Motorola Cliq 2 hands-on

Motorola, in collaboration with T-Mobile in the US, is having a second dabble in the social networking mobile phone market with an update on its highly successful Cliq. Cunningly titled Cliq 2, the new handset is similar in many ways, just beefed up.

Yet again, it comes with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and utilises the company's Motoblur social networking portal, which aggregates Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Gmail, while giving access to personal and work contacts. Plus, the camera remains of the 5-megapixel variety (with a dual-LED flash) and the battery is still 1420mAh.

However, this time around the touchscreen has increased in size, to 3.7 inches, and its resolution is now 854 x 480 (the original Cliq was 320 x 480).

The flavour of operating system has been improved too, from Android 1.5 to Android 2.2, with rumours that an update to 2.3 will be forthcoming.

There's 512MB RAM, 1GB ROM, and up to 1GB user available memory. And while a 2GB microSD card comes pre-loaded, the Cliq 2's microSD expansion slot is capable of taking a card up to 32GB.

The new handset is a touch heavier than its predecessor, but not by much, at 175g, and its dimensions of 116 x 59.6 x 14.5mm are slightly bigger, although it is slimmer.

It comes with an in-built FM radio, and can munch on a whole host of media files, such as MP3, WAV, AAC and many more. Video-wise, it can play H.263, H.264 and MPEG4 filetypes (among others) and as the handset is DLNA-enabled, it can stream content to a compatible TV or player.

While Pocket-lint only got limited playtime with the device at CES 2011, we were definitely impressed by its build quality. Most so-called "social networking" phones can be plasticy or flimsy, aimed more at younger people. However, we would say that teenagers and the like are more likely to drop their handsets, and therefore need a more solidly built phone than most. Thankfully, with this in mind, the Motorola Cliq 2 is a sturdier beast than most, and the slide-out keyboard moves in a satisfyingly tough manner.

The strangely hexagonal keys are, perhaps, a bit small for our sausage fingers, but are absolutely fine for tweeting or texting on the fly. You wouldn't want to write a novel on the keypad, but this phone isn't aimed at authors, rather those who dip in and out.

It's a shame that it's not going to see life outside of North America, but we reckon it'll do very well within its borders.