the standard Android music experience, but we were amused to notice that the Connected Music Player had some rich features to substantially set it apart from others. Not only does it display the common items like artist name and track title, but it even will automatically download the associated album cover if you don't have one. To show its level of depth, the music player is powered by TuneWiki that even allows for lyrics to be displayed as the song is played – almost something like a karaoke. Audio quality from the speaker was neutral – nonetheless, it didn't seem to strain or crackle much on the highest volume setting.

We tested the playback of several videos on the CLIQ XT, as it supports MP4 files encoded with H.263 and H.264. Even though the display is physically limited to 480x320 pixels resolution, the device could play videos of up to 640x272 resolution with 1080Kbps bit rate. Videos played smoothly on the CLIQ XT without any noticeable hints of slowdown or lag to ruin the experience. Just like the other MOTOBLUR devices we've seen already, the CLIQ XT follows in the same footsteps by offering a good video playback experience.



If the 2GB microSD card that's pre-installed with the Motorola CLIQ XT doesn't seem as much for you, then it's nice to point out that it will accept microSD cards up to 32GB in capacity.

Connectivity:

Using it internationally for voice calls won't be an issue for this quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) phone, but it'll happily work on 3G speeds over T-Mobile's network since it has tri-band UMTS (900/1700/2100 MHz) connectivity. In addition to offering Wi-Fi for an alternative wireless connection, the CLIQ XT features Bluetooth 2.0 to allow simple pairings to headsets and file transfers to other devices.

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