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Cliq XTremely Slow
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).
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".