As you may remember, a disadvantage of the Froyo OS was that it disabled third-party task killers. That's still the case, unfortunately, but the Cliq 2 has an option that's more efficient than killing apps individually in the Settings menu. The Task Manager feature (accessible through the main menu) lets you kill multiple apps at once, and you can set certain apps to end automatically when the screen times out.
We're also glad that the Cliq 2 offers a dedicated file manager, an option that Android gained only recently. There's also a battery manager and a menu for moving apps between the phone and the memory card. You'll still have to wait for Gingerbread to see how much battery a given app is using; hopefully Moto and T-Mobile will deliver that update soon. For more information on Gingerbread, see our Samsung Nexus S review.
The Cliq 2 comes with Moto's useful Phone Portal application, which serves as a central place for transferring content between your phone and a computer. Android phones always have had this capability through the main Settings menu, but we like the idea of a dedicated app with a more visual interface. The Media Share feature offers similar functionality for media files, and there's a DLNA app for streaming media files to other compatible devices via Wi-Fi.
Speaking of media, the Cliq 2 has a 5-megapixel camera that also shoots video. For still shots you can choose from five resolutions, use the digital zoom, tag your images with your location, and select one of four picture modes (single shot, panorama, multishot, and self-portrait using face detection). Editing options are located under the media gallery feature after you take a shot. Among other things, you can adjust the brightness and contrast, crop and resize your image, rotate its orientation, and add text and color effects. The camera interface is fluid and intuitive, and there's very little shutter lag. The camcorder shoots clips in four resolutions, and you get a similar set of editing options.
Photo quality is satisfying under most conditions. The flash offers enough light, and the camera adjusts efficiently, if a bit slowly, under bright outdoor light. The autofocus also performs reasonably well for motion shots, but don't expect wonders. Video quality is pretty average. There's some pixelation, and clips look a bit blown out, but they're not bad by any means.
Transferring media off the phone is easy using wired or wireless methods. We also welcome the Cliq 2's generous amount of memory. On top of the 1GB of shared internal memory, the microSD slot accommodates cards of up to 2GB.
For tunes and video, the Cliq 2 has a standard Android media player. It's still not as polished as we'd like, but it does its job. You'll also find an FM radio, an airplane mode, a song ID feature, a music video channel through YouTube, and an app for Slacker radio. As always, you can transfer music onto the phone from a PC or buy songs from Amazon.com's MP3 portal.
Of course, the Cliq 2 also offers the standard assortment of Google apps like Google Talk, Google Latitude, Google Places, Google Maps, and Google Maps Navigation. We're not fond of bloatware in the least, but the Cliq includes a few useful apps out of the box like the Android Kindle app, TeleNav GPS Navigation, and a Blockbuster app for downloading and playing movies. The latter option in particular is something we've needed on Android phones for a while. Naturally, additional apps are available through the Android market.
The Cliq 2's WebKit browser shows few surprises. You can create bookmarks, open multiple windows, and use pinch and zoom multitouch. It all shows up well on the sharp display and you have a lot of space for scrolling around. Keep in mind that the browser will default to a mobile page if one is available.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) world phone in San Francisco and Las Vegas using T-Mobile service. Call quality was quite good. When calling both landlines and cell phones, the audio was clear and free of any static or distortion. The volume could be a bit louder--we had some trouble hearing if we were calling from a noisy place--but that was the extent of our complaints. T-Mobile's reception was strong in our test areas, though it petered out deep inside buildings and in underground transit stations.
On their end, callers said we sounded fine. Most of our friends could tell that we were calling from a cell phone, but they reported satisfactory conditions during calls. A couple of people said there was a slight background hiss, though we didn't hear it on our side. Also, Moto's Crystal Talk Plus feature does a good job of canceling out background noise. We didn't have to yell even if we were calling from a loud location.
Speakerphone calls were quite clear and there was little distortion even at the highest volume levels. The external speaker has decent output, as well, so we could sit a few feet from the phone and still be heard. Callers could hear us most of time, and we didn't have any problems using voice-automated systems. Bluetooth headset calls will vary by headset model, but we didn't have any big problems.
The Cliq 2 lacks support for T-Mobile's "4G" HSPA+ network, so 3G (850/1700/2100) is as fast as you'll get. It's fast enough, though coverage can vary sharply by your location. The phone itself is also quite zippy. The Cliq 2 isn't dual-core, as we said previously, but it runs on a respectable 1GHz processor.
The Cliq 2 has a rated battery life of 7.9 hours of talk time and up to 13 days of standby time. Our tests showed that the Cliq 2 has a talk time of 8 hours and 1 minute. According to FCC radiation tests, the Cliq 2 has a digital SAR of 0.77 watt per kilogram.