Motorola Cliq hands-on: it's Motorola's best shot in a while

After spending some time and getting a demo of the Cliq, here are out first impressions:

Like many Android phones, the Cliq is fast and it is clearly the best smartphone that Motorola has built in a long while. The social networking integration is well done (especially with the Universal Inbox) and the widget approach is interesting: it is better implemented than Samsung’s approach, but Motorola does not use the screen real-estate as optimally as Nokia does on the N97. Overall, it works well enough. Motorola has borrowed an idea from Palm (it’s a good thing): the phone is People-centric, like Palm’s Synergy. It means that when looking at a person’s contact info, you can send them a message across a variety of services, or continue an email conversation over Twitter or SMS.

Update: we’ve added more details about the Cliq along with side by side photos of the Cliq, the iPhone 3GS and the BlackBerry 8900.

We mentioned the speed above, and by speed, we mean “responsiveness”. I would compare it to the MyTouch 3G without any problems. The display uses a capacitive display and does not support multi-touch gestures like Pinch and Zoom. Once in an application, it is possible to look at different datasets (like RSS feeds items) by swiping left and right. The phone reacts right away. Normally, the phone *should* run well as a “pure touch device” (no keyboard), but we’ll have to check when we get our review unit.

On the physical side, the keyboard seems comfortable and I like having the Shift button on either side. You’ve seen enough to have your own opinion of the design, but while it’s not “out-of-this-world”, it’s fairly nice and the built quality seems superior to the MyTouch 3G. The keyboard looks plasticky, however. Note that Motorola did not let anyone touch the device, so our estimate for the built quality will have to be revised when we get our hands on a unit.

Filed in Cellphones >Featured >Top Stories. Read more about Android, Cliq, Motorola, Motorola Cliq and Smartphones.

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