Pros Compares very favorably with the Hero. See detailed comparison below...
Cons Might not be as great as a $400 phone, but heck, it was free!
Summary I read every review and forum I could find, looking for the perfect calling plan with the best "cheap" Android phone available. The phone did not need to be the latest greatest, but it had to work well, and satisfy my desire to pocket an all-inclusive multi-media device for decent picture taking and music listening experiences, as well as real web browsing, email, messaging, and of course have decent call quality.Sorry about the confusing typo in my comparison... the line item should have read:
I initially chose the HTC Hero due to Sprint's best-valued Family Plan, and because the Cliq XT overly emphasized social networking that I cared nothing about. All reviews and photos of the two phones showed the Hero with a well-designed home screen, while the Cliq XT appeared as cluttered with "crap".
Although we both liked the Hero phones and Sprint Family Plan, we couldn't accept the limited Sprint coverage in our area. Fortunately there was no penalty to return the phones after 25 days of use.
I then ordered two Cliq XTs with T-Mobile Family Plan (zero upfront cost), directly from T-Mobile online at 2pm, paid $12 for overnight shipping, and received my activated phones the next day.
Here are some of my comparative observations, which despite my extensive research, I did not know about until after living with the phones; listed in no particular order:
- Music and other audio through the front-facing speaker sounds much richer on Cliq XT in comparison to Hero,important to me in light of absence of an audio-equalizer on all Android phones.
- Cliq XT "connected" music player is cool. I especially like the synched lyrics, and the excellent responsiveness while using 7GB of music files.
- Call voice quality is significantly better on Cliq XT in my experience, when compared to Hero.
- Keyboard accuracy and ease of text entry is much better on Cliq XT, and Swype is a bonus feature which also works well with practice.
- Cliq XT touch screen is responsive and there is little sluggishness in comparison to Hero in my experience.
- Cliq XT screen quickly rotates to landscape in either direction, which may appeal to left-handed persons.
- "Beautiful Widgets" from Android Marketplace (~$2) adds some cool Hero-like home-screen features to the Cliq XT which I liked. It was easy to delete unwanted social networking widgets and simply not register social networking accounts, so the Cliq XT functions smoothly and is now configured exactly as I wanted.
- Very convenient screen brightness adjustment widgets actually work on Cliq Xt, unlike on Hero. (I could not use the Hero's automatic brightness feature because the screen would become unreadable for my old eyes in low-light, and the constantly varying brightness was annoying.)
- Voice Command & Voice Dialing feature on the Cliq Xt actually works very well, whereas this feature is virtually useless on the Hero in my experience.
- Bluetooth pairing with Motorola S9 headset worked perfectly on Cliq XT, sound quality is good, hands-free voice dialing worked perfectly, with no need to touch the phone in my pocket.
- Cliq XT does not have the susceptibility to dust accumulating under the screen's glass that one of my two Hero phones suffered in just 2 weeks of home/office usage (apparently a common Hero problem).
- Cliq XT screen has less glare and is more resistant to fingerprint smudging than Hero.
- Camera picture quality on Cliq XT is far superior to the always blurry photos I was achieving with Hero. I can't emphasize this point enough!
- There is much less non-removable bloatware on the Cliq XT, resulting in 164MB of free memory space out-of-the-box, available to me to downloaded apps/data. (This despite the apparent 32MB memory-size advantage of the Hero.)
- The YouTube app actually works on the Cliq XT, but not on Hero.
- Simple cable connection of Cliq XT to Win7 PC with no software to install, and then Hero acts as a disk drive for easy file copy.
- The Cliq XT offers choice of using a traditional security passcode to lock the phone, plus the lockout time can be set to occur immediately when the screen sleeps, or after a specified period independent of the screen going to sleep. The Hero only has the poorly designed Android "lock pattern" feature, where you trace a shape on the phone screen, which then often remains quite visible as a fingerprint smudge, and is therefore a possible security risk.
- Unlike the Hero, the Cliq XT stores incoming email and text messages to precious internal storage memory and not to the SD card. Messages should be stored to SD card which would allow me to retain a much larger sampling of past email and text messages.
- Very difficult to remove the battery cover on the Cliq XT, especially the "purple cover" in my experience, which simply would not come off, even when using the "thumb leverage trick" shown in Motorola's video on this subject.
- Like all Android phones, the lack of a global text-sizing feature for us middle-aged folks, is a major "oversight"!
In summary, I will say that I much prefer the Cliq XT over the Hero.
Updated on May 10, 2010
- Simple cable connection of Cliq XT to Win7 PC with no software to install, and then Cliq XT acts as a disk drive for easy file copying.
We are still loving this phone! It's hard to put it down! There really are some very useful, well-designed apps available for free or just a couple bucks... pretty amazing!
Updated on Jun 27, 2010Another month and a half have passed and I figured I should update this review...
My appreciation of the Cliq XT is undiminished, which is a first for me when it comes to owning smartphones. I grew to dislike my previous 3 smartphones (including two earlier WinMo phones) after living with them for this much time, but my Android Cliq XT continues to perform well and is a heck of a lot of fun.
I have added a 16GB (low-cost class 4) SD card, which works well, and has allowed me to store my entire music library, about 15 full-screen high-quality feature-length movies for on-the-go entertainment, and still have 2GB for taking photos and videos.
Updated on Jun 27, 2010I have been getting about 36 hours of typical usage on a single battery charge, which is actually better than my previous smartphones. I will say that much of this is standby time, as I am not a heavy caller or texter and am not using any of the Motoblur social networking features. I still do "play" with the phone quite a bit though and admit that extended video/movie playing, use of GPS map apps, extended use of the excellent camera, streaming of music or TV, and other similar functions will deplete the battery in just several hours. This does not surprise me, and I have quickly learned to manage this. I purchased one of the T-Mobile-branded combination car/home chargers with the AC wall plug that folds out from the side, so I can easily recharge on-the-go when needed.
Updated on Jun 27, 2010I find that most of the optional Android apps are well-designed and do not use excessive battery power when they are not the active foreground app. I also find that the Android OS manages apps just fine, and although I tried various "app killers", I had curious phone problems when using them, and find that the Cliq XT works perfectly without an app killer. I have not found a need to take any draconian power-saving steps, and prefer to run my screen at maximum brightness (with 15 second timeout), leave GPS turned on all of the time (since it only uses significant power when an app is actively using it), and I leave WiFi enabled (so that I am automatically connected when in range of my usual hot spots).
Updated on Jun 27, 2010I continue to find the Cliq XT to be very responsive and have few complaints of sluggishness, although I remind you that I am not using the automated social network updating features of Motoblur. The Cliq XT is not perfect in this regard, but is better than my previous smartphones, and will hopefully get even better with the upcoming Android 2.x upgrades. Speaking of these long-awaited upgrades, although I have found Android 1.5 to be remarkably stable, with no crashes or reboots, I am as anxious as most others to get the enhanced feature set and performance that Android upgrades will bring. I look forward to having access to even more great apps from the Android Marketplace too. Motorola and T-Mobile really do need to work out a faster way to release these upgrades, if they intend to keep their customers happy and enthusiastic about their products and service.
Updated on Jun 27, 2010As for Android Apps, I continue to be amazed at the number of free, very useful, and well-designed apps that I am able to download and use regularly. I have settled on about 40 so far! A few of my free favorites in no particular order: AppBrain App Market (which allows easy management and sync of my phone's Apps through a simple web browser interface on my my PC); "Backflip Light" (which allows me to use the camera's LED flash as a bright flashlight); White Noise Lite (which acts as a "sound machine" for masking background noises with rain/beach/train and other soothing sounds when I sleep or study); Timeriffic (which allows me to schedule certain phone functions such as automatically putting the phone ringer in silent mode when I sleep); Bubble Level (a very accurate electronic level, handy for picture hanging, etc.); myRemote (allows me to remote-control my Home Theatre Media Center PC from my phone);
Updated on Jun 27, 2010More favorite free apps... Google Sky Map (I can finally identify the cool things I see in the night sky simply by pointing my phone at the sky); SIPDroid VoIP (my cell phone acts as an actual business telephone extension to our office SIP phone system over WiFi and 3G); Pandora Radio (customizable commercial-free streaming music anywhere); PicSay Photo Editor (powerful photo image editing right on the phone);TV.com (free streaming of TV shows for added entertainment on-the-go); GPS Essentials (a suite of powerful GPS/location tools including accurate electronic compass, customizable dashboard displaying speed/altitude/location/direction/etc., GPS mapping, waypoint management, view of GPS satellite location/strength, camera view of your target destination); ConvertDroid (every conceivable measurement conversion); KeepScreen (allows control over display screen sleeping, easily allowing automated control over which apps need to have screen stay on bright when in use);
Updated on Jun 27, 2010More favorite free apps... Alice (keeps me informed about tour dates and local performances by my favorite bands); OurGroceries (allows synchronized shopping lists between all family members so as to avoid duplicate or missed item purchases); Places Directory by Google (easily find and get details about local banks/bars/restaurants/shopping/gasoline/attractions and more); EStrongs File Explorer (for easy file management of my SD card); EasyTether Lite (useful for connection of my laptop PC to the internet via my phone's internet connection, admittedly a slow connection but very useful in rare instances when I must connect to the server at work over VPN while away).
Pros MotoBlur, Multi orientation, purple backplate, no physical keyboard, lightweight, thin, 3.5mm headphone jack, side charger plug in area, 5 screens, RSS feeds, 5mp flash camera & animations.
Cons 1.5 Android OS therefore no Google Maps Beta, Twitter has no retweet option, memory card under backplate, no battery usage info, backplate difficult to come off, licorice backplate.
Summary trying to figure out what phone to get next was difficult until this one came out. And so far, so good. I thought the 1.5 OS would keep me form purchasing it much less keeping it. Google Maps Beta will not work on 1.5 and this was my most used app. Coming off the G1 with 1.6, it was truly a step backwards to me. But with such nifty gadgets like MotoBlur and a 60 day trial of TeleNav, I decided to go all in. I am ever glad I did as the purple backplate looks better to me than the licorice that is included as well. The USB/wall charger are one unit that separates into 2 pieces when you need to connect the phone to the PC. The backplate is a little difficult to get off and the memory card is under there in it's own door like area. The phone has a standard 3.5mm jack for headphones at the top of the phone. Sides are used for volume rocker, camera and on/off/standby buttons. Also on the side is the plug-in are for the wall charger which is far better than the bottom of the phone if you ask me. Gone is the trackball and it's been replaced with a pad like area. This as well as the menu, back, search and home keys are very flush and great to the touch. I would download the user guide from Motorola's site for extras not found in the start guide that comes with the phone. Another feature on the phone is Swype - slide to type vs. tap to type each letter. So far, it's cumbersome for me but I think if you play with it, it probably gets easier to use. When the new OS does come out on this phone, it will be a 5 out of 5 star provided the kinks that usually happen with new OS additions are minimal. MMS picture sending seems to be a woe right now that hopefully will be worked on for the future. I don't see myself retuning this phone as it has been very fun and educating at the same time. The UI is very crystal clear even though the roundness of the screen gets used up in blackness. The Android Market is not updated either. If you're coming from 1.6, you might not find you apps, paid ones as well. Contact developers to get some assistance with this. Very satisfied even though I didn't think I would be because of the OS. MotoBlur has me hooked as it connects all of the social sites in one place. How cool is that!!
Pros The "MotoBlur" UI is nice at first. Very easy to navigate, and it's easy when all your social networking sites are bundled straight to your phone.
Cons The "MotoBlur" feature causes this phone to PERMINATLY be stuck on 1.5. The Blur feature also pulls in ALL your contacts/friends/people your following on twitter into your contacts. So you can very easily have over 250 contacts
Summary This phone was nice when the salesperson told me about it. It was nice when "the update was comming soon", But after about 9 months, and 4 replacements later (random rebooting problem that is a reoccuring problem the XT), you realize what it is. It's for people who want Facebook, Twitter and MySpace on their phones, and who dodn't care about anything else. If that you, then get this phone (or better yet the Moto Charm, it's on A.O.S. 2.1). If this is not you, stay away, stay FAR away, or you will be VERY disatified.
Pros motoblur is good at first b/c it links up everything from twitter to facebook accounts, also is able to export/import contacts easily.
Cons this is the slowest phone i've ever had.
Summary Playing with this phone at the store, I thought it would be a good phone and also a unique phone b/c I never owned a full blown touch screen before. After maybe a couple weeks, I noticed the phone becoming intolerably slow. For example, when I leave the phone on standby during work and I come to play with it during lunch, the phone will take forever in response. So i'm sitting here trying to at least send a text message and I'm pressing all these buttons, the phone finally responds by making all the selections I had made into one quick heck of a mess. I can barely text on the phone b/c it's so slow.
Save yourself the money and do not buy motorola phones. There's so many reboot problems and even after I reboot, the phone will send OLD messages over again to your contacts. Horrible horrible horrible. I had to suffer for a year and now I can upgrade a partial and I cant wait b/c the first thing I'm gonna do after getting a new phone is smashing this old phone with my car.
Pros runs Android
Cons NO suppourt from moto, constant crashes whe ringing...