Customer Reviews: Motorola MB501 Cliq XT GSM Unlocked SmartPhone with Android, 3.1-Inch Touchscreen, 5 MP Camera and QWERTY Keyboard - US Warranty - Black
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on March 12, 2012
- I used to work for T-Mobile: I know all about this phone, and thus knew what I was getting into.
- I rooted this phone, flashed it with a custom rom, and overclocked the processor: This voids the warranty and shortens the shelf-life of the phone itself.
- I purchased this knowing I was going to get rid of it soon: If I had expected to keep this phone for the long haul, I'd have scored it much lower.
- I don't participate in any social networking sites like facebook or twitter: Theoretically, I"m not the target audience for this phone.
- This isn't the first Android device I've owned: In addition to having had access from every Android device T-Mobile has carried from 2009-2011, I have personally owned an Optimus T and Mytouch 4G Slide.

With the preliminaries out of the way, let's get started:

This phone comes preinstalled with Motoblur on top of Android 1.5. The two biggest highlights about motoblur are its backup facilities (which until Android 2.0) were mostly unreplicated. With it, you are able to backup a lot of the data on the phone to a cloud-based Motoblur account, remotely wipe the phone, and even track it. Nowadays, such functionality can be requested through a service from TMobile, or added via an application from the Market (or now, Play Store). The other point of Motoblur was to create synergy between your favorite social networking sites and the phone. Contact photos, message streams, etc. are integrated seamlessly with Motoblur. Unfortunately, Motoblur has the side effect of drastically slowing down the phone.

Aside from Motoblur, there weren't really any standout features about this phone when it was released. Other Motoblur phones (The original Cliq, Cliq 2, Backflip (not TMobile), all had hardware keyboards. While it could be said that the omission of a keyboard is a feature, being that it reduces manufacturing cost, I'd say it crippled the phone.

As it isn't recommended by service providers or manufacturers to root your phone, I won't be publishing instructions on how to do so here. Rather, this portion of the review is to detail the advantages of rooting this phone, and explain how doing so prevented me from rating this device 1 star.

In addition to allowing me to upgrade Android from version 1.5 to 2.3 (thus making this phone somewhat current), rooting the phone and flashing a custom rom provided the following improvements to the phone:
- Faster: Not only was the processor overclocked to 768MB, but I set up a profile that allows the frequency to be changed on demand in order to save on battery life (Being that I rooted the phone a couple of hours after receiving it -- yes, I was that annoyed by the stock image -- I can't comment on original battery life).
- More apps: Because I am running a newer version of Android, more software is compatible with the device, including Netflix.
- No Motoblur: After removing Motoblur, performance on the phone improved dramatically. Before rooting the device, the phone stuttered on screen transitions. Afterward, these transitions are smooth as butter. Note that there are images with Motoblur still in tact, for those of you that liked the interface.

- Inexpensive: This phone is a couple of years old, so it only ran me a bit over $100.00 used.
- Lightweight: Due to its lack of a hardware keyboard and smaller screen, this phone is really light.
- Hackable: while T-Mobile decided to pull back the Android 2.1 update (originally ran Android 1.5), it's been out so long that the adventurous (and patient) of you can flash a custom run that runs up to Android 2.3 on it.
- Back Cover: I like the texture of the back cover. It's kind of got this rubberized plastic feel to it, which makes the phone feel more comfortable in my hand. While it's probably better to have a case on the phone, I do feel less paranoid about dropping the phone because of this.
- Touchpad: the touchpad is a bit larger than that found on other phones and also has a bit of a textured feel. I like this, because I feel as though as I have a bit more control over scrolling. With the smaller, slicker touchpads, I often find myself over-swiping.

- Slow: With a 528Mhz processor and 256MB of ram, you can't be too surprised by this, though. As an aside, I'm beginning to think that it is not worth purchasing any Android device that doesn't at least have a single core 1Ghz processor and 512MB of ram. A phone with these kinds of specs would be better suited for something like the earlier versions of Symbian. In fact, The stock image with Android 1.5 and Motoblur was slower than the custom rom image with Android 2.3.
- Removing the Back cover: The back cover is nearly impossible to get off. Motorola even had to release an instructional video showing customers how to do this, if that's any indication.
- SD and Sim card slots; In order to insert either of these, you have to move a thin, fragile piece of plastic out of the way. I'm not certain if these are supposed to be removed or not, but I figure any part of a phone that requires me to look at a manual to determine if the piece belongs on the phone or not couldn't have been well thought out. If the back cover weren't so stubborn, I might argue that they serve well to ensure the cards remain in place if the phone is ever dropped.
- Hardware Buttons: Aside from the fact that they aren't back-lit, they feel a bit stiff. This might prevent accidental presses, but it also seems to produce a bit of fatigue in my thumb (I find myself pressing the menu and back buttons quite often when playing with my phone).

Bottom Line
If you are looking to buy your first Android phone, stay away from this one. If you are looking for a cheap Android phone, still stay away from this one. If you are comfortable with rooting your phone and don't expect to be using it as a primary device for any extended period of time (say more than a couple of months), then you might be OK. You may also consider this device if you are an Android developer that would like to profile your application on a low-end device without having to bother with the emulator. As for me, this device is functional enough to keep me from pulling out my hair, and I get through those frustrating moments by telling myself, "At least you aren't stuck with that flip phone and T9 anymore".
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on April 16, 2011
overall, a pretty good phone, esp for the price (approx $150 w/out contract).

a few important things: doesn't work w/ ATT 3G, it's frequencies are only T-mobile's 3G bands (note, in order for 3G to work, the phone must have a "3G on a particular band" - though ATT and Tmobile's freq spectrum overlaps, the each have specific 3G bands).

the android operating system isn't the newest or best, some websites don't work well - others not at all.

the phone is ONLY wireless (wifi) G... my home network is N, and the phone recognizes it, but can't join.

it's a very solid, comfortable to hold phone. Probably the best i've ever had (far better than iphones and slippery and/or brick-like droids). The (very slightly) textured rubberized back works great and it's not cheap feeling at all.

all in all, a solid phone - but not the cutting edge, esp for the price.

**** and it does NOT have a keyboard as some pictures show!
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on December 22, 2011
Edit: Do not buy this phone
This phone with CM7 is effected by the random battery drain bug outlined here: [...]

You should only buy this phone if your aim is to get a good deal on first-gen hardware. By hardware I literally mean just the phone, software not included. The extras that came in the box are obviously used (battery, useless quickstart guide, wall usb adapter), but the phone itself seems brand new as advertised.

This is what you should be interested in, and it's great!
-it's thin
-can overclock CPU to about 700 MHz
-great battery life (I can go 3 days without charging with standard dumbphone-type usage)
-extremely bright "torch" (camera LED)
-256MB of RAM of which I'm usually able to keep about 40% free
-decent amount of internal storage for apps (never had a problem)
-the D-pad is awesome for selecting tiny links in browser
-5MP camera
-can't really get a higher screen resolution on a 1st gen phone
-wifi works well (I don't have 3G)
-GPS receiver works pretty well, and you don't even need data if you start the trip from a wifi hotspot and let it cache everything.
-standard headphone jack on top

The included software is Android 1.x and Motorola will not support an upgrade even to 2.1, however, I bought this phone specifically because Cyanogenmod supports it. Rooting and upgrading the ROM is pretty quick and easy, and after you do it will run the equivalent of Android 2.3 almost flawlessly. The animations stutter here and there, but I didn't expect much better on a 1st gen CPU without any GPU.

This phone will work pretty well as an ipod replacement if you give it a huge microSD card. My experience with a class 4 SD card and overclocked CPU is that you still have to use the PowerAmp app because all other music-playing software will skip here and there. PowerAmp uses a more advanced decoder and has thread priority and buffer options to eliminate the skipping.

A few random things:
Skype didn't work for me over wifi (sound is choppy). The screen is kind of tacky such that your finger doesn't slide over it as well as it does on more expensive phones. I'm planning on getting a screen protector to solve that. Also, the battery on this phone is spec'd at 1420 mAh, it's advertised here at 1400 and what you actually get is 1390. It's still a lot though.
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on August 14, 2011
I am Highly dissapointed after buying these Quench Cell phones (2 of them). My primary intention was to have Skype application running on my cell phone and when I tried to download it, guess what ?? Android 1.5 doesn't support skype and there is no intention from Motorola to upgrade to 2.2 or 2.3 So now I have to enter the world of unofficial stuff to make it works or distroy it the new Cell in the process. I found many people with the same problem. Amazing !! and of course dissapointed. If you expect to have Skype on this one. Think it twice or surf the web. Amazon has nothing to do with this. The buying process worked perfectly
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on August 19, 2012
Was not as described. Qwerty keyboard is what attracted me and found it was a touch screen when it arrived. Had a BIG chip in outter case,not mentioned in ad, conacted seller she just argued with me.. kept but do not use got a BB instead. gave phone to my daughter
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on August 4, 2011
I'm not giving this phone a 5 star rate because I bought it a couple of weeks ago, so no much time to test it, but until now it has been great.
- Touch screen response is good.
- Wifi signal, great, I've seen other phones sitting right next to the router and still don't getting wifi signal, this phone gets the signal anywhere.
- Fast menu
- Has multiple desktops that's always useful.
- Camera of 5 mp I think is more than enough for a phone, if you want more go and buy a camera.
- The delivery time was great.

- Haven't found them yet.

In general I think that is the best phone you can get for the price. There are tons of other phones with more features and stuff but obviously you will have to pay more.

Really satisfied.
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on May 8, 2011
This phone was purchased for me from this website and i love it. I had a blackberry phone this was too much hassle for me so when i got this phone, it was a huge relief and everything i wanted in a phone.It takes a few days to to learn how to use some features on the phone but once you get the hang of it,you'll absolutely fall in love with it.Great phone.
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on May 5, 2011
It's certainly much better engineered than the blackberry in terms of parts and assembly. The Sim card has to be inserted while the Battery is taken OUT as a safety precaution not to short-circus the phone. Overall, I have to say the Droid phone is much much more powerful than the iPhone and Blackberry, after used both before. Contacted the seller regarding international warranty but never got call back.
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on February 25, 2014
This is an excellent phone, good sound quality. It has a lot of functions and comes with a good basic set of apps. I recommend it for those who don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on a phone with a lot of functionality they won't use.

My main criticism is that this seller did not include an SD card with the phone.
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on May 21, 2011
Very good phone, android runs fine, the screen is very tough and sensitive. The only bad thing is that the batteries run down too fast.
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