Let's see ... CLIQ, Droid, Devour, Backflip, and now CLIQ XT. I've been seeing A LOT of the Motorola PR people over the past few months. In the past few weeks, even, Devour, Backflip and CLIQ XT have dropped in rapid sequence, establishing Motorola and Motoblur as the first on the block to get messaging phone-style Android devices out to the major US carriers (Sprint notwithstanding).
Just because you're first to the game doesn't mean you're going to win it, however. So how does CLIQ XT, the latest in the MotoBlur assault on America, stack up? After precisely one minute less than one full day with it, this is what I can tell you:
- The phone ships with Android 1.5 installed, just like Backflip, instead of 1.6 like Devour. Not really sure why. Kind of a drag. But a 2.x upgrade is forthcoming, at least.
- Performance-wise, CLIQ XT is roughly on par with CLIQ and the original Devour, though it seems to have been spared the lag that marred my Backflip loaner. This ain't no Nexus One, but the device isn't maddeningly slow, either.
- The phone feels good in the hand. CLIQ XT is lightweight but not flimsy, plastic but not super cheap feeling, and its rounded corners and relatively slim profile should render it easily pocketable.
- You get two back covers in the box: One dark grey/black and textured, the other purple and smooth. Too bad I had so much trouble taking them on and off.
- Multitouch is good. Out of the box CLIQ XT offers pinch-and-zoom in both the Web Browser and Photo Gallery, and despite my not being entirely sure when I'm supposed to zoom in on a photo and when I'm instead rotating it, the system works well. The capacitive touch display is pretty responsive, all in all. So far. After less than a full day. I mean, barely less, but still less.
- CLIQ XT's trackpad is so much more useful than Devour's optical D-Pad I don't even know what to say. Except that it's bigger, centered instead of offset to the left (great when Devour's keyboard is open, lousy when it's shut), and bigger. Did I mention that it's bigger? It's true. And so it's more usable, even if it's not quite perfect.
- A 3.1" display isn't really all that small, but Motorola managed to make it look small by surrounding it with a lot of plastic on the CLIQ XT. There's just too much bezel here. I'm not sure how you get around that, given the phone's proportions, but as with the other recent Motoblur phones, I found myself wanting less plastic and more display on XT. The MotoPeople hinted that more Droid-style devices (larger displays, less bezel) are headed to the US later this year.
- XT gets two new apps (well, more than two, but two of note, anyway): Swype and Connected Music Player.
Swype is that new dance craze that's sweeping the land. First you stick your finger out, then you trace a line through the letters in whatever word your spelling (as opposed to tapping them one by one). Swype works well, and works well on CLIQ XT, too. The first time I tried Swype I didn't like it, but the MotoPeople helped me to understand that because I'm a "two thumb typist," I probably won't like Swype as much as the single finger typists for whom Swype was made. That makes sense. And, it turns out, most of you are single finger pointers when it comes to using touchscreen phones. So there you go. Meanwhile, I can turn Swype off and use the standard Android keyboard instead. Or replace it with something else after I ask John Walton what Android keyboard I should use. I can't keep up.
Connected Music Player is a music player app with integrated streaming radio, music video search & playback, TuneWiki integration, and a Shazam-style song ID tool. You can listen to me try to trick the song ID tool into thinking I'm even remotely on key in my unboxing video.
- The rest is pretty standard smartphone fare: 5 MP camera, 3.5mm audio jack, 2GB microSD card slot, microUSB port, GPS, 3G & WiFI, Bluetooth, and so on. How cool is it that that spec list consitutes "standard fare" these days? Remember when I used to complain about phones that had weird non-standard headphone jacks? That used to be EVERY phone. Hooray for progress!
More on XT as I use it more. I think I might have to come up with some suitably entertaining way to compare the new Motoblurs. Like a Dogfight video or something. Hmm ...