During the course of this review, we’ll be discussing varying advanced aspects of the Motorola Cliq XT from T-Mobile, such its social networked music player, its Swype texting capability, its iPhone-like pinch-and-zoom photo gallery capabilities, and more. But none of these really matters. The Android-powered Cliq XT, an update of last fall’s Cliq, is aimed at a specific customer: the social networker, some whom spend most of their mobile day reporting every moment of their earthly existence (or commenting on other’s banal blow-by-blow) on Facebook, texting friends, sending pictures, and updating their blogs. For these folks, the Cliq XT’s otherwise unique collection of functions aren’t necessarily superfluous, but certainly won’t be primary purchase factors. But XT’s other social networking features may make it attractive even to casual Twitterers.
Features and Design
Like the original Cliq (for simplicity sake, hereafter referred to as C1), XT runs Motorola’s Motoblur, Motorola’s innovative (and still unmatched) social networking aggregation interface. All of your social networking streams – Twitter, Facebook, texts, etc. – are displayed in separate thought balloons scattered across the XT’s screens.
Once you enter your Gmail, Facebook or other social networking account details, your usual address book contact details are merged with relevant data from those services, including photos of your contacts, happenings, updates, and blogs. Motoblur is the cleverest method yet for keeping abreast of the growing number of social media sources we seem to be accumulating. We’re not big social networking guys, but XT’s intuitive Motoblur is addictive.
It’s one negative (other than drawing you into social networking more than you otherwise might), is that the thread bubbles blot the screen like thunderclouds covering an azure blue sky on an sunny day. Or worse, there’s little room left on your five home screens for application icons, which means you’ll be pulling up the menu for almost every other Android app and phone function.
Physically, the XT is lighter than the C1. Way lighter, thank goodness. By eliminating the slideout keyboard, Motorola has shaved 1.5 ounces and 0.12 inches in width off from the C1 – not an insignificant difference when the phone is sitting in the bottom your pants pocket.
Otherwise, there are otherwise few differences between the XT and the C1. Both have 5-megapixel cameras, but the XT adds an LED flash. Both have 3.5mm jacks on top, volume toggle and microUSB jack on the left perimeter, power and camera buttons on the right.
Motorola’s Cliq XT inexplicably subtracts an external ringer switch, and also inexplicably adds a touch navigation pad, which seems redundant since the XT sports a 3.1-inch touchscreen. Motorola’s rationale: You can see and move what’s on the screen without your fingers being in the way, and it reduces the chance of fingerprints (even though Motorola has added an anti-smudge coating).
Also added to the XT is a Google search magnifying glass icon, a welcome “why didn’t someone think of this before” function.
The Cliq XT’s rear is more tightly textured and rubberized than the C1. But try as we might, we could not pry off the back cover to get the microSD slot. The XT comes with a 2 GB card pre-installed, thank goodness, but good luck trying to replace it with a larger capacity card.
Like the C1, the XT runs on Android 1.5, which means the same five home screens.