I’ve Got Cliq Envy

My wife almost didn't get her Cliq from me for Christmas
My wife almost didn't get her Cliq from me for Christmas

When I was a young boy in Catholic school, I was always taught that envy was one of the Seven Deadly Sins.  As of yesterday, I am heading to the confessional because of the early Christmas present I got my wife this weekend, the Motorola Cliq from T-Mobile.

As a rule, I am an early adopter. I love to get my hands on the latest greatest technology, and really, who ISN’T like that?  I got the G1 near launch and was in love with it from the start.  As time went on, my frustration grew.  The handset has tremendous potential but it’s crippled by anemic hardware.

Being only one year through my contract, I am not able to get any of the new handsets that have released, but there was light at the end of the tunnel, my wife’s contract with Verizon was up, and we could switch her over.  Essentially this meant I could find her a phone that I would love to play with.  After looking at the MyTouch 3G and the Cliq, I opted for the Motorola handset because of the social application integration that the Cliq sports.

Once we worked everything out at our local Wal-Mart, I took the Cliq home and cracked it open. I planned to set it up for my wife and give it to her, but she almost did not get her phone. I was that impressed with it.

My biggest beef with the G1 is the fact that there is a lot of stuttering and hesitation when trying to do different things.  Like… if you have too many widgets on your home screens.  Because I am on the go a lot with my job, I like to have things be responsive and easy to use.  To make this happen I have to strip down my handset to a utilitarian set to get any kind of zippiness or speed.  When I turned on the Cliq, the first test that I wanted to put it through was to see how it was going to handle all of the social apps and the custom MotoBlur applications that are built into the phone.

After taking the ten or so minutes to get the MotoBlur, Google, and Facebook info set up, the magic began.  That is when I fell in love, started to sin in my heart, and begin thinking of ways to keep the phone from my wife.  I thought to myself, “Maybe I could tell her that I dropped it into Italian salad dressing, that worked once before.”  Please, let me plead my case.

This phone literally is almost everything and a bag of chips.  Except for ONE near deal breaker for me, this phone sports the following things that I simply love:

  1. MotoBlur.  Wow.  Simply awesome.  I like social networking and I like to see what is going on with the people in my friend circle.  My job involves being with people a lot, so to see what is going on in their lives is a huge thing for me.  Right there on the Cliq’s first home screen I had all my wife’s friends status there, I could update HER status and I could flick through all the different status updates that were streaming in, all without having to launch another app  or wait for a mobile site to load.  Love that.
  2. A UNIFIED MESSAGE BOX!!!! WHAT!?!?  Yeah, you heard it, a unified message box for all the different accounts that this phone can handle.  In the setup phase of the phone, I entered my wife’s gmail account, our home email account and her Exchange account from her job.  Along with ALL those emails, the unified message box also displayed her text messages as well.  I loved this convergence of info because often email communications spill over into text messages and vice versa.  In addition, conversations were sorted into the different contacts that they were being held with!  Meaning that if I was talking to Joe Smith via email, text and Facebook message, all those things were in one place at one touch of my finger.  Very powerful.
  3. This phone is fast.  Plain and simple.  I know that there was not a MAJOR hardware boost with this handset, but it handles apps well, and handles multiple apps open well.  I loaded Pandora up on her phone and started it up on a quick mix.  On my G1, Pandora takes a LONG time to start up, then another wait to tie into the network and start playing, the Cliq ran Pandora almost immediately, and handled it playing along with the Pandora widget with no problems.  My G1 cannot do this well, it can do it, but it is frustrating.  Other applications ran with no problems, browsing the market and even the web felt faster and more fluid than my G1.
  4. The little things.  Motorola worked hard in my opinion on the little things to make this handset feel like a step up.  By this I mean things like the camera that runs nicely without stutter, takes pretty nice pictures and just works.  The fact that the phone automatically imports your facebook contacts with all their profile pictures as the default setting.  It feels like Motorola looked at all the customization that everyday users were making on their phones, and made those things standard on the Cliq.

Now for all of that, there is one thing I DON’T like about the Cliq, and that is the fact that the flavor of Android that is on the phone is custom and comes from Motorola itself.  As of yet, the Cliq has not gotten the 1.6 Donut update.  As such, it does not have Google Navigation yet – something that I use a LOT on my G1.  There’s plenty of confusion as to when Donut is coming to the Cliq, but nothing seems definite. This is the only thing that would stop me from getting this handset.

Well, conviction and guilt did set in and I gave my wife her early present.  I even showed her how to use it.  Every night she brings it home I look at it longingly and hope that maybe she won’t like it.  That’s when I’ll lay claim to the little piece of awesomeness.  If you have an upgrade available on T-Mobile, I recommend you check out the Cliq.  I really think you will be impressed.  Hats off to Motorola for making a handset that is relevant.  For the first time, I feel like Android powered handsets may really be iPhone killers.

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