Mar 15 AT 6:18 PM Taylor Wimberly 34 Comments

T-Mobile Motorola CLIQ XT review


Launching later this month, the Motorola CLIQ XT is the newest Android device from T-Mobile. This phone features many similarities of the original Motorola CLIQ, but there are some notable differences. Has Motorola made enough improvements over the original CLIQ to win us over?


Hard keys and touch pad

Form factor: The biggest departure from the original CLIQ is the subtraction of the physical keyboard. As a result, the CLIQ XT is extra thin (XT?) and feels much nicer in the hand (or pocket). We were never that big a fan of the CLIQ’s keyboard layout, so we can’t say it is that big of a loss.

The CLIQ XT features the same 3.1 inch touchscreen along with almost identical hardware of the original device.

Motorola has improved the button layout on the front of the phone by adding dedicated keys for Back, Home, Menu, and Search. A touch navigation pad is located between the buttons and it can also be clicked. The touch pad has a nice textured coating and we had no issues navigating around.

Dedicated camera, power, and volume keys are located on the sides of the device along with a 3.5 mm headset jack and micro USB port.

Thin little guy

Styling: Two interchangeable battery covers are included with the device. Customers can choose from a soft-touch black cover or a glossy purple back. We don’t normally see handset makers include two battery covers so it is nice to have a choice.

Unfortunately, the CLIQ XT has the most annoying cover design I have ever seen. I broke my fingernail and dropped the phone a couple of times trying to swap the back cover out. It takes two hands and extreme concentration to pop it off.


With Motoblur

OS: Our biggest gripe with the CLIQ XT is the Android 1.5 firmware that powers the device. This outdated version of Android will prevent you from installing the latest apps and I’m surprised to see it still being used on new phones. Motorola is planning to update the original CLIQ to Android 2.1 this Q2 2010, so hopefully we will see a matching firmware for the CLIQ XT.

Motorola has included Motoblur which is their custom flavor of Android. It offers additional features like social media integration and mobile backup, but it is starting to show its age. Newer versions of Android (2.1) now include multi account support and integrate easily with social networks like Facebook. Hopefully, Motorola will roll out some new features for Motoblur when they update to the Android 2.1 firmware.

For more information on Motoblur, visit the official Motorola site.

Bundled apps: Just as we saw with the CLIQ, Motorola and T-Mobile have decided to bundle several Android apps with the CLIQ XT including MySpace, Quickoffice, Slacker, Swype, TeleNav GPS, and a few others. We appreciate the effort to include some cool apps, but Motorola has blocked the uninstall option for these programs.

Android phones are notorious for their limited internal storage space for apps, so it is disappointing to have someone else dictate how that gets used.


The CLIQ XT includes a 5 megapixel camera with flash, auto focus, and digital zoom. Taking still photos with the CLIQ XT produced excellent results. The pictures look clean and crisp and they are comparable with ones I have taken on my Nexus One.

Sample photos:


close up


Sample Video: We shot a quick sample video and you can find the results below. The CLIQ XT can in no way compete with the HD video capture of the Nexus One, but it gets the job done. If you want a phone primarily for video, pass on the CLIQ XT.


FM radio: Not many Android phones have a working FM radio, so it is nice to see Motorola include one with the CLIQ XT. Users must plug in the supplied headphones to launch the radio application and it appears they operate as the antenna. Our demo unit was missing the headphones, so it was difficult to fully test this feature. We tried several spare headsets and experienced mix results.

Flash: First generation devices like the CLIQ XT will not support Flash 10.1, but Motorola has included a version of Flash Lite with their phone. Flash Lite is based off an older version of Flash so some objects work and some don’t.

We tried several different Flash sites and some loaded, but the experience was generally disappointing. Flash ads slow the browser down and Flash games are hard to play because they are not designed for the small screen.

Multitouch: Google did not support multitouch APIs till Android 2.1, but Motorola has implemented some gestures in the CLIQ XT. Both the browser and gallery have pinch zoom controls, but Maps does not. At least CLIQ XT users can experience some multitouch gestures, but they will have to wait till Android 2.1 for full support.

Video review


So which phone is right for me?

I may be over simplifying things, but I think we have two types of customers:  those who own Android phones and those who don’t.

If you have purchased a previous Android phone, there is virtually no reason to consider buying this phone. The specs are from last generation and the software is outdated.

For those that are new to Android, the CLIQ XT is a nice phone and I would suggest it over any non-Android phone that T-Mobile offers. However, Android has so much more to offer and a wave of new phones is around the corner. Waiting just one month could result in a faster phone with better specs that runs the latest version of Android.

Basically, the CLIQ XT would have been competitive if it was released a year ago.

T-Mobile has yet to provide the full retail pricing, but that really has no bearing on our opinion. The original CLIQ retails for $399 ($99 w/ 2yr contract), so we expect it to fall in that same range.

Update: The Motorola CLIQ XT is now available from T-Mobile for $129 with 2 year contract or $329 off contract.

Why is this phone rad?:

  • 5 megapixel camera takes excellent photos
  • Touch navigation pad works well
  • External speaker is super loud
  • Pinch zoom controls are a nice addition to the browser and gallery
  • FM radio – not many Android phones have one
  • Two interchangeable back options
  • Flash Lite – not the full version, but better than nothing.

What about this phone makes us sad?:

  • Android 1.5 – unable to install latest Android apps
  • Last generation specs – same CPU as the T-Mobile G1
  • Video capture quality is lacking
  • Cannot remove bundled applications
  • Removing battery case is an exercise in frustration


See all the pics on Flickr or peruse them below:

4435520708_c3cb55e6cc_b 4434745919_b3c968b4c9_b with Motoblur Hard keys and touch pad 4434984373_9d9294cb87_b 4435751254_b740bcaee5_b 4434978013_0dce07eebe_o 4434980335_76b6ea6379_b 4435757254_87deb7e294_b 4434981343_f05300c17e_b 4435760142_cbab4e0e49_b 4435769196_732f4b8665_b thin little guy 4435767948_20c89c4046_b 4434987645_8806fccc4c_b 4434988669_2ef33ae9ed_b 4435764794_447d0a4aa4_b 4435771470_94abefb526_b 4434997621_4a7ede7660_b 4435782924_6c406b0a5c_b 4436060698_7486ba7db2_b 4436061956_f7af7b86cb_b 4436063168_b52a057622_b 4436064330_758a1c82f5_b So which phone is right for me? 4436067160_3b25725cb2_b 4436066386_fef23f625f_b distance close up detail

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • Frosty Goodness

    I like the RAD/SAD comparison. Sounds more fun than Pros/Cons. Oh and good review. I agree with the assessment of there being a slim market for this phone.

    • jeen

      I concur, No price point has been announced, but expect something similar to the current T-Mobile CLIQ which debuted at $199 with 2 year agreement and now sits at $149. Opinions:

      • Derrick

        @ Jeen: Current android users are not going to pay 199.99 for an upgrade. I had trouble selling the first Cliq b/c current G1 users saw that there was no difference except the Blur feature. I am a Event Rep for Wal-mart in the south east and i have seen the Cliq drop from 199 – 78.88 i sold MORE at 78.88 then at 199.99.

        The retail might be @ 199.99, but I hope Wal-mart drops it for 98/99.99.

        BTW! I will be receiving my Cliq XT in the mail soon as my Demo. =)

        • http://Website thescarletnecklace

          It will be listed as $90 with a 2-year contract and $199 with the even more (plus)

          • http://Website thescarletnecklace

            *$99 with at 2-year contract

  • http://Website G__

    Pay apps are now in Canada! I am so Happy (my comments do not seem to be posting sorry if this ends up as spam)

  • http://Website Ruben

    Hate to give it to you, but breaking a nail? Funny.

  • http://Website allan

    i wonder if t mobile will let u trade out the cliq for this because its eye candy.. and its also the apple of my eye at the moment lol..

  • http://Website Garet

    I seen that it is going for $99 bucks with contract with that price I can see it selling.

  • http://Website JAG

    i like it, i wanna have it

  • http://Website Drew

    This was a reasonably fair review imo. But you did forget about the Motorola Connected Media player which is one of the better features that comes with this phone.

    It’s a modified version of TuneWiki, but still an improvement over Android’s media player.

  • Manly Man


  • http://Website Androidawg

    Once again TMobile releases the ho-hum android phone of the season. Is this really the best they can do? We can’t all go tearing down our 10 year old legacy family plans to get a N1.

  • Robert Dotson

    Sorry to disappoint you Androidawg. Evidently you haven’t noticed that our corporate policy is to “shoot ourselves in the foot”. While we could potentially have licensed the HTC Desire for use in the USA, we found that it would have caused us to be successful.

    Rather than release a phone to compete with the Iphone 3g, the HTC Incredible, or other prominent handsets, we have decided to release the cheapest and worst possible phones on the market. In summary, if we can release phones that make our customers leave for Verizon, we feel that we’ve accomplished our job.

    Best Regards,

    Bob Dotson
    Tmobile-USA CEO

    • http://Website Garet

      Well as far as HTC phones I am sending my second Nexus One back to HTC I just received the replacement and as soon as I turned it on made a few calls sent a few msgs the phone went on a constant restarting itself spree called HTC which has the worst phone return policy I have ever used and after this I will never buy a HTC made product again.I do wish T-mobile would bring a Moto or samsung Android phone which could compete with the speed of Nexus one so I will pick me up a 99 buck cliq XT and wait for the better one to come out.

    • http://Website kathi17

      I agree. Look at the Vodaphone offering, it’s got the Desire, the Legend, and something else, I think it is the Nexus.

      I have a family plan, so the Nexus is out, but I would rather have the Desire anyway. The other phone I am very interested in is the Dell Mini 5. (I don’t want the 10, I want the 5).

      It is rumored that the Death Star will get the Nexus, the Desire, and the Mini 5. I think it’s Verizon who gets the Incredible, and Sprint who gets the Supersonic.

      T-Mobile launched Android, and we get stuck with garbage for new Android phones. When the Nexus came out, many of us didn’t have the option of getting it if we couldn’t afford to buy it outright.

      T-Mobile, I really really want to upgrade from my G1, but there are no HTC Android phones that I consider an upgrade on T-Mobile. The MyTouch is old news, and I hate the Motorolas and Samsungs. Give us the Dell Mini 5 or the HTC Desire!!!

  • http://Website thescarletnecklace

    I have been looking forward to the release of the CliqXT for a while now. But, now that I know that it has the same processor as my G1 and no definite on when the upgrade to 2.1 occur, I don’t want to have anything to do with it. And, I hate to say this, but I may have to shy away from T-Mobile if I don’t see any descent Android phones by the time my contract expires. Which sucks because I have been a tride-and-true customer for atleast a decade! Please T-Mobile, show us the Desire or something with a Snapdragon processor and more than just Android 1.6…

    • http://Website Drew

      Connected Media Player is not really a “mash-up” of different apps. Yes, the GoTV channels are separate apps.

      But the app IS TuneWiki. It doesn’t incorporate TuneWiki, or work alongside it, or include it as an additional pre-installed app that you can’t remove. Again, IT IS TUNEWIKI. The apk is TuneWiki.apk. The Android media player is totally gone from the phone.

      Also, I don’t know why you can’t get the FM Radio working with any headset. We easily ported the radio app and libs to the original CLIQ and I can use the FM app with any headset plugged in, even my tape deck for the car. (old skool)

    • Manly Man

      Yup t-mobile need to step their game up!

  • Pingback: T-Mobile CLIQ XT coming 3/17 for $99 – Android and Me()

  • http://Website Yahma

    What about the touch sensitive front (or was it sides) of the phone that was suppose to be a new feature on the Cliq XT? Any word on how that works?

  • Pingback: Podcast today, come join us live at 3 PM ET – Android and Me()

  • http://Website PlasmaShark

    Dear T-Mobile, If you do not have a fast Android phone with a physical QUERTY keyboard by September (when I can upgrade) I am leaving your service. Consider that in the next phone you release.

    • http://Website Amber

      Actually theres a rumor of a mytouch slide coming out in May. Its the my touch phone but only with a keyboard so i am really looking forward to this, but for now i have the cliq xt =]

  • http://Website ms. matrix

    I had posted elsewhere about this phone. But I’m using it right now and I love it! I understand some of you guys may hate it, but the phone is not bad at all, it moves well and its easy to use. Two days so far and I can’t keep it out of my hands. I’m satisfied with it.

  • http://Website anxious

    mines on its way in the mail! can’t waiit!!!

  • http://Website Mikey

    Mine is on its way too. Can’t wait! Got it free as an upgrade at when I signed a new 2 year contract. F-R-E-E! Plus… since I am home 95% of the time studying for my board exams, I don’t have to spend $30 a month for a data plan when I have blazing fast FIOS wireless at home!

    As for the “sad” parts…

    Android 2.1 is coming out in a month or two so it gives me just enough time to get to know my phone before I install the new 2.1 firmware…

    Don’t care too much about video capture or removing the battery case frequently so those points are mostly irrelevant to me…

    The processor will be a bit slow at 528MHz but then again, I don’t need to run 50 apps at a time while video conferencing and listening to FM radio…

    And I’m sure people will figure out a way to uninstall the bundled apps as the android platform is very open for apps developers. They already have an app that turns off the 3G warning when you use WiFi exclusively.

    I’m very happy to be getting my first Android phone for a awesome price…FREE!! I’ll come back and let y’all know how it runs!

    • http://Website dee d.

      hi are you sure that there will me a firmware upgrade to 2.1 available soon? i really want the nexus one because of the 2.1 android but if the cliq xt will have an upgrade soon, i will get that instead being that i am due for an upgrade as well.

  • http://Website Ken

    I had this phone for a week and had nothing but problems. I returned it yesterday. Froze up, lost 3 g network for hours, swype was totally useless as the on screen keyboard is too small for my fingers (I’m 6’4″) and was wildly inaccurate. Never got a signal in my office and the signal was often weka at home. The phone finally crashed after 5 days. T mobile was worthless: I had to go through an hour of phone assistance and two visits to two different stores before giving up out of exhaustion and frustration. I canceled my contract and will never go back to T-Mobile again. The phone was badly designed. I’ll cough up the bucks for an iphone next time. This was nothing but aggravation.

    • http://Website Mark

      Funny, i had 2 Iphones, one 2G and other 3G and had nothing but problems too…
      Now i have a Cliq XT and everything is goint great. =/
      Shit happens with any hardware.

  • http://Website Saare

    This is a waste of money. constantly gets stuck all the time and uses your battery bad. Not a good investment.

  • http://Website easty

    hay, this should be updated i just ordered a cliq xt and the t-mobile guy said id be getting android 1.6 and that it could possibly upgrade to newer versions of android upon release
    just sayin
    he may have been wrong but he read it right off his computer

  • Pingback: Motorola CLIQ XT review | Toy Videos()

  • Pingback: Hands on the rugged Android phone meant for dirty jobs | Android and Me()