Motorola Cliq 2: Ready for Business and Fun

When the , I was pretty impressed with it. It was the third Android phone to debut in the United States and the first from Motorola. What I liked best about it, though, was how much thought Motorola put into its design. The affordable Cliq 2 ($100 with a two year contract from T-Mobile; price as of 1/18/10) makes the first Cliq feel like a child's toy.

Grown-up Design

Design-wise, the Cliq 2 is sturdier with a more sophisticated look. It is a bit less plasticky than the original and feels sturdy in hand. The face of the phone is black, but there is a chrome border surrounding it. The rubberdized batter cover keeps the phone from being completely bland-looking and provides a nice grip. The 3.7-inch 854-by-480-pixel TFT display takes up more of the real estate on the face of the phone, but there are the standard four touch-sensitive keys below it: Menu, Home, Back and Search. Measuring 4.5-by-2.4-by-0.57 inches thick, the Cliq 2 is a little chunky due to the slide-out keyboard.

This extra bulk is okay, though, because the keyboard is actually quite good. I loved the original Cliq's keyboard with the dome-shaped keys and the Cliq 2 definitely improves upon this concept. The Cliq 2's keyboard sort of resembles a ; in fact, a product manager told me its design is inspired by nature. Rather than individual keys with space in between them, the keyboard is one solid piece. It is sort of hard to explain, but perhaps you can see what I mean from the pictures. I was able to quickly bang out a long message with no trouble at all. It is definitely one of the better physical keyboards I've used.

Brand New MotoBlur

The new MotoBlur interface running over Android 2.2 is interesting. It is toned down a lot from the first iteration of MotoBlur, which we saw on the original Cliq and phones like the Backflip. Still, you need to tweak the settings a bit or else the interface is social networking overkill. MotoBlur hooks into your Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Google and other accounts. When you first set up the phone, MotoBlur will ask you to link these accounts. Beware: do not link an account unless you check it every single day. Your phone's homescreens will become inundated with updates you don't care about and it will quickly get very annoying.