Top critical review
21 people found this helpful
Promise, but significant problems w/Motorola silent
on November 23, 2009
Right now, this is a 2-3 star rating, I'll give it 3 since I do side a bit more that way.
Have had this phone since it was released on 11/12. I have now had 3 of them personally (white, 2 titanium) plus my wife's white. Have also known 3 engineers who have Android backgrounds (we all hail back to the G1 then MyTouch then the CLIQ). A few of us understand the well-documented SDK and are engineers. My wife is a 'typical' user just looking for a phone to work, but wanted to get her off the iPhone and ATT due to cost and her service problems (3G in the Tmo edge range and constantly dropped/missed calls in 5-bar areas, plus bars constantly going from 5 to 0 to 3 to 5 to 0, etc. in moments when in the midst of deep orange coverage metro areas. This happens with 3 other non-iPhones I have for family on ATT. NEVER seen this or had complaints w/the 4 other phones I have on T-Mobile).
Anyway, of these users, all have returned during the buyer's remorse period except me (call me an optimist with hope). I do like the phone and it's potential, but Motorola needs to do some serous work. All of the following I've personally experienced with four devices: 2 white, 2 titanium, 1 my wife's, the others mine as I return hoping for a better/improved one. I also have incorporated daily feedback of 3 others (which was consistent with mine and the forums out there).
- Very nice form factor. I love it and it did get my wife (briefly) off the iPhone, which has been impossible to do.
- Slide out keyboard - best I have used (but after a few days gets a bit 'wobbly', but seems to settle at that point.
- Backlit keyboard that auto-senses light conditions. Letters and dpad light as necessary. If you press the 'ALT' key, then numbers and symbols light until done. Very nice.
- Social network: if you use Facebook/Twitter/Picasa/MySpace, you'll *really* love this phone and motoblur:
- 5 screens, not 3 as on other Android devices. Load em up!
- Very fast 3G on Tmo's network. Side-by-Side tests against an N-97 and iPhone 3GS all with full bars and this is 4-6 times faster. That's a tmo benefit: not oversubscribed and they don't throttle.
- Other than periodic reboots, no dropped calls, great call quality - oh, and play w/your phone will talking: take a pic/vid, open email, open notes, etc.
- Voice Search rocks.
- Gmail integration (mail, contacts, calendars) all rock. I'm not sure what another reviewer means it's a disaster - never had trouble w/the G1 or MyTouch. Not sure what is meant by "push", but emails received show up nearly instantly just as Exchange ActiveSync does and sent emails go right away. Contact and calendar changes are synch'd immediately. Works great for me and since Android is Google's, you'd hope it would :-)
- Motoblur's on-line remote wipe is an awesome feature. Have used thrice when returning phones. It is great. (But I don't like the phone tracking that is in their portal you can't disable w/out affecting your phone).
- Spent 2 days playing with the DROID and the Cliq interface is nicer and generally seems snappier. The Cliq keyboard is far better and the unit doesn't look like a prototype they forgot to improve looks on before release. Oh, and Tmo's rates are less than a third of VZW's.
First, my wife:
- Battery life abysmal. She never uses wifi (set not to scan and not setup), no BT as it won't pair with any of our 3 cars ranging from 2009 to 2010 (very common complaint if you search), no use for GPS with Nav systems in all cars, no widgets (weather, blur, etc - she has not use for them - she has no facebook, twitter and definitely no myspace accts), 2 emails setup: gmail and work - work we dropped autosync and polls once per 4-hours. Very few programs (solitaire, bettercut, pandora), no wireless location turned out - no use, etc. After properly cycling her battery a couple times, she still had an issue of being nearly dead before noon! Battery life is a common complaint in reviews/forums and personal since between hers and the 3 I've had now, they are all the same.
The rest (since we are engineers very familiar with Android) and I go through 4-6 phones a year, rotation periodically so have strong background experience.
- Very, very poor battery life (no widgets, no motoblur setup, work email polling 4-hours, occasional GPS when I open maps, but stops pulling when navigate away and doesn't update anything if not in Google Maps (don't enter and use latitude, you'll notice location hasn't been updated for the amount of time you were out of latitude (e.g. I waited 3-days once and no update). This DOES work w/wireless tracking though, but I don't use as, unlike other Android phones, you have no choice but to send data to Google.
Regarding battery saving: answers from Motorola, T-Mobile and some others in forums equal neutering the phone: turn off 3G, don't use Wifi, don't use BT, keep screen dim, screen auto-off in 30-seconds (nice for reading something, eh), set auto-synch work email to Manual or 4-hours - don't use activesync, turn off google's sync until you need it. Huh? This is beyond perplexing. I've used many, many other smartphones with these features that last me 24-hours or longer (last one nearly 3-days and it was a multi-tasker ALWAYS with 3G/GPS/Wifi/ActiveSync on) and 2 other Androids that don't last me less than 12-15 hours w/everything enabled. If you have to do all this to a Cliq get it to last a "work day" - why have it? There's something wrong.
Battery == very common complaint.
- Cannot uninstall pre-installed programs that take up a lot of space on the phone and run periodically taking precious RAM. Who uses MySpace now? Installed, can't remove. There is QuickOffice, Tmo's MyAccount, Tmo's Mobile Backup, imeem, Many "Motoblur" apps such as Happenings, Tmo's My Album (who stores photos w/Tmo?), MyFavs (fat, ridiculous pig that has no icon and I don't have a myfavs plan), Social Messaging, Shazam (c'mon, neat at first, but I and others have just no need for it), Social Status, TeleNAV GPS Navigator (huh??? Don't need it and Android 2.0 has this - free), their version of a Weather widget, which never updates and takes 20-30MB of your RAM and so on. Most of the 3P apps are trials only and if you don't want them, don't pay, but they are 'stuck' on your phone. Very common complaint.
- Internal phone storage (where apps are installed on your 512MB ROM), out of box, you only have 201MB available. Seems plenty? Install what you want and shrinks fast and compare to MyTouche's 270+ MB. Further, if you "upgrade" an app, it doubles (or more) the amount of space required for it. It's not a true upgrade, it simple installs over the uninstallable version and take unnecessary precious space. Google Maps is a good example: ships w/an outdated version that goes from 1.02MB to over 4MB if you install the upgrade. Uninstall and it leaves the old version firmly planted. What happened to the concept of having on the phone what you want or performing legit upgrades/not "side-by-side" that simply take significant amounts of resources? Why can't I uninstall unused apps? Imeem, MySpace, QuickOffice, Telenav, Mobile Backup, etc.? Very common complaint.
- Well known and confirmed by a couple at T-mobile (tech support and a store manager) touch screen has "dead spots" and can be very unresponsive. Yet in certain other areas, far too sensitive. Common complaint with other users and in forums/reviews.
- Tmo's Mobile backup automatically sends all your contacts to T-Mobile. I was alarmed when I figured this out. I tried using their site to remove them. The two options are: "Remove from Phone" and "Remove from Web and Phone" - no way to disable or just remove from web. Tmo - even back to their tech support didn't know why ALL contacts are going over and not just new ones (well, they are all new when Gmail synchs em to phone). They also couldn't figure out why no options in Mobile Backup. This was not by consent either on phone nor on any of the contractual paperwork I received. No one I knew was happy with this at all. Allow opt-in AND opt-out, but don't disallow any option. Most I've checked with have no idea this is happening.
- MyFavs, MyAccount and Mobile Backup are always running in the background.
- Slide out keyboard does not have autocorrect/suggestions/etc. It will insert an apostrophe now and then. Screen (Android) keyboard, works ok here, but I and others didn't buy a phone w/a slide-out to have to use on-screen (which I disable since it uses a lot of resources). Common complaint.
- Outdated the day it was release. It was released with 1.5 (been around forever and 1.6 came out some time ago and makes very noticeable improvements). Many of the apps were versions behind. Map to bug fixes or 2.0? Motorola has been silent even with all the noise out there. Been told by a motorola rep and tech support at Tmo that they may never go past 1.5 and just fix the bugs. Aside from the new Google maps, many other advanced features in 2.0, I'd be OK with just bug fixes and some better optimization. Common complaint.
- Boot time is ridiculous - nearly two minutes! Good luck in those pinch situations and forbid that you need to turn on your phone to dial 911.
- Periodic reboots during calls or just using the phone. Not often, but very problematic when it happens. Common complaint.
- Bluetooth won't pair with A LOT of cars from Nissan to Land Rover to BMWs and I forget what else I've seen out there. Common complaint. Also won't pair with other BT devices - some ear sets (I went through 3), 2 of my computers (a Mac and a 2009 ThinkPad) and a pair of Nokia's BT stereo headsets I have. Common complaint.
- The notification light gets stuck on and requires shutting off in settings, rebooting then turning on again.
- If you are an Android user believing in its open AND upgradeable platform, you'll be particularly frustrated that Moto hasn't said anything about "yes we will upgrade", "no we won't - period" or "we won't upgrade, but we'll maintain and fix these bugs".
- Cannot disable the battery/memory sucking motoblur stuff. Sure, remove the widets, but 10s of motoblur services are "clogging" it up for you and hitting the CPU. (I have no idea how one review says to turn it off - perhaps remove accounts, but you can't remove them all and the service STILL runs).
- Poor media sound. I have to listen to movies/music nearly full volume to hear. If on a plane w/noise canceling Bose, still full volume that on other phones, I'd have to turn volume down! Tested w/out noise cancel and simply can't hear a thing on a plane. Very common complaint out there.
- 5MP camera w/auto-focus and vid recorder w/auto-focus. Very weak options for taking photos and even weaker on vid recorder. Useless in dim rooms even if you choose the "shade" mode. OK, outdoors. No flash - many phones coming with flash these days. This is a particular pain since I left a phone w/much more advanced w/dual LED flash. However, if you choose night mode, no flash needed and great pic. Not sure what's going on here, but needs work.
Overall, I have trouble recommending the device 'as-is' - too many bugs (more than I listed) and outdated phone when release (i.e. Android 1.5 and most of the built-in apps). Finally, w/out Motorola announcing anything on bug fix or upgrade plans, who knows what you'll be stuck with after spending $400 for this.