Words by Alex Bracetti
NAME: Motorola Cliq 2
PRICE: $99 w/ 2-year contract
THE BACK STORY: Motorola dominated this year’s Consumer Electronics Show with its lineup of 4G-smartphones and next-gen Xoom tablet. But somewhere in the midst of those huge announcements came the unexpected unveiling of its latest addition to the Cliq series: the Cliq 2. Combining the strong messaging platform of the original with the heavy business focus of the latest Droid models, Motorola has the intention of creating a best of all worlds Android phone. So where does the Cliq 2 rank among the Android elite? Read on to see the results…
• Business-ready features: Enjoy sick Exchange calendar features that allow you to forward meeting notices, book conference rooms, and dial into conference calls. There’s also Linkedin integration and the option to manage and edit Microsoft Office files via the QuickOffice app.
• Keyboard options: The physical keyboard for the Cliq 2 incorporates an interesting new spider-web design that leaves every key feeling like a bubble. They keys may seem too small, but we found ourselves typing faster with it than with some other physical keyboards. Also helpful are the Internet keys (@, search) and the designated arrow keys. You can also opt to use the virtual keyboard that features the popular Swype function.
• Pre-loaded entertainment goods: As a DLNA-enabled device, the Cliq 2 lets you stream and share content wirelessly with the Media Share app. Other media-friendly features include the Amazon Kindle and Blockbuster OnDemand apps, FM Radio, and Adobe Flash Player 10.1 for viewing Flash videos.
• Social network integration: As with most Android models, users can transform any one of the seven home screens into their own social-network hub. Manage emails and customize filters for social accounts through home-screen widgets without directly connecting to Facebook or Twitter.
NOT SO DOPE:
• Poor call quality: Motorola’s built a legacy on creating premium hardware with great call value, but the Cliq 2 falls short of carrying on tradition. The reception was mediocre at times and we experienced some static interference during a few calls, demonstrating a weak noise-cancelling system.
• Bulky design: The silver boarder surrounding the 3.7-inch display is a decent touch, as is the nice, weighty feel. But during regular use the phone felt cumbersome and clunky.
• Weak battery life: Keep your eyes aimed at the power bar when editing Office documents and updating Twitter posts because heavy usage will quickly drain the handset’s battery power. So pack your charger before leaving the crib.
FINAL SAY: In terms of build quality, the Cliq 2 is a vast improvement over its predecessor. The inclusion of its first-rate business features, combined with user-friendly navigation puts it squarely in the fight against other Android workhorses like the Droid 2 and Droid Pro. Considering most Android models announced at CES ran on the new Gingerbread OS, it’s disappointing to hear that this handset is stuck with Froyo. But with the promise of an OS update along with T-Mobile's faster network, the Cliq 2 is great for those looking to combine work with play.