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T-Mobile's Android-powered Motorola CLIQ XT with MOTOBLUR review

Review by Todd Haselton on Wednesday March 17, 2010.

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T-Mobile's Motorola CLIQ XT with MOTOBLUR is the people's feature phone. Powered by Android and teeming with social networking and multimedia features, it's a solid device for first time smartphone users upgrading from feature phones. Hard core users may find it under powered, and it's not geared towards the corporate bunch, but it's certainly worth a recommendation.

The CLIQ XT is marketed by Motorola as the QUENCH in other parts of the world, but the software features are largely the same.

Physical Aspects

It'd be easy to think of the CLIQ XT simply as a CLIQ without a keyboard. But really, that's not the case, and there are a lot of good changes that make it an attractive and feature rich Android smartphone. I'm a big fan of the original CLIQ for its keyboard, but I love the slim form factor of the CLIQ XT. It measures 116.8mm x 60mm x 12.4mm (4.59in x 2.36in x 0.48in) and weighs 120g (4.23oz), which is slightly longer and wider than the original CLIQ but also 3.6mm thinner and 47 (1.67oz) lighter.

The matte black CLIQ XT feels light and comfortable in the hand, and its rounded chrome colored edges remind me a lot of the Samsung Instinct HD. It's one of the smallest Android devices I recall holding, which makes it look and feel a bit like a feature phone, despite its smartphone hardware and capabilities.

The front of the CLIQ XT has a 3.1 inch 480 x 320 pixel HVGA capacitive touchscreen(INFO) display. I had no trouble viewing the screen under direct sunlight with the brightness cranked to full, although you'll sacrifice battery life by doing that. Text was sharp and images were colorful, although I think an AMOLED(INFO) screen would have been an excellent addition. Just like on the Motorola DEVOUR, I can't help but think that the display looks just a bit too small given the size of the face. It's by no means a deal breaker, but I think Motorola could have squeezed another quarter-inch of screen real estate onto the phone. An optical trackpad below the display serves as your main means of navigating around the device's menu structure, should you choose not to use a finger on the touchscreen. It works similarly to the optical trackpad on the DEVOUR and on BlackBerry devices, but it's much larger and textured. It works well enough for selecting small links on websites, but I prefer 5-way navigational pads that allow for better gaming and a more tactile experience overall. The optical pad can be depressed to make menu selections, but the feedback is a little too faint for my tastes. Around the optical pad, there are four standard Android icons: menu, home, search, and back. Like the optical pad, these offered little feedback; I prefer more key travel.

In line with the faux chrome decor, the volume keys on the left side of the phone are chrome colored, and they sit in an easy-to-reach spot about an inch and a half above a micro-USB charging port. There's a conveniently placed 3.5mm headphone jack on the top of the phone, which saved me from a jumbled headphone cable more than once, a chrome power/lock button on the right side of the phone, and a camera quick-launch key. All of these keys worked well and were easy to tap without looking.

The back of the phone is home to a 5 megapixel autofocus camera and an LED flash, which the original CLIQ lacked. The black back cover of the phone can be swapped out for an included purple cover. In theory, that is. That's because it takes the patience of a monk and the brute strength of a warrior to remove the back cover. There's a small button that you have to depress to lift the cover, but it barely works. After 10 minutes of scratching the button up with a my fingernail, a paperclip, a pen, and then finally a fork, I was able to remove the cover. And unfortunately, you need to remove the cover to access your microSD card, too. I've spoken to a few people that also had this same problem, so it wasn't just my review unit.

At the end of the day, I'm a hardware keyboard kind of guy but the CLIQ XT's Swype virtual keyboard and enhanced Android keyboard are very good and extremely easy to use, even for hardware QWERTY fans like me. Swype lets you slide your finger from one letter to another to spell a word, and it's incredibly accurate. Like magic, when you lift your finger, the word you traced on the keyboard appears in your text box. For websites, I preferred to tap-type, and you can do that either on the Swype keyboard, or the roomy standard touchscreen QWERTY. The keys are larger than on the CLIQ's touchscreen QWERTY, too, so it's much easier to type quickly and accurately. It's not very intuitive, but you can switch between the two keyboards with a tap and hold for a few seconds of a finger in a text input box.

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Barry @ 12:05:48PM EDT on Friday April 23, 2010

very well done review

Mobilephonehut @ 2:52:02AM EDT on Monday April 26, 2010

Many, many, many features available on this Motorola phone. Attractive display, feels solid in the hands, easy to operate, fast operation, speaker phone is incredible, sounds great, good camera, many good apps.

Jacob @ 10:49:49AM EDT on Monday April 26, 2010

Excellent review; went and purchased the phone.

CessARG @ 9:09:35PM EDT on Sunday July 18, 2010

The way You took the photos don't help the pnone. You never have to take photos against sunlight. Sorry for my English! Anyway good review!

DaveyWPG @ 10:01:56PM EDT on Saturday September 25, 2010

Don't waste your time buying this if you are thinking about it upgrading. Motorola has decided not to put updated Android OS upgrades into this product you get Android 1.5 and that is it !!! That means no Flash if you are on the web... so that cuts the web down to what half? In my mind the phone shoud sell for $49.95 total and do not get into a three year plan like I did. I was Totally suckered in by Rogers

About the author

Todd Haselton
Todd is a senior editor at MobileBurn and works out of his home in New York City. He covers news for us and also writes reviews. You can follow him on Twitter at @RoboTodd

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