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printed July 29, 2014
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Review: Motorola Cliq 2

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

 

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The Cliq 2 is a thick, heavy phone. It feels incredibly solid in your hand, with the materials and construction as strong and sturdy as they come (without being ruggedized). The front of the device has the now-overused black and silver accents, while the back half of the Cliq 2 has a bronze color to it. The outer edges are all rounded nicely, making it comfortable to grasp. You'll be able to get it into most pockets, but you're sure going to know it is there.

As far as the controls go, there are the typical Android access keys in capacitive touch form placed below the display. They worked fine, and offered haptic feedback when pressed, but physical buttons make for better ease-of-use. The power/lock key and 3.5mm headset jack are placed on top. I have no complaints about either. The volume toggle, ringer mute switch, and two-stage camera key are all built into the right side of the Cliq 2. The volume toggle is closest to the top. It has a nice shape and is easy to find, but travel and feedback are a bit mushy. They ringer mute switch is a bit stiff to push back and forth. The dedicated camera key is a good size and both stages have a distinct feel. The microUSB port is on the left side of the phone. Thankfully, there's no hatch covering it up.

The slider mechanism feels fantastic. It moves smoothly and snaps open with a satisfying "thock." It has just the right amount of spring assistance to help both open and close it. With it open, users can access the QWERTY keyboard. Motorola has taken an interesting approach to this keyboard. Rather than go for the mundane square, circle, squircle, or rectangular shaped keys, the keys of the Cliq 2 have six sides. It looks like a beehive. Rather than stick up as individual buttons, however, the keys are really all underneath a solid surface and rise up in tiny hexagonal mounds. The look is dramatic.

In terms of actual usability, I can't say that hexagons are better than squares, circles, etc. The buttons don't feel distinct enough under your thumbs to be able to type simply by feel. The hexagonal grid that's painted onto the keyboard surface is so unusual a background that it takes a bit of time to get used to what you're looking at. Believe it or not, it was easiest to use the keyboard in the dark, when only the letter/number itself lights up against the dark background. The travel and feedback of the keys was disappointing, but it does get points for having a dedicated "@" key, as well as stand-alone period and comma keys. The arrow keys for fine-tuning text editing don't hurt, either. It sure looks cool, but better functionality would make for a better keyboard.

The microSD slot is hidden under the battery cover, but thankfully not under the battery itself. Users can hot-swap memory cards if they so wish.

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