MIR hands-on with the Motorola CLIQ launch in San Francisco

Our very own Michael Selvidge — our man in San Francisco — was at the Motorola Android event last week. He’s filed this piece and a Youtube video (made on his still-glistening iPhone 3GS) for us.

Over to you, Michael!

– Ewan

I had the chance to check out the new hotness from Motorola yesterday is San Francisco, the CLIQ. Motorola launched their new QWERTY sliding (ugh) Android handset with the MotoBlur UI, or service, or philosophy, or whatever (Lance Ulanoff of PCMag nailed the confusion over the keynote) yesterday, and I was there. Overall, the CLIQ is a solid entry.

I was lucky enough to attend the hands-on press event, and get a tour of the handset from one of Motorola’s friendly PR’s. My first thoughts:

It’s a slider. Yuck. Personally, I hate sliders, just a matter of taste here, but having said that, the keyboard was pretty good. The keys were responsive (not mushy) and a nice compromise between squishy rubber and hard plastic in feel.

The capacitive touch-screen was nice, really nice. Very quick and responsive.

Not sure about the hardware. The 3.5 mm head jack is absolutely essential these days if you are serious about making a media player ready smartphone, but it seems a little tacked on last minute up top and center as it is. The slider doesn’t close flush on both halves, exposing a gap. However, I didn’t have any build quality misgivings of other slider smartphones like the Palm Pre or the horrid HTC Mogul handset. The CLIQ didn’t feel like a hunk of plastic the way those do.

It’s not an iPhone “Killer”. But hey, it doesn’t have to be. If it’s priced correctly, I think it’s an attractive option for people who like QWERTY sliders and want an Android phone.

The social features are very neat but…

OK, so the social features work as advertised. They are swish, as Ewan would say. But I don’t know if I want to be all that connected all the time. I can just imagine signing in to my Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed, Flickr etc. and just being bombarded with phone beeps and notifications all day. But maybe tweens of today want and like that? At 30 years of age however, I am beyond over the hill. I can just imagine myself yelling at these facebook notifications to get off of my lawn… err desktop.

I took a quick demo video with my trusty iPhone 3GS, but with the dim-lighting, background noise and lack of Rafe Blandford, it’s not as stonking as a video from Ewan. For more (and better) videos, head over to Phonedog and IntoMobile). Special thanks to Tracy from Motorola who did a swish job organizing the event.

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